UKG Workforce Central Scheduling Tips and Tricks That Lead to Happy People

UKG Workforce Central Scheduling Tips and Tricks That Lead to Happy People

Are you taking advantage of the best that the UKG Workforce Central™ Advanced Scheduling solution has to offer? It’s an important question to ask, even if you’ve been using the solution for some time — and perhaps because you’ve been using the solution for some time. We get comfortable doing things the way we’ve always done them and don’t realize how shaking the process up with a few changes might lead to even better results in the long run. 

So, are you doing everything you can with scheduling to meet the needs of your organization and your employees? The tips and tricks in this blog post will help you figure out the answers. 



UKG Workforce Central Scheduling Tips and Tricks That Lead to Happy People

Opportunities for making the most of scheduling

There’s so much you can do with your system — things you might not even know are possible. I can’t count the times I’ve started to talk about one of the capabilities I’m about to explain to you and received a reaction like, “Oh yeah! I remember seeing that in a demo like three years ago. I kind of forgot the system could do that.” 

That right there is what I call the scheduling aha moment. And the good thing about the aha moment is that any time is a good time to have it. So why not today? If you’re not yet using self-scheduling, open shifts, the staffing widget, or skills and certifications, please read on! 


Flexible scheduling and the ability to have autonomy are two areas that people rate as meaningful additions to their jobs. Self-scheduling helps bring those values to life. With self-scheduling, employees can essentially select their own shifts and arrange their own schedules. If your organization is not already leveraging self-scheduling, I encourage you to ask yourself, why not? It gives end-user employees the ability to contribute to the scheduling process while also making schedule creation more streamlined for managers. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say that Suzy prefers to work Saturdays and Sundays every week. Her husband works on the weekends, so she likes to coordinate her days off with his. Suzy can select Saturday and Sunday shifts so that Betty, the scheduling manager, knows weekends are when she prefers to work. 

Self-scheduling is known to have a sizable impact on engaging and retaining talent because end-users and managers enjoy flexibility and autonomy. But while it helps create a culture of empowerment and self-sufficiency, self-scheduling still involves an approval process. Managers like Betty must still sign off on requests and ensure the schedule is balanced. It’s a win-win, though, because managers don’t need to search for people to fill open shifts (more on that next), and employees are able to take part in the scheduling process and request the schedules that work best for them. They can more easily strike an equilibrium between work and life. 

  • Admin configuration note: Configuring self-scheduling in the system is easy. Go to Setup > Employee Self Service > Request Subtypes.

Open shifts

The request open shift capability is one component of self-scheduling. This feature makes it easy for managers to fill available shifts and for employees to pick up extra shifts they are interested in working. The open shift feature is like pinning up an emergency sign-up sheet in the breakroom or sending out a group text or email — only a million times better, a lot less work, and so much more accurate. 

I bet that many of you reading this blog post can tell a story about someone who snuck their name in front of another name on the paper schedule, making it difficult to know who signed up first. This becomes a non-issue when employees can request open shifts within Workforce Central. If someone wants to pick up a shift, they can log in to the system, see what’s available, and request it. First come, first served. The time stamp on the request doesn’t lie. 

Let’s say three extra shifts are needed on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Two employees already have PTO booked, and one is suddenly out on FMLA. Betty, the scheduling manager, enters the three extra shifts into the system. Suzy is already working 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, so she decides to pick up one of the posted open shifts. Sally and Tom come along next to claim the other two. When Bob attempts to sign up, he learns he’s too late. The technology knows to allow only three people to sign up and claim that Saturday shift. Easy! Betty now checks to make sure they are the right people to cover and accepts or rejects the requests. This process takes the guesswork out of filling the shifts for Betty and creates a fair and just opportunity for her employees. 

  • Configuration note: The configuration for open shifts is also a request subtype like self-scheduling.  

Staffing widget

The staffing widget pulls information from the schedule planner. Use the staffing widget to drag and drop (yes, drag and drop!) people from unit to unit, store to store, department to department — depending on your organization. The staffing widget automatically saves your work and flows the information back into the schedule planner. No need to add pay codes, do job transfers, change shift times, etc. Managers can do it all right from the staffing widget.

What’s great about this tool is that scheduling managers can use it to see which people are available to work the shifts they’re trying to fill. Essentially, managers have the information they need right in front of them to avoid creating scheduling conflicts. When using the schedule planner, managers must manually confirm employees aren’t scheduled elsewhere. But with the staffing widget, they know that the people listed in front of them are free to fill the open gaps in the schedule. 

  • Configuration note: How do you add this to your system? Configure widget parts (if applicable) > Configure the widget > Add the widget to Workspaces > Add Workspaces to Navigators > Add navigators to Navigator Profiles > Define Navigator Profile in Display Profile > Assign Display Profile to the People Record. 

Skills and certifications

First, let’s define what we mean by skills and certifications. A skill is an ability that is over and above what is required for a position. Skills have effective dates but no expiration dates (speaking Spanish is considered a skill), while certifications are earned, expire, and must be renewed (like nursing certifications). Knowing about the skills and certifications the people in your workforce have helps ensure the right people are working in the right place at the right time based on their specialized knowledge and unique skill sets. Scheduling managers can look at the skills and certifications in employees’ profiles to make educated decisions about who is most appropriate to work each shift. 

Sounds good! What now? 

If you love the sound of these capabilities and I’ve convinced you to explore them further and perhaps begin using them, yay! I’m so excited because I am undeniably passionate about self-scheduling. It’s one of my favorite things. Please email me at [email protected]. I’d love to hear about your decision and have a discussion over a cup of coffee (virtually). I love talking with others about these topics and hearing your stories.

So, now that you’ve sipped the Kool-Aid, what happens next? How do you get started? Plan and then work your plan. It’s important not to overlook these steps in the preparation process. 

Plan for the change

  • Governance: Shared governance is a powerful tool when optimizing processes. Form a shared governance committee to discuss and decide what the self-service model at your organization will look like and how it will come together. Make sure it consists of both managers and employees to get the perspective of the people who are actually using the features and who will be most impacted by the change. 
  • Communication: You’ll need to communicate your decision and what will happen next to your organization. People will need to know why you’re enabling the features and what it means to them regarding their day-to-day responsibilities. Ensure they understand the value that the changes provide and how your decisions are intended to help them in the long run. 

For more information about change management, check out the UKG white paper Driving the Long-Term Success of Your Workforce Management Solution.

Measure your success 

If you’ve received your MBA, you’ve probably heard the expression “You measure what you manage” a thousand times. But it’s true. It’s essential to look back and evaluate the progress you’ve made. Small and simple things add up to significant results. 

There are two schedule efficiency reports you can use to measure your success. If you or your UKG administrator are not familiar with how to run the reports described below, you can access the SQL script in this knowledge-base article in UKG Kronos Community. 

  1. Shifts entered manually by manager: Run this report now if you’re not currently using self-scheduling and open shifts to see the effort that your schedule managers make when building schedules. With this report, you’ll also identify how many people are making manual entries — the more hands in the system, the more chances of error. I recommend starting with pay period by pay period and then expanding the report from there. 
  2. Shifts entered via self-scheduling: After you’ve implemented self-scheduling (and open shifts, if you do that too), run this report alongside the report above to look at how often people are using self-scheduling now that it’s a possibility. The results will give you a good idea of how many people are adopting the process and which areas of your organization are leveraging the process more than others. 

That’s all for now. I hope you’ve learned a few tips and tricks in this blog post to help better leverage your scheduling solution. Don’t forget to email me with your stories!