Learn about round-robin scheduling, a classic approach to organizing shared time. With the right system, you can ensure your workflows are streamlined and organized among your team members.
An efficient time-sharing system maximizes each team member regardless of your business’s size. But shared calendars especially give independent businesses an edge, allowing them to work more efficiently to finish tasks and move on to the next project or client. These systems also tend to scale well, so you can use them as your business and client base grows.
One of the best ways to manage a shared business calendar is with round-robin scheduling. It’s one of the most efficient ways to distribute work so that each team member gets an equal share of meetings.
Here’s what you should know about round-robin scheduling so you can determine if it works for your team.
- What is round-robin scheduling?
- Defining roles and responsibilities
- Ensure everyone’s on the right page
- Break down complex tasks into smaller ones
- Optimize your calendar use
- Enable your team
What is round-robin scheduling?
A round-robin system can apply to many different fields, including computer programming. But in the context of independent businesses, it just means that each team member takes on a new meeting or client in a set order, one at a time.
For example, you can use it within your sales process for vetting leads. Every time a new lead schedules a meeting, they’ll be assigned to team member A, then team member B, then C, and so forth.
By allocating an equal amount of time for each team member, it ensures that everyone shares the same workload. Within scheduling, it can also mean that your response time increases. No one is too booked up, so every lead gets attention immediately.
Managing shared time based on the round-robin principle seems easy enough to implement. But in reality, there are a lot of potential pitfalls that can snag your progress. Here’s some advice on how to go about using this time-sharing system for your benefit.
Defining roles and responsibilities
Round-robin schedules work best when you have a team that manages the same tasks. For example, three team members who all take on client projects from start to finish. This might look like a team of venue coordinators, photographers, or consultants.
Round-robin scheduling makes sense for a team like this, because it doesn’t matter when each team member gets assigned. They’ll always start at the same step.
On the other hand, if your team members manage specific parts of the clients pipeline, round-robin scheduling may not work as well. If you have employees who only work on client projects but aren’t involved in the sales process, you wouldn’t want them to get assigned to leads. Instead, they’ll be assigned later once the leads book and become clients.
To determine if round-robin scheduling works for your team, start with defining your roles and responsibilities. Take the following steps as a guide:
- Determine who will be responsible for the client-facing part of the job: Who will communicate directly with customers, manage their expectations, and provide support?
- Divide up tasks based on expertise: For specialized jobs such as software development or web design, figure out which team members have more experience in those areas so that they can take charge of complex projects while others focus on simpler ones accordingly.
- Determine who will be involved in the round-robin schedule: If you have a team that manages the same tasks throughout the client pipeline, you can include everyone in a round-robin scheduling system. Otherwise, you’ll only want to provide this option for team members who communicate with leads and manage the sales process. After their work, they can manually hand off the leads to other members of your team.
Ensure everyone’s on the right page
Decide when you’ll be able to “round-robin” the assignments and how long each person will take to complete their tasks. Agree on deadlines for each team member and notify them of any new additions or changes in advance so they can plan accordingly.
Let’s take, for example, a service provider who implements a round-robin sales process. A good approach is to set up a schedule that starts with the initial lead contact and ends when they are onboarded as an active client. Set internal deadlines for each step in between, for instance:
- generating leads
- sending follow-ups emails or cold calls
- setting appointments or meetings
Everyone should know which task each team member needs to complete before moving on to the next step. Implementing a system like this maintains timely communication and execution of tasks while ensuring accuracy in all assigned activities.
Break down complex tasks into smaller ones
When setting a schedule for “round-robin” assignments, it’s essential to consider not just the optimum speed of completion but also the quality control required for the task. Who should ensure that milestones are met and timelines are adhered to within each assignment?
If a task is too difficult or problematic, assign different people at different stages. Establish clear structure and agreement concerning deadlines from day one. Team members stay accountable and productive if they avoid miscommunication due to unclear expectations. That’s the problem with working against multiple open-ended deadlines.
Pro Tip: It is important to take team members’ schedules into consideration when assigning overlapping tasks between them. Guarantee time outside of work for personal life and well-being to prevent prolonged after-hours, overwork, and burnout.
Optimize your calendar use
Take advantage of scheduling software by color-coding (or using whatever markers work) your calendars with events or tasks based on roles or responsibilities. This way, every team receives notifications through email, so all parties involved know when something has changed concerning their project timelines and activities.
Cut down misunderstandings and give everyone more information up front to avoid surprises down the line. The main idea is to create visibility around the team’s workload and tasks, so everyone knows what’s expected of them on any given day. After all, your time-sharing system will be more effective with the efficient use of the tools that enable it. The better your calendar works, the better outcomes will result from processes based around it. Here are some things you can try:
- Set up custom alerts – Establish customized notifications for your upcoming appointments or events, ensuring that all pertinent parties stay abreast of updates or changes promptly. This also helps to foster better relationships between you and your clients.
- Create recurring events – Automate processes like creating single-day reminders for routine tasks like monthly check-ins with clients, follow-up emails after billing cycles, and others. Doing so will save you from needing to enter the same event multiple times throughout the year manually to always keep on track.
- Prioritize visibility – Structure your calendar whereby important items are visible at a glance (e.g., color code or highlight scheduled meetings based on urgency level). This enables those managing their own workload to easily identify when something needs immediate attention. It’s better when everyone knows what takes precedence in any given week or day ahead.
Enable your team with HoneyBook’s capabilities
If you’re looking for an online booking calendar with sharing capabilities for your team, consider HoneyBook. HoneyBook is an all-in-one clientflow platform, which means it integrates scheduling with other parts of your business.
Build custom files that include branded sales collateral, scheduling, and invoicing. Or, customize the steps however you please. Everything in HoneyBook is built to support your unique business, including how you introduce scheduling to your clients.
From there, set up round-robin scheduling to organize work more efficiently with your team.