What is a preferred team member?
Firstly, preferred team members are different from recommended team members.
Whether Deputy recommends a team member for a shift or not depends on a number of factors such as overlapping shifts, training, unavailability, approved leave, and their stress profile settings.
However, marking a team member as preferred in a specific work area means that you are able to designate them as having priority for being scheduled in that work area before other recommended team members that have not been marked as preferred.
When scheduling with preferred team members there are particular rules that will be applied and you should be aware of.
How to mark a team member as preferred
1. On the Schedule page, mouse over the area you would like to add preferred team members to and click on the ellipsis (...) next to the area name.
2. A pop-up will appear in which you can edit the details of the area. At the bottom of this pop-up box, you will see Preferred Team members.
3. Here you can enter the team members' names that you would like to designate as preferred team members in that particular area. You may type their names or select them from the dropdown.
4. Remember to hit 'Save' when you are satisfied with your changes.
Scheduling with preferred team members
Marking team members as preferred for a particular area will affect the scheduling rules for this area depending on how you schedule the shift.
Let's look at three ways to fill an empty shift and how marking team members as preferred affects the process.
1. Manually assigning an empty shift to team members
When you create an empty shift in an area and click on the dropdown to select who is working, you can see that the preferred team members will appear at the top of the list. You can see those team members that are not marked as preferred appear lower on the list. Team members without the required training for that area appear even lower.
Team members that have been marked as preferred appear higher on the list to make it faster for you to select the most suitable team member for the shift.
Note: you are able to schedule any team member from this list to the shift, regardless of whether they are marked as preferred (or even have training). However, a pop-up warning will remind you they are not recommended for this shift because they are not a preferred team member for this area.
A team member who is not recommended for a particular area but is scheduled in that area will appear with a warning icon on their shift in the schedule.
2. Preferred team members and the Auto-schedule tool
When using the Auto-scheduling tool to Auto Fill empty shifts in an area with specific team members marked as preferred, Deputy will ONLY schedule those team members that have been marked as preferred in that area.
Even if other team members have the training required for that area, Auto Fill will not schedule those team members on shifts in that area because they are not marked as preferred.
If some shifts are left empty after using the Auto Fill tool because they are unable to be filled by the preferred team members then you can still go into the empty shift and manually schedule team members that have not been marked as preferred.
3. Preferred team members and Open Shifts and Shift Swap
If an area has specific team members marked as preferred, then when a shift is marked as an Open shift or available for a Shift Swap then only team members who have been marked as preferred in that area will be able to see or claim those shifts.