How shift bidding works

Shift Bidding: Get Inspired (length 5:58)

Shift bidding is a process where agents bid for which weekly shift pattern they prefer. The agents are assigned shift patterns in accordance to their rank and agents with a higher rank are more likely to get the shift pattern they want. They are then scheduled according to the assigned shift pattern each week until there is a new bid process.

This topic includes some recommendations on how to prepare for the bid process, and how to configure it.

Prepare for a bid process

The shift patterns which agents bid on are based on actual schedules for a selected week. Therefore you need to prepare the schedules to use.

  1. Create a shift bidding scenario. This scenario can be reused each time you create a new bid process.
  2. Create a forecast for three typical weeks. Save it in the shift bidding scenario.
  3. Schedule and optimize agents for those three weeks in the shift bidding scenario. If you want each shift pattern to have the same start time for the days within the pattern, use block scheduling and select to use same start time within the schedule period.

    Create the schedule either for the actual agents or for dummy agents that you have created for this purpose. Agents who are only scheduled in a different scenario than the default scenario do not count towards the number of scheduled agents used to calculate the license cost.

  4. All agents who are included in a bid process must have a unique rank. Determine what criteria to rank the agents by. Available criteria are employment start date, any optional columns, and a random numeric value. The employment start date is useful to rank by seniority. The optional columns are useful to rank by any external ranking process. The random criteria can be used as a tiebreaker.

Configure the bid process

Create bid processes to assign shift patterns to use for a selected group of agents. This shift pattern is used for scheduling the included agents until the next bid process assigns new shift patterns (or you decide to not use shift patterns when scheduling). These are the main steps for managing a bid process.

  1. Define the periods of the bid process.

    • Give the agents for example a week to preview the patterns that will be available to bid on, to give them the chance to talk to family and friends about what shift patterns to prioritize.
    • The bid period should be at least a week, to ensure that all agents have a chance to place their bids, even if they are not working every day.
    • The schedule start date is the date from which the patterns assigned in this bid process are scheduled.
    • Be clear in the public note about for which period the shifts assigned in this bid process apply, for example three months from the schedule start date. This is also a good place to provide information to the agents on for example how many patterns they need to rank in their bid.
  2. Select and rank agents.

    • Include agents in the same bid processes if they have similar contract rules and work hours. It's also recommended that they have the same skills to ensure good coverage.
    • The number of agents and which team they work in is constantly changing. Ensure to select the schedule start date when adding agents to consider any known changes between now and then and include the right people in the bid process.
    • Rank the agents according to for example their start date or any numeric information in optional columns. This could for example be performance information, like agents' gamification leaderboard position. The rank must be unique for each agent, so in some situations you might need to add additional criteria to use as the basis for the ranking.
  3. Select shift patterns.

    • The shift patterns are based on a 7-day period in the schedule you prepared in the shift bidding scenario. Select to load the schedules from the middle week of the three weeks that you prepared.
    • If the number of agents in the bid process is higher or lower than the number of shift patterns, add or remove shift patterns until the numbers match.
    • Note that the shift patterns which you offer in the bid process must be available in the agents' shift bags in order to schedule the agents according to their bids.
  4. Activate the bid process.

See View and create bid processes for more information.

Manage the active bid process

When the bid process is active and agents are placing their bids, follow up to ensure that agents are placing bids and that they have placed bids on enough shift patterns.

  1. Use the Progress tab to view how many shifts the agents have ranked. If the agents have ranked as many patterns as their rank position, they will get one of the patterns that they have ranked.
  2. Use the Preview results tab to see which pattern that will be assigned to the agents according to the currently placed bids, and which patterns that are not assigned to any agent.
  3. If there are still unassigned patterns when the bid period is over, you can force those patterns to the agents who don't have any in the preview results.
  4. Finalize the bid process to make the results available for scheduling.

See Manage active bid processes for more information.

Schedule according to assigned shift patterns

When the bid process is finalized, you can schedule according to the assigned patterns. The only thing you need to remember is to select the Shift patterns check box when scheduling and when optimizing schedules for agents included in the bid process.

The shift pattern for each agent and day is displayed in the Restrictions tab in the agent info panel.

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