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Heads of department find it difficult to do their job when staff planning is defective

When staff planning doesn’t work at a higher education institution, the head of department’s job becomes very tough, with unnecessary administrative elements and difficulties in obtaining an overall picture of what is required in order to feel in control and be efficient.

We’ve been working on staff planning at higher education institutions for over 10 years and we thought it was time to voice head of department’ frustrations due to poor staff planning. But, of course, we also have a solution.

Defective reporting of absences

“I never find out if the teachers are sick, caring for sick children or when they’re on holiday – how am I supposed to do my job?”

Poor control over borrowing and lending of staff

“Lending teachers to other departments is chaotic – everyone lends themselves without letting me know! Afterwards, when it’s time to compile supporting data for internal invoicing, sorting out which teachers have been lent out and for what is a hopeless task.”

Unnecessary, outdated administrative elements, such as signing

“Printing out and getting all teachers to sign their work task plans is a recurring headache. It takes a long time and involves a lot of administrative work for me, including printing, handling, filing, etc.”

Unclear summary of revenues and costs

“We constantly exceed our budget because we don’t have an effective summary of what the staff are doing and what the various courses and projects cost.”

Difficult to calculate time for continuous professional development

“The trade union and the staff weren’t happy when we discovered that the time for the staff’s continuous professional development was being wrongly calculated. The time really isn’t easy to calculate manually.”

So how can you solve the problem of staff planning that’s not working properly?

A professional staff planning system tailored to the unique needs of a higher education institution simplifies administration and ensures that heads of department can plan utilisation and courses securely based on costs and revenues.

Budgets and staffing on individual courses, first-cycle education, research and internal assignments become transparent and manageable. The system always displays up-to-date information about employees’ sick days, days caring for sick children and holidays thanks to secure integration with the personnel system.

In a staff planning system, heads of department can also easily see whether a course is profitable through a clear view of the costs and revenues for the courses compared to the budget.

It’s easy to carry out borrowing and lending of staff and sign work task plans digitally in a staff planning system – which simplifies administration enormously. In addition, continuous professional development time is automatically calculated by the system, which is a big help because continuous professional development time is awkward to calculate manually.


If you want to learn more about the pitfalls and benefits of staff planning as well as what you can expect from a professional staff planning system, sign up for our free webinar.

You can also read more about what features you can expect from a professional staff planning system on our website.

About the author

Jens Apelgren has over ten years’ experience in workforce planning at higher education institutions and has personally introduced workforce planning systems at 18 different institutions. Jens is CEO of Retendo AB, which offers systems to streamline administration for both higher education institutions and project-oriented companies. Jens is closely involved in the development of Retendo’s workforce planning system.