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Preference Rules are an important part of automatic scheduling. They allow you to set your schedule based on employees' preference, pay rate, rank in general or rank in a certain category (area, task, department, etc...), or on how many hours they have worked so far. Preference rules give managers a lot of scheduling flexibility, and allow them to make automatic scheduling optimized to fit the company's specific policies.
Based on your particular preference rules, the system grades each employee for each time block of your schedule, by performing a calculation which determines that employee's suitability for that particular time block. To understand how WorkSchedule.Net generates the grades, refer to the Grades topic.
When you have only one preference rule, it's easy for the system to determine which employee is the best match for an open time block because there is only one rule to go by.
When you have two or more preference rules, the factor of importance for each preference rule gives higher or lower importance to that particular rule in the overall system. The factor of importance is a parameter, which determines how important this rule is with respect to all other preference rules that may exist in the list of rules. The more preference rules that you setup, the more complicated the calculations become.
For example, if you set the preference rule "Schedule employee with the highest rank first" with a factor of 10, and "Schedule employee who have the lowest pay rate" with a factor of 1, the system knows that it should schedule highest ranked employees first. In the case of a tie between two employees, the system evaluates the employees based on the second rule, which basically serves as a tie breaker, and assigns the time block to the employee with the lower pay rate.
This rule allows you to schedule based on employees' preference:
These rules allow you to try to even out the number of working hours for all employees:
These rules allow you to schedule based on employees' rank:
These rules allow you to schedule based on employees' pay rate: