How to manage shifts better and make staff happier

By: Mike James

Date: 6 December 2017

How to manage shifts better and make staff happierHaving a team of reliable workers is key for any business but sometimes it's easy to forget that your employees have private lives too. Many hourly employees don't have paid leave, so whether it's a doctor's appointment, a parents' evening or a birthday celebration, it all has to slot around designated shifts at work. And when it comes to dealing with unexpected events, it can be a real struggle to get time off work.

This is where a bit of give and take can work wonders. Flexible scheduling has become a hot topic recently and it's easy to see why. When your employees have more control over their schedules, their work/life balance improves and that impacts positively on job satisfaction.

As a manager or business owner, you will obviously want to maintain staff motivation, productivity and loyalty; one way to achieve this is to provide an easy-to-use process for workers to be able to swap shifts with each other.

Here are four other ways to improve the process of scheduling shifts for your team:

1. Issue work schedules in plenty of time

It's not rocket science. Give your employee lots of advance notice and they'll find it easier to plan their private lives around work. Surprisingly, many companies don't offer their staff what should be considered a basic level of courtesy.

If you allocate shifts only a few days in advance, the chances are that some of your staff will already have made plans that they then have to change or they'll have to ask for time off at short notice, neither of which is likely to be easy or popular. However, if you can publish your work schedules at least two weeks ahead of time, it provides ample opportunity to deal with any conflicting schedules, swapping shifts where necessary.

2. Minimise chopping and changing

Regular shift patterns provide your employees with the most control in their work life, which makes for a more contented team. Continually changing working hours from one week to the next, on the other hand, can be a constant juggling act that is hard to manage. Wherever possible, try to offer consistency to your staff in terms of the shifts they work.

That said, schedules do need to change to accommodate the needs of the business – there are peak and non-peak times, weekends and seasonal variations in how the business should be resourced. Offer compromise solutions, perhaps giving scheduling priority to the most senior workers, those with the longest hours or those who are performing best.

3. Make the best use of technology

Whether you're a small business or a large company, staff scheduling software should be your best friend. Advanced scheduling tools incorporate staff management and reporting functionality, including employee scheduling, shift worker apps and time clock apps.

With access across digital platforms and mobile devices, everyone can have real-time access to shift information. Rather than having to deal with complex admin and manual changes to the shift schedule, this is the easiest and safest way to communicate with your staff, and your workers with each other.

4. Don't forget the personal touch

When you're running a busy operation, automating your shift swapping processes can be hugely helpful in saving management time and money. However, there should always be room for human interaction too. Sometimes, a quiet word or a sympathetic shoulder to cry on is all that's needed to solve a problem.

A flexible attitude from managers and a degree of compassion for your team will go a long way towards ensuring your workforce is prepared to go the extra mile for the business when it counts.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2017 Mike James, content writer.