Building Consensus

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“How can we get everyone to agree on one shift schedule?”

The short answer is that you are unlikely to get unanimous agreement, but you can get consensus. As a matter of fact, the variety of different preferences in one group is often surprising. It is not unusual to have two shiftworkers whose family and social lives appear to be almost identical look at a schedule and have opposite reactions. One may say, “That shift schedule is perfect for me. I have children.” While the other says, “That shift schedule will not work for me. I have children.”

At Shiftwork Solutions, we use a change process that will help you build consensus within your workforce. Our methodology uses communication, education and employee participation to find shiftwork solutions that have the strongest support from the workforce.

Build Consensus through Communication

In the absence of better information, most people rely on the rumor mill to keep them informed on what is happening within the company. In general, rumors rarely carry messages of optimism. You will never hear one shiftworker tell another, “I don’t know what’s going on, but whatever it is I bet we’re going to love it.” The best way to combat rumors is to provide a steady stream of information to the workforce.

When dealing with an employee’s shift schedule, there is no such thing as too much information. Even if the news is bad, keep the shiftworkers informed. If decisions are being made, let the shiftworkers know why they are being made. For example, if customer demands are driving you to a 7-day operation, tell this to the workforce. Do not simply say, “On Monday we start covering seven days a week.”

Most shiftworkers are interested in the direction their company is moving. They are much more likely to support a difficult shiftwork solution if they understand the need for it.

Educate Your Shiftworkers on the Shift Schedule Alternatives

Some shiftworkers may have worked several types of shift schedules over the years, while others have only worked one or two schedules. In either case, it is certain that there are shift schedules out there that your workforce has never even thought about. This can result in two problems.

  1. If the shiftworkers do not know all of the shift scheduling solutions that are available, they may never consider the shift schedule that fits them the best.
  2. If a workforce is shown new and unique shift schedules, they may reject them outright as too different from their current schedule.

Education is the best way to overcome these two problems. At Shiftwork Solutions, we have a program that introduces and explains a wide variety of shift schedules. We know what other shiftworkers have said they like and do not like about different types of schedules. We know the pluses and minuses of different patterns and shift lengths. We know all of the different types of pay policies needed to make the shift schedules work well. We will give this information to your shiftworkers so that they can select the best shift schedule. We want them to select their new schedule based on facts, not speculation or guesswork.

Employee Participation Helps Build Consensus

It is unlikely that you know exactly what the workforce wants unless you have received input from all of them. At Shiftwork Solutions, our strong emphasis on employee participation is based on two principles.

  1. The only way to know what shiftworkers want is to ask all of them.
  2. Use the shiftworkers’ input in the final solutions.

Following a change process built around employee participation, our survey system, combined with our implementation process, allows you to identify shiftworkers’ preferences and use them to develop the best shiftwork solutions for your organization.