Best practices in shiftwork operations (Part 5 of 10)

  1. Actively look for way for the workforce to make decisions about their job.  In most cases, an hourly worker knows more about how to do their job than their supervisor.  This makes them an excellent source of ideas for improvement.  Additionally, like all of us, shift workers are more likely to support an idea that they helped to come up with when compared to an idea created by someone else that is now forced upon them for action.  And finally, shift workers that participate in decision making processes will have a greater sense of belonging and thus, a higher likelihood of staying with a company.
  2. Your employees want to “see you see them” working on off-hours and on the weekends.  It’s not uncommon for shift workers to complain that upper management should be at work on nights and weekends because shift workers are working those hours.  The reality is that everyone understands that people have different jobs and different schedules for those jobs.  What shift workers are really after is some level of recognition and appreciation for the fact that their schedule is tough.  If they are in on a weekend to work, it is important to them that upper management occasionally shows up if for no other reason that to acknowledge the hours these workers provide on a regular basis.
  3. People don’t like to be told what to do.  I’m often asked, “What shift schedule is the best?”  The answer is “The one that provides the coverage a company needs and is selected by the shift workers.”  Take two facilities and one schedule.  Both facilities work that same schedule.  A facility A, the schedule was forced on the employees. At facility B, the employees chose the schedule from a menu of schedule options.  Which facility do you think has a schedule the workforce is more likely to support?
  4. Overstaffing is the most expensive labor option.  When we compare the “fully loaded cost to the company” for straight time, overtime, part time and idle time (labor you don’t need but have because you are overstaffed) you will find the overstaffing cost to be greater by an order of magnitude.  However, be careful how you define overstaffing.  Having more people than the bare minimum may mean lower overtime and more schedule flexibility for your employees.  There is value in this that must be considered.
  5. Do not underestimate the value of strong first-line supervision.  People don’t quit their job, they quit their boss.  Your first line supervisors play the biggest single role in employee performance and job satisfaction.  Their job is a difficult one as they walk the line between pushing for better numbers while tending to the needs of their subordinates.  If you are having trouble retaining quality employees, look first to ensure you have quality supervision.

This is continued from Part 4 of Best Practices.

Find out how we can help you optimize your shift work architecture:

  • Call or text us today at (415) 763-5005 
  • Complete our contact form and we will call you back
  • Request a meeting by booking a time that works for you the best here.