What can HR and Operations do together to boost production and employee satisfaction?

Over decades of working with shift work operations, we have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of integrating HR and operational strategies on production output, employee management, and job satisfaction.  Our experience has confirmed time and again that collaboration between HR and Operations can bring about incredible results. 

The Interconnectedness of HR and Operations

Operations focus on the efficiency and effectiveness of production processes, often to maximize output and minimize costs. On the other hand, HR is tasked with recruiting, training, and retaining a skilled workforce. At first glance, these might seem like separate domains, but they are intrinsically linked. The performance and productivity of employees, which, in large part, fall under HR’s purview, directly impact operational efficiency and output, and vice versa. 

Misalignment of Production and Resources โ€“ Analyzing the Gap

Even in a strong economy, if human resources are scarce, companies often see unmet production needs and increased turnover as workers look for better compensation or improved work-life balance. To address the imbalance, managers carefully assess the specific areas where operational requirements exceed available resources. This could involve analyzing production schedules, staffing levels, equipment capacity, or inventory management. Putting a number on the discrepancy requires looking at questions such as How much additional production is required compared to current capacity? or How many more workers are needed to meet peak demand periods? or Is the shift schedule in place helping or hurting?

Addressing Resource Shortfalls โ€“ The Role of Shift Scheduling 

Shift schedules, sitting right at the intersection of HR and operations, answers the question of resource shortfalls. Optimal shift scheduling finds the right schedule for the output requirements and matches it with the needed manpower supply. An ideal schedule harmonizes both leadership and employee expectations. Scheduling is more than assigning work hours; it’s about balancing workloads to prevent burnout and aligning work schedules with personal lives to boost morale and job satisfaction. This delicate balance cannot be achieved without a collaborative effort between HR and operations as decisions on shift schedules impact production output, employee management, and job satisfaction.

Employee Engagement and Productivity

Employee engagement is where the synergy between HR and operations becomes evident. Engaged employees are more productive, innovative, and committed to their work, directly influencing the quality and quantity of production output. HR’s strategies to enhance engagement, from career development opportunities to recognition programs, work best when supported by operational policies that allow these initiatives to flourish in the day-to-day work environment.

The Feedback Loop

A continuous feedback loop between HR and operations is vital. HR can provide insights into employee sentiments and behaviors, which can be crucial for operational planning and adjustments. Conversely, Operations can offer real-world feedback on how HR policies play out on the production floor, providing valuable data for refining HR strategies. This loop and a continued dialog ensure that both departments are aligned and actively learning from each other and adapting to dynamic business needs.

Case in Point  

One of our food manufacturing clients struggled with high turnover rates and declining productivity. After assessing operational requirements and resource issues, we evaluated the current shift schedule and surveyed the workers’ sentiments.  We designed and implemented a new schedule in a collaborative effort between HR and Operations. The initiative was accompanied by a comprehensive study which identified the specific needs of the production lines as well as the work-life expectations of the workforce. New HR policies were put in place to support the changes. The result was a significant boost in employee retention and satisfaction, and a marked increase in production efficiency. 


Our experience at Shiftwork Solutions has shown that operations and HR departments that actively seek to understand and help out each other ultimately enhance the success of both.

Find out how we can help you optimize production and employee needs:

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