Misconception #8 Employees don’t need schedules

“One cannot hire a hand; the whole man always comes with it.” – Peter Drucker, Author

“Your schedule is simple: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays you work from 8AM until 2PM. On Tuesdays and Thursdays you work from 10AM until 4PM, except for the last week of each month when we will need you to stay until 6PM to help with inventory.”

OK, that may not sound like a simple schedule, but in the grand scheme of things… it isn’t overly complicated either. Envision laying out that schedule for an employee who already has a hard time managing their personal lives and who struggles with simply getting by because of inconvenient and unexpected changes to their hours. How do you think their work ethics and demeanor will translate on the floor as a response? They may start to clock-in for their shift feeling unmotivated and happy, they might half-ass their assignments, or they might develop a bad taste in their mouth for you, their employer, and the company.

Do you blame them? Who WOULD enjoy having a different schedule every week, having their hours changed on extremely short notice (such as the night before) or being allotted shifts that are just too short and seemingly not worth their time? Unhappy and under-satisfied employees are not likely to stay committed to their jobs, just as they are unlikely to stay for very long. This “chase epidemic” often results in high turnover, absenteeism and tardiness. In turn, the company experiences issues with upholding a sufficient customer:service provider ratio. Matching labor supply to customer traffic becomes even more difficult because of increasing variability on both sides. Our suggestion? Prepare your schedules at least two weeks in advance and minimize last minute changes as much as possible.

Take a look at your scheduling processes. Are you keeping a close eye on WHO you are hiring and measuring your demand against their availability and potential conflicts? For example, students may be more sensitive to a sudden change in their work schedule due to conflicting classes, and single parents may have a hard time adhering to your needs due to child-care demands. While you are hiring and while you are scheduling, be sure to carefully sift through your options and take your interviewee’s lifestyle into consideration if your company’s hours are demanding and often changing.

Schedule communication is also essential. In what way(s) are your employees being notified of their schedule? A piece of paper stapled to the bulletin board in the break room? By email, a website, text message, a web app, an internet service? Make sure that you are consistent and flexible with the method in which you communicate work hours to your employees, and be sure there are options that work for everyone (including both non- and technical). As surprising as it may seem, not everyone has access to a computer or text message services. Perhaps consider posting a hard copy at the office AND sending it by email. This way, you are covering all grounds for yourself and your employees.

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Is the full staff schedule available for all to see, or does each employee receive a personal copy? Are reschedules and shift-swaps done in a way that everyone is on the same page, or are co-workers surprised to find that they are working with someone different than they had anticipated when they arrive? Allowing access to the schedule in its entirety gives all staff members the chance to see what everyone else is doing. It provides them with an opportunity to give you feedback and is also helpful if they need to adjust their schedule. For example, if Rick is unable to make his shift but sees that Becky isn’t already on schedule and knows she is hurting for hours, he can give her a call and ask her to cover for him. Consequently, you aren’t left with the arduous task of finding coverage or fulfilling his responsibilities on your own!

Finally, flexible schedules are vital to a company’s success. Allowing staff members the flexibility to maintain a comfortable and convenient work-life balance is crucial to eliminating employee turnover. It is important for employers to work with staff members to find a schedule that works well with their personal lives based on their other commitments, responsibilities, and even age.

Below I have provided helpful employee scheduling software services that you might be interested in utilizing if your scheduling efforts aren’t the best they can be:







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