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Posts from the ‘Employee Scheduling’ Category

Organizational Productivity: Staffing and Scheduling Must Work Together

McLendonToday’s guest post is courtesy of our board member, Sharlyn Lauby.  Sharlyn is author of the blog HR Bartender and president of ITM Group Inc.

We keep hearing about the challenges of finding qualified talent. According to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) titled “The New Talent Landscape: Recruiting Difficulty and Skills Shortages”, sixty-eight percent (68%) of human resources professionals report recruiting challenges in today’s talent market. This means that, once organizations find talent, they need to make sure they retain them. It’s estimated that the average cost per hire is $4,129 and the average time to fill an open position is 42 days. Companies spend too many resources to bring talent into the organization just to let their investment walk out the door.

As a result, organizations use a variety of strategies to retain employees, including unlimited vacation time, flexible scheduling and wellness programs to reduce burnout. But one area that might be overlooked is scheduling. Let me share a story to illustrate:

Years ago, I was brought in to an organization to evaluate their onboarding program. Their challenge was that customers were very unhappy with their service. The company was losing huge amounts of money in the form of customer refunds. Employees were frustrated. I understand that handling upset customers is part of our jobs but dealing with angry customers all the time is hard.

The company was convinced that the answer to their problems was to hire more people to keep up with customer demand. My assignment was to make sure new employees were onboarded effectively and efficiently. After spending a little time in their operation, I suggested to senior management that the company had plenty of people. And they had a good onboarding program. The problem? They weren’t scheduling people correctly.

Organizations must 1) hire the right people, 2) hire the right numbers of people, and 3) schedule people to be there at the right times. When these three pieces are working together, the work is distributed properly, employees feel engaged and not overwhelmed, customers are taken care of, and the business succeeds.

The good news is that organizations don’t need a tight rein over scheduling for it to be effective. Companies can give employees the ability to have a say into their work schedule. And it doing so, they’re not creating complete anarchy. Here’s how it works:

  • Employees can take their preferences and availabilities into consideration when they select their schedule. Scheduling is an emotional issue for employees. They want to know they can attend their kid’s school events, family gatherings, and even stay home to watch the Super Bowl. When employees are in control of their schedule, it can increase engagement, improve productivity, and reduce burnout.
  • Today’s technology allows employees to view their schedules in advance, sign up for extra shifts, and swap shifts using their smart devices. The technology has built-in intelligence that ensures employees who swap shifts have the right skills, certifications, qualifications, etc. Of course, this means that managers and employees need to provide relevant information about jobs such as skills and certification requirements so when swapping shifts, those important things are taken into consideration.
  • Finally, managers can stay informed of operational coverage by using their smart devices as well. This reduces the amount of scheduling administration being handled by management and allows them to focus on what’s really important – coaching and developing employees. A positive cycle is created with managers focused on employees and employees focused on customers.

If you’re looking for a real-life case study to illustrate, check out this article in STORES magazine featuring McLendon Hardware. Nathaniel Polky, director of information technology, shares their results. “Employees love seeing their schedules. It’s a small thing, but very important for them to know when and where they are working at any point in time. It gives them choice and flexibility, and it’s been very well received.

Staffing and scheduling are two different things. Many organizations have already aligned staffing with other human resources functions like compensation, benefits, training, etc. Scheduling shouldn’t be considered a stand-alone activity. It works very well with staffing and has a huge impact on the business. It’s time to align the staffing and scheduling functions for maximum productivity and employee engagement.

Employee Burnout & Fatigue – Tweet Chat Highlights

employeeburnoutWe had a very engaging tweet chat today regarding employee burnout and fatigue in the workplace. A number of thought leaders weighed in on how burnout affects employees and their employers; best practices on how to help prevent employee burnout/fatigue; how technology plays a role; and more.

You can view the entire tweet chat below (as well as here), or search via #KronosChat on Twitter. We’d love to know what you think about this topic – tweet us using #KronosChat, or comment below to share your thoughts.

New Retail Metrics to Consider

mall shopperToday’s post concerns retail metrics, and specifically whether retailers need to expand the way they think about the metrics that drive staff scheduling.  Brick and mortar retailers have long relied on traffic metrics to manage their business, provide better forecasting, and schedule their staff according to labor demand. But as the retail business and customer expectations are changing, our Workforce Institute board member Mark Wales proposed this podcast to discuss new metrics that he and his colleagues across retail management are considering, specifically around store occupancy.  In essence, it’s not only important that customers enter your store, but that they stay to browse and buy – and that’s where the workforce can make a real difference.

On December 22, I moderated a panel discussion on this topic with Mark Wales, Brian Field, and Greg Tanaka.  Brian is senior director of advisory services for ShopperTrak,  a global leader in providing consumer behavior insights and location-based analytics to help retailers, malls, and entertainment venues learn who is coming in their doors, where they are going, and how to make the most of the information. Greg is CEO & Founder of Percolata, a Silicon Valley-based organization that helps retailers measure customer occupancy in their stores using plug-and-play sensors. This data is then used to help shape the customer experience by ensuring that the best employees in the right number are staffed to server customers at the best times.  You can listen in on our discussion here:

Podcast Topics:

  • How are changes in the retail business driving the need for new metrics?
  • Historically, retailers have relied heavily on traffic metrics to inform their schedule planning.  How do traffic metrics help retailers build accurate labor schedules?
  • What’s the value of traffic information in the retail environment?
  • Are there shortcomings to relying on traffic data to plan store staffing?  Or are there particular risks or situations that aren’t addressed by traffic data??
  • How do you define the occupancy metric and how can it be leveraged in a store environment?