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Posts tagged ‘workforce management’

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.

The Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2016

WFITopPosts2016And just like that, 2016 is [almost] behind us.

A lot has happened in 2016, in and out of the workplace. But when it comes to topics we covered on this blog, you all had some specific areas of interest. Some of the topics you found most interesting this year included the FLSA overtime changes; employee engagement tips and best practices; part two of our survey regarding how managers, employees, and HR differ when it comes to who owns company culture; and how the SuperBowl affects the workforce the day after the big game, to name a few.

As you enjoy your well-deserved holiday downtime, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to read through the top 10 most popular posts we published here at The Workforce Institute in 2016.  And if you have topics you’d like us to write about in 2017 – or even better, if you’re interested in contributing to this blog yourself – please let us know by commenting on this post.

Thank you to all of our guest authors in 2016, and Happy New Year!

‘Tis the Season to Give Back – and Engage Employees

GiveInspiredHolidays2016The holiday season always brings out the generosity in people. This time of year just seems more magical, more heartwarming – and it inspires many of us to pause and think about how we can give to those who need it the most.

As a Kronite, I’m fortunate that the company I work for is generous throughout the year. But for this holiday season, we’ve gone a step further and implemented a program called #SixWeeksofGiving, where each week, leading up to the holidays, we work together to give back to a worthy cause. Last week, for instance, we held our annual Holiday Fair.  The proceeds from that event will benefit Community Teamwork in Lowell, Massachusetts. Community Teamwork works to strengthen communities and reduce poverty by delivering vital services to create housing, education, and economic opportunities.

“The Kronos Six Weeks of Giving program is a fun and engaging way for us to bring employees together this holiday season to support the communities where our employees live and work,” says Vince Devlin, Chief Procurement Officer and head of Kronos’ GiveInspired corporate giving program. “It’s truly a win-win for both Kronos and our community partners.”

While the Six Weeks of Giving Program is a fantastic way to give back to our own neighborhoods, it also provides an unique – and heartfelt – way to boost employee engagement. It’s giving our employees the opportunity to make a positive difference in their community, while also working together for great causes. In fact, UnitedHealth Group’s 2013 Health and Volunteering Study found that 64% of employees who participate in volunteer activities at their job said that volunteering with co-workers strengthened their relationships with their colleagues.

A corporate giving program (no matter the time of year) can also help to attract and retain employees. For instance, Cone Research found that 79% of people prefer to work for a socially responsible company, and 79% of employees think it’s important that their companies match their charitable giving.

Would you agree that a corporate giving program inspires employee engagement (and retention)? Why or why not?