Achieving Workforce Success: Shift Swapping for Managers
Achieving workforce success (WS) means being driven, open-minded, empowering, and the ultimate master of your work. In this part of the series, we’ll focus on empowering. WS Champions are empowering because they help employees succeed – even when someone can’t make it to work. WS Champions know how work-life balance positively impacts productivity and loyalty. Thus, they build a flexible environment while maintaining, and even exceeding, the company’s bottom line. Among the ways that that can be done is shift swapping, which allows employees to cover for each other in an organized and mutually beneficial manner.
Shift swapping is “an arrangement that allows shift workers to trade shifts with one another when the need arises.” This lets shift workers strike a balance between their personal commitments and work responsibilities. Finding a staff’s replacement for the shift matters, especially for the service industry. The correct number of staff can often determine if the service is delivered properly. And when service is consistent and customers are satisfied, they are more likely to come back and refer their friends.
But shift swapping is not always as easy as it sounds. In fact, many managers have so much trouble with it that they simply don’t allow it. The initial confusion of organizing the system, especially when they try to do it manually, turns them off. This is unfortunate, as it provides an easy solution to the problem of unfilled shifts. Below we’ll take you through how you can set up a shift swapping system for your company.
Figure out the need for shift swapping
First things first, determine if you actually need shift swapping in the first place. If your business is operating 24/7, or have at least two different shifts in a day, then you might need to consider this arrangement. This applies to many industries like healthcare, retail, hospitality, media, and law enforcement. Shift swapping introduces some flexibility for the employees and helps them avoid burnout in these demanding fields of work. If your managers are attuned to their teams, they should be able to input on this matter.
Organize your employee data
The success of shift swapping depends on how many employees are qualified to cover for each other. Evaluate each individual and determine which positions they have had some experience with, or would like to learn more about. This will minimize mistakes, increase accountability, and save you time. Once you organize your data, you will be able to make decisions about shift swaps faster. It will also give you a big-picture view of your workforce and allow you to make the necessary adjustments for hiring and promotion.
Choose a shift swapping tool
Shift swapping requires a tool that can organize your employee database, rosters, and swap requests. Managers often have to choose between manual and automated methods, depending on their resources and goals. Manual methods employ programs like Microsoft Excel to track time, attendance, unavailability, and shift swap requests.
While manual methods require no initial investment, many find it unsustainable because of the increased administrative work required. Employees will have to call in their requests, which you will inputted manually into the database. For businesses with more than 20 employees, this can easily become a nightmare — even for the best managers.
When you are ready to implement shift swapping, you can explore automated solutions. Tanda, for example, has a shift swapping feature that integrates into its time and attendance web and mobile apps. It lets staff request to drop or cover a shift right from their mobile phone, while managers control all swap approvals and roster updates. It decreases the amount of administrative work, is suitable for over 20 employees, and can even be used to generate an analysis of your workforce.
Perhaps the best thing about an automated system is that shift swaps go directly into the timesheets, meaning there is no additional step of calculating for it. Employees will be paid accurately, and businesses will save money on computing for additional pay. With that out of the way, managers can focus on creating a great work environment and building the business.
Track the results
Once you’ve implemented a shift swapping system, it’s time to track the results. Compare new data with your baseline after 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and so on. This will help you decide what to do next with your shift swapping system. Look at the following indicators:
- Number of employees who use of shift swapping
- The frequency of unfilled shifts
- The ease with which employees are using the system
- Effect on administrative work hours
- Effect on productivity and sales
If you choose an automated shift swapping system, it would be easy for you to compare performance and labour cost data from month to month. It would also allow you to take advantage of other features such as tracking business revenue and labor costs in real time while complying with all the labor and data privacy laws. Take a free demo to find out how time and attendance automation can help your business.
Empowering your employees means constantly finding new ways for them to be able to grow in your company and their career. This means building a more flexible work environment that lets them have work-life balance while not disrupting operations. Businesses that are accommodating towards staff are more likely to retain top talent and attract the best in the industry. Secure the future of your business today by being an empowering employer.
Ready to find out what Tanda can do for your business? Book a demo today.
Industry Insights |
Drop out of school if you want to get ahead
If you’re looking to validate your opinion on this matter with a “Steve Jobs dropped out and he was successful” conclusion this is not your article. (more…)
Industry Insights |
What is the Contingent Workforce and how can you leverage it in your business?
Phil caught up with the team at Sidekicker to learn more about how the contingent workforce is shaping successful workforces of the future. When we think of the contingent or temp workforce, we imagine the young Christmas casual or the temp that fills in at reception. These caricatures don’t inspire visions of influence and power and they certainly don’t appear as the kind of people that will have immense pull over the shape of the future. However, these workers are not only integral to keeping businesses moving but when they are empowered and treated right, they’re set to resculpt the entire employment landscape. What is the Contingent Workforce? Far more diverse than our initial imaginings of the temp receptionist, the contingent workforce is a subsection of the broader workforce that works flexibly. This includes casuals, contractors, and temps across a wide range of skill sets and capabilities. Contingent workers may choose to work for one business at a time or make up their working schedules across a variety of employers – but they are defined by their flexibility and impermanence. For businesses, these flexible workers solve a number of problems. From assisting in times of peak demand, covering for absent workers, lending external expertise, or allowing businesses safer, and simpler scalability, contingent workers allow businesses to improve productivity without the risk of additional permanent wages. How does the Contingent Workforce generate influence? Today, the contingent workforce makes up more than one-third of the entire AU/NZ workforce. This number is growing rapidly, and with it, the opportunity for businesses to benefit from the flexibility these workers bring. As the size and saturation of the contingent workforce grows – so too do the impacts they have on the way businesses and workers see employment. With 163,000 new contingent workers joining the workforce in recent years, and early results from 2017 showing considerable growth in both people looking for flexible opportunities, and businesses offering them – the size of this labour pool is only set to increase. Research shows that many senior HR Managers expect the contingent share of the workforce to grow to almost 50%. The bigger the size of the workforce and the more businesses that benefit, the more the impacts of bringing in contingent workers are amplified. In this way, the contingent workforce begins to exert greater influence over the working landscape. What does this power mean for the future? The impacts of this growing, flexible workforce are already beginning to manifest in a handful of ways. These considerations are integral to how flexible workers will be dealt with in future and what the landscape could look like. 1. Contingent workers are changing management styles. As more and more business engage contingent workers, they create situations where permanent and temporary staff must cooperate regularly to achieve business goals. This will force managers to reconsider the way they deal with their teams. How do you unite and motivate a team who aren’t always together? 2. Contingent workers are changing the way staff are engaged. The more the contingent workforce grows, the more it drives development of technology that supports it. As technology gets better, more and more connections between businesses and the appropriate flexible workers will happen digitally and simultaneously – making employee engagement simpler and allowing staffing managers to focus on other aspects of their role. 3. Contingent workers are changing the quality of the contingent workforce. With more businesses recognising the value in flexible engagements, the more they will engage the third party recruitment firms that know where to access them. Because it is in the best interests of these firms to present only the top-tier candidates, the overall pool of flexible workers will improve. The top-tier will build skills through constant engagement and the remaining talent will need to work to improve their performance to access opportunities. Growing at a rapid pace and picking up considerable influence, the contingent workforce is something businesses can no longer ignore. While recognising and leveraging their benefits in your business is a great first step – it’s important to understand how you will respond to the trends they are creating. To learn more about how flexible workers are impacting the future of work, check out the Contingent Workforces eBook here.
Industry Insights |
3 Strategies to Master Your Wage Costs
Understanding your wage costs from a financial report is a bit like trying to piece back together a fruit smoothie that’s already been blended. Only a fraction of employers ever master their wage costs. Those who do are able to turn what’s viewed as a burden by their competitors into their best competitive advantage. A well trained and engaged workforce is a terrifyingly sharp weapon to take to your competition. The secret to it all is actually highly practical in application. It has been proven through decades of research that links highly engaged workforces to increases in topline revenue. We’ve worked with some of the most successful companies in traditionally low margin industries. Here are three of the most potent strategies you can apply to turn your workforce into your weapon in the new year. (1) Start measuring the future, rather than just reporting the past Financial reports are good if you want to see what happened yesterday. But taking control of wage costs is a long-term game. This means managing all expenses that a company bears for the employment of a staff member. This includes everything from gross salaries and benefits to other legal employer contributions. If you want to improve your future wage cost position, you need to start in advance. Building a conceptual report of your future wage costs works well because changes to the way you manage your workforce can take a long time to flow through. That’s especially true when it comes to agreed rostered hours, employment types, and hiring strategies, which take time to materialise into long term savings. You know what Christmas trade was like last year, so what will it look like in the new financial year with higher wage costs and new employees? What could you change throughout the year in terms of things like the types of employees you hire and their agreed hours? The difference can be significant. Scenario test your forecasts based on employment type, age, level and test the impact of unforeseen overtime. Software will greatly speed this process up. If you’re only reporting on how well you’ve done, start reporting into the future in 2019. Plan to be successful in the future so you can start moving towards your goals now. (2) Tie up loose ends with a sharp ‘day of operations’ plan A well-run shift feels good, it’s like a hot knife through butter. The perfect win-win-win for business, employee, and customer. For some businesses, this is a random occurrence, but businesses that invest in the success of their workforce replicate this effect on a daily basis. It sounds simple enough: you need the right people in the right place at the right times, and management that leads the charge from the front. The reality is that planning and execution have many moving parts, which is why the day of operations plan holds key to your long term success. Staff levels should track your schedule, or day of operations plan, like clockwork. Any observed discrepancies should be viewed in light of demand being increased or decreased versus what was expected. At Tanda we we’ve quantified the ‘loose ends’ of a shift to be worth at least 1% of total payroll cost, based on clients who moved off manual timesheets. These represent just the small 1 to 5 minute variances here or there to what was planned, so with larger unexpected variances there can be a much larger than 1% difference between your plan and actual costs. Executing shifts with precision and recording times accurate to the minute is low hanging fruit in 2019. You can do this by setting goals for the time between trading or production end, and the official shift end, to encourage staff to finish diligently. If the original plan results in success, sticking to the plan guarantees it. Tanda’s Live Wage Tracker lets you see wage costs in real-time and adjust staffing levels to drive profitability (3) Return Managers to the Frontline If you want to sell more, make more, and ultimately do more in 2019, empower your managers to lead from the front. This is an opportunity that most businesses leave on the table. Frontline managers are your managers who lead shifts and teams, and they lead more employees than any other level of management. Remember, frontline staff have direct and measurable impacts on top line revenue and quality — they are the doers of any company. Research shows that the most valuable thing a frontline manager can do is allocate time to lead from the front, yet frontline managers spend more time on administration than on more important things like coaching and training. Make the admin the exception. Analyse what keeps managers in their office and automate it, so they can lead the charge from the front. Industrial engineers use the fancy term “task-based observation”, but in practice finding out what to automate is as simple as analysing each piece of paper a manager touches and asking, “why?” Tanda’s Live Wage Tracker monitors your wage costs in real time as Tanda’s Award Engine calculates the exact cost of your wages for each minute of the day Master your Wage Costs Mastering your wage costs only takes a few key changes to the way you do business. First, investing in the right software will empower you to accurately forecast the next 12 months and beyond based on both reported data and common scenarios. Workforce success platforms like Tanda eliminate the need to guess how different employment and overtime levels affect revenue. Second, planning ahead and having contingencies ensure that every shift runs well and no resources are wasted. Besides having a sharp “day of operations plan”, preparing for staffing difficulties is possible with features like shift swapping that dramatically reduce no-shows. Third, ensuring that managers have a connection with both the staff and the customers gives you an edge over the competition. A manager that is not stuck in the back office understands concerns from all ends, and makes better decisions as a result. Help your business grow by implementing these three strategies today! Curious to know more about a workforce management system that can help your business get better? Book your FREE demo with Tanda today.