Nov 07, 2017

How the Service Industry Can Bring Scheduling Practices Into the 21st Century

Unlike a 9-to-5 desk job, the hourly worker experience is subject to unique scheduling challenges that – without effective daily management – can lead to frustration.

Despite the proliferation of digital technology in the retail, restaurant, and hospitality sectors, employers continue to use outdated scheduling tactics to manage their workforce. Thirty-nine percent of managers rely on paper schedules and more than two-thirds still use physical documents to communicate with employees. Due to these static processes, hourly employees have little to no control over their work hours, often receiving their schedules less than a week in advance, which can create a negative impact on their work-life balance.

The service industry has a choice to make: modernize scheduling practices or risk losing talented associates (along with the productivity and profitability gains they bring). Until now, the service industry has treated scheduling and management as isolated tasks when they should be treating the two as a unified cycle. To retain employees and maximize efficiency, service companies should adopt a cohesive scheduling approach that aligns worker preferences with business needs. Investing in smarter employee engagement solutions like WorkJam’s digital workplace platform can help managers eliminate scheduling headaches and modernize workforce management practices.

Here are four ways a digital workplace and engagement platform can transform scheduling processes and improve service business operations:

  1. Democratize shift management: Among retailers, almost half of companies report their stores are frequently understaffed, resulting in poor customer experiences and employee burnout. With an integrated digital workplace platform, managers can tap into self-service shift management capabilities and broadcast unfilled shifts to their workforce to accommodate for fluctuating schedule changes. This not only balances staffing levels but also gives employees the flexibility to pick up shifts at will and promotes open collaboration between staff and employers. Associates are able to take charge of their schedules while managers can avoid costly, disruptive cancellations.

  2. Link scheduling to task management: A unified digital workplace platform can also embed task management into the scheduling process. Managers can link operational, communication, and training tasks to various employees’ assigned shifts, reducing the chance for last-minute shift cancellations and providing workers with a sense of purpose and direction during the workday. With the right digital workplace platform, associates can even upload pictures of completed tasks so managers and head office staff can confirm that assignments were completed and performed properly, enabling a more interactive and dynamic workplace.

  3. Capture employee feedback: Scheduling challenges are a key contributor to hourly employee turnover. In fact, more than half of retail managers have had staff quit over scheduling conflicts. Organizations that adopt employee engagement technology, however, can identify shift management and availability issues before they spin out of control. For example, before clocking out of a shift, an associate might be prompted to complete a quick survey about how their shift went and any other feedback they’d like to share. Responses can be sent directly to store supervisors and head offices, opening opportunities for management to understand employee needs in real time and gather business insights directly from those on the frontline with customers.

  4. Motivate workers with rewards: In most service businesses, rewards for achievements often take the form of public recognition, a prize, or a financial incentive. However, rewards can also be used to define who receives priority for work hours, or early access to open shifts when they become available. This incentivizes hourly employees to work harder for the opportunity to have greater flexibility and control over their schedules. Managers can then create work schedules and fairly distribute sought-after work shifts based on employee merit instead of just seniority, bolstering overall productivity and engagement.

Managers shouldn’t have to dread managing shifts, and hourly employees shouldn’t have to worry about sacrificing income or work-life balance due to outdated management practices. With digital workplace technology in place, service industry employers can not only modernize the scheduling process but enhance their profitability and customer experience through a more motivated, engaged staff.


Author bio:

Will Eadie is the VP of Sales and Strategy at WorkJam and is responsible for developing strategic, high-performing sales and cultivating customer relationships. As a dynamic sales professional with experience driving strong solutions for the customers by working hand-in-hand with the product, Will excels at developing customer relationships and brings to WorkJam fifteen years of deep domain expertise in Strategic Workforce Management, Human Capital Management, and Employee Engagement. Prior to joining WorkJam, Will held roles at Kronos for ten years, serving as Director of National Accounts and Director of Retail and Hospitality Sales in the U.S.

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