Oct 12, 2015

Unpredictable Schedules Can Erode Worker Loyalty, Boost Turnover, Survey Says

Unpredictable work schedules can adversely affect employee satisfaction, driving up turnover and costs associated with recruitment and training, according to a new report.

‘‘An Inside Look at the Hiring and Scheduling Crisis in the Hourly Workforce,’’ released Oct. 6 by WorkJam, a Montreal-based employee scheduling firm, found that slightly more than two-thirds (68 percent) of service industry employers say the most difficult part of scheduling is assigning shifts that accommodate both their staff’s availability and business needs.

The survey of 500 U.S. store/shift managers, supervisors and team leaders, and more than 700 U.S. hourly employees, also found that 60 percent of employees say the most difficult aspect of the job search is finding a position that matches their availability and location preferences.

According to the survey, more than half of employees (56 percent) say they receive their schedules a week or less in advance and 29 percent say they rarely receive consistent work schedules.

Joshua Ostrega, chief operating officer and co- founder of WorkJam, told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 1 that inconsistent scheduling practices and unmet wage expectations erode company loyalty.

‘‘If all of a sudden you take away predictability for the employee, by giving them their work schedule at the last minute, that unpredictably causes a lot of stress. The employee starts thinking ‘this company is not taking me and my needs seriously, why should I be loyal to them?’ and the first thing they do is start looking for other work,’’ Ostrega said.

Outdated job search processes also plague many hourly workers, according to the survey. Only 21 percent of hourly employees said they found work through their employer’s career page or a third-party job board. More than twice as many employees (49 percent) applied for their job through a paper application than online, the survey found.

Companies’ standard methods of communicating schedules to employees also are outworn, the survey found. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of employers still share staff schedules via physical charts posted in break rooms or other communal areas, 20 percent use text messages, 25 percent call employees and 23 percent use e-mail, survey results showed.

‘‘It’s quite shocking to see the number of employers still using outdated methods. [Employees] may have to call into work or have someone text message their work schedule once it’s posted, and the reason is [better] tools aren’t being made easily available to managers,’’ Ostrega said.

Bloomberg BNA / Vol. 33, No. 39

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