Flexible Scheduling = Employee Engagement plus Competitive Advantage

Happy EmployeesIn my last blog I mentioned that flexible scheduling of your staff improves employee engagement.  Recently I read a blog post from The Source at the Wall Street Journal which discusses the drivers for personal productivity based on the results of an annual international survey carried out by iOpener Institute for People and Performance. The findings consistently demonstrate that productivity is closely linked to employee engagement and reveals that happy employees are:

  • Twice as productive
  • Stay 5 times longer in their jobs
  • Are 6 times more energised
  • Take 10 times less sick leave

One of the most interesting statistics was (and it also shows how key it is for employers to engage their employees and keep them ‘happy’) that; when asked how “on task” or engaged with their work an employee was – values ranged from 78% for those who are most on task, to 41% for the least.

78% is equates to four working days a week while 41% is just two working days a week. This represents a huge productivity cost to an organisation. Mathematically that means that an organisation is losing about 100 days of work a year for every “unhappy” or “disengaged” employee. This should keep executives and CEOs awake at night.

So where is the link between flexible scheduling and employee engagement? It is one of the simplest ways in which an organisation can offer employees the opportunity to maintain a work-life balance and remain productive. And the more complex scheduling requirements are, the more crucial it is to have an automated solution to support managers and employees. An automated scheduling solution ensures staffing is aligned with business demand, allows for employee self-service such as shift-swapping, flexible working such as annualised hours and even employee preferences.  More importantly it demonstrates to staff that the organisation cares about making the business a success.

We’ve all been in a big retail store that is devoid of customers but has many members of staff standing around waiting for something to do. We have all seen the complete opposite perhaps in a bank or Post Office at lunch time where only two desks are open and the queue is out the door. Nothing is more soul-destroying for employees than not enough work to do, or too much work to do. And it’s not just retailers; I have seen this happen across the business world. Isn’t it about time to introduce flexible schedules, aligned with business demand that accommodate employees work life balance?

Employees who feel valued, see a sensible business approach and have more control of their activity at work will be happier, more productive and bring significant competitive advantage. A win-win situation for employee and employer.


Absence and Employee Disengagement – What’s the Connection?

GrapevineHR.com announced that the top FTSE 100 CEOs including those of BAE Systems, Barclays, United Utilities, Marks and Spencer and Whitbread are concerned that the UK is losing around £26billion in annual output due to disengaged staff!

They should be concerned – employee engagement is ultimately all about performance.  If individuals are achieving their highest potential, the organisation as a whole will benefit. Customers will get better service, waste is reduced, efficiency is improved and overall performance is enhanced.  The workforce really becomes a competitive advantage. This all sounds good, and it is.  But the opposite is also true, low employee engagement leads to poor performance, it costs real money and must be tackled. 

Absence and tardy attendance is often an identifier for those who are less committed to the company, and often indicates an underlying problem.  Every organisation should measure absence levels across the workforce so that unscheduled absences are identified and, plans are put in place to understand the root cause and address the issue thus raising employee engagement – across the entire workforce.  

Low employee engagement doesn’t just manifest itself in those who are regularly absent from work, it has an effect on everyone else.  Someone close to me works in the fashion design industry and has recently moved job.  This move was made due to the high level of absence at her previous workplace resulting in additional pressure and workload for those that were present.  Records were not kept and the unscheduled absence was largely taking place unnoticed and certainly unaddressed by management.  When this happens, and/or lateness and long breaks also appear to go unaddressed, it’s the 70 to 80% of diligent workers who become disengaged.  To avoid this situation, and to reduce churn of your good employees, you need to know the size of your unscheduled absence issue and ensure managers are equipped to tackle an issue.

Using a real time automated workforce management solution an organisation can achieve visibility and control, absence can be managed down and productivity and performance boosted.  Increasing employee engagement and raising performance is an important element in any organisational strategy.  To make a start, capture the data you need to address unscheduled absence, you will then be on the road to ensuring your workforce are your competitive advantage and the customer experience is great and consistent.

In a future Blog I will discuss how automated flexible scheduling , which ensures the system is fair for all, can also be a good tool to engage staff as flexible schedules can be set to reflect an individual’s lifestyle and preferences.