How Do Flexible Work Schedules Impact Retention?

How Do Flexible Work Schedules Impact Retention?

Hourly Worker Retention Series – Part 2

This can be read as a stand-alone article and as part of our Hourly Worker Retention Series.

How Do Work Schedules Impact Employee Retention?

Let’s say you knew the secret to increase both productivity and retention of your hourly workforce – as well as motivation and satisfaction – would you be willing to make the changes to achieve it?

Shiftboard understands the secret that can change the way your business operates – flexible work schedules. That’s right, when it comes to discussing potential work opportunities and expanding your talent pool during the hiring process, salary and benefits are no longer the biggest concerns.

In our 2023 State of the Hourly Worker report, we dove deep into the minds of over 2,000 hourly workers about their needs and desires regarding work schedules. In our first post in this series, we discussed the key drivers of employee turnover and took a look at the basic psychology behind the needs of hourly employees. Now we take a deeper look at those needs and discuss why the hourly work schedule has become even more important than pay and benefits.

How Does Scheduling Affect Work-Life Balance?

When we applied Maslow’s renowned hierarchy of needs to the workplace, we discovered that the work schedule is a key driver in hourly worker retention. While pay may be a short-term motivator, flexible scheduling allows your employees the time they want to be with their families, take vacation, or enjoy a mental health day – all attributes of work-life balance.

That said, there is no cookie-cutter solution to fit every organization or employee’s definition of flexibility. In fact, everyone’s idea of work-life balance varies. Some of your employees may be looking to maximize income by working as many hours as possible, while others want to work specified times and days. According to our survey:

  • 49 percent of hourly employees are willing to take a pay cut in exchange for more control over their schedules
  • 55 percent say they will leave their jobs if they lack control over scheduling
  • 89 percent of people would prefer to work longer days in order to have more time off between shifts

Views on overtime vary, too.

  • 88 percent said they wanted to have the option of working overtime hours for more pay
  • 78 percent said they wanted a set number of hours without overtime being a job requirement
  • 93 percent said they would be willing to work overtime but didn’t want to be required to do so

So, while scheduling consistency is an important factor to hourly employees, scheduling flexibility is equally important. Balancing these needs can also affect the bottom line of your company.

Should Employees Be Involved in Scheduling Decisions?

While it is almost impossible to make everyone happy with a work schedule, involving employees in the process and ensuring they understand the how and why behind decisions will help with your retention efforts, which in turn can benefit your production and sales.

In Shiftboard’s survey, 77 percent of hourly employees stated that work-life balance was necessary to feel satisfied in their job. Helping these employees understand the schedule and accommodating requests when possible will aid in your retention efforts and help them achieve the work-life balance they desire.

A case study, cited in Innovative Workplace Flexibility Options for Hourly Workers from WFD Consulting, provides another testimonial of the organizational benefits a consumer goods manufacturer realized after implementing flexible scheduling options. In that instance, plant managers were able to meet productivity goals while also giving employees more control over their schedules. The employee-inspired options included:

  • Occasional flex time
  • Shift trades
  • Relief pool
  • Half-day vacation increments
  • Unpaid time off
  • Employee designated schedules for continuous operations

The most significant benefits of providing flexibility were higher employee satisfaction and morale. Said one employee cited in the study, “We are the happiest group. And yearly we have attitude surveys, and we have the lowest rate of absenteeism . . . Everybody in [our department] would say, “We are a top 100 company.”

Work Schedules: What Do Employees Really Want?

Now that you know the “secret” to increase both productivity and retention of your hourly workforce, what will you do with it?

In our next post, we discuss more specifics on what hourly employees want in their schedule, and how you can best accommodate them.

Read Part 1Read Part 3Read Part 4