How to Improve Staff Retention

How to Improve Staff Retention

Hourly Worker Retention Series – Part 4


How you nurture the quality of employee relationships is similar to nurturing personal relationships. When you meet someone new, for example, you find yourself very interested in what they think, say, and do. Common goals and interests keep the relationship going.

Similarly, when employees begin a new job, they are interested in learning the parameters of their new role. They enjoy learning about the company and feeling as if the work they do makes a difference. When they are involved in the decision-making process and feel respected for the work they perform, they begin to see a future with the company. However, if employees are unable to pursue outside interests due to an unpredictable or inflexible schedule, they can feel burned out. That kind of relationship dynamic can quickly lead to high turnover.

Learning how to reframe the importance of the work schedule can help you avoid this scenario in your organization and improve staff retention.


Understand the Importance of the Work Schedule

Our 2019 State of the Hourly Worker research took a deep look into the minds of hourly employees to discover what motivates them to work hard and remain loyal to their companies. We discovered that the relationship between scheduling and other key aspects of work is almost inseparable.

According to the hourly workers we surveyed:

  • 80 percent said their schedule impacts their quality of work and productivity
  • 79 percent said schedules impact their ability to do a good job
  • 77 percent reported that scheduling impacts their ability to maximize income

Beyond the bottom line, we found that scheduling was strongly tied to employee satisfaction and work relationships:

  • 85 percent reported their work schedule impacts job happiness
  • 80 percent stated that work schedules impact their likelihood to search for other employment opportunities
  • 74 percent expressed that scheduling impacted relationships with co-workers and management

For hourly employees, the work schedule is linked to job satisfaction and retention because it so broadly affects life outside of work.


Empower Employees to Balance Life with Work

Just as people set goals and communicate to have satisfying personal relationships, they also set clear boundaries around the time they need apart to pursue their own interests.

Similarly, every company has a vision for the future and measurable goals to help them attain it. The key to retaining your hourly workforce is twofold: clearly communicate your goals and visions to your employees, and ensure they understand their role in attaining them. Employees also need to know that their time off will be respected, and not constantly interrupted with ‘all-hands-on-deck’ mandatory overtime calls.

To actively engage your workforce while respecting boundaries, it is imperative to look at scheduling through the lens of the employee. This practice helps to truly understand how the work schedule impacts their big-picture vision, and their future with your company. Our survey overwhelmingly reflected the importance that employees place on having a say in the scheduling process:

  • 89 percent want to be able to select their own shifts
  • 83 percent would like the ability to swap shifts once the schedule is posted
  • 52 percent would consider leaving their jobs if they had no influence on the schedule.


Find the Win-Win Balance

Steve O’Brian, the chief marketing officer at Shiftboard, shared the following story in a 2019 interview.

“We have a customer that struggled with mandatory overtime. Then they decided to get innovative. They switched completely to volunteer overtime, where employees just signed up if they wanted overtime. The results were extraordinary — they increased the fill rate of overtime shifts to almost 100 percent every week. This is a great example of a win-win – the company got overtime filled and the employees who wanted to work extra got the overtime hours.”

As we’ve seen, the ability to improve staff retention is closely tied to scheduling. If finding balance is a bit puzzling for you, it may be time to take a deeper look at your scheduling practices and find the win-win balance between employee needs and business goals.

Learn more about improving staff retention from Steve O’Brian and his fellow workforce management expert Frank Pereira in the video interview below.



How to Schedule Employees Effectively: Video


If you missed the previous posts in this hourly employee retention series, get more insights in the previous posts. Most recently, we covered what hourly employees really want in a work schedule.


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