Real-Time HR is a series of real questions we receive that are then answered by qualified HR experts in the field. We publish these questions and answers to our blog to give readers accurate, timely information about trending HR topics.

We want to offer more flexibility but have a hard time staffing our shifts as it is. Any suggestions?

Answer from Sarah, PHR, SHRM-CP:
It’s great that you are considering offering more flexibility to your employees. This is one way to increase retention and give your employees some control over their time at work.

There are a few things you can do to offer flexibility while still maintaining the coverage you need:

  • Implement self-scheduling. Self-scheduling is when you let your employees know what shifts are needed and allow them to choose when they are going to work. You can use software or a paper calendar, but allowing employees some choice over the days and times that they will work gives them control over their week. This will also offload some of the manager’s responsibilities of regularly making a schedule.
  • Communicate with employees about open shifts and encourage them to share changes to their schedule with managers or the team to keep shifts covered.
  • Offer incentives, such as bonuses or shift pay, to persuade staff to pick up additional or less desirable shifts.
  • Offer cross training. Not only does this give your employees the opportunity to learn a new skill, but it will give everyone more flexibility as they can cover different shifts and roles.
  • Look at offering a variety of shift lengths or different starting times. Determine what shifts would work to provide the coverage you need and then work with your employees to discuss which options they would like to see.

This Real-Time HR post does not constitute legal advice and does not address state or local law.

Sarah has extensive Human Resources experience in the legal, software, security and property preservation industries. She has a Business Communications degree from Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University) and a master’s certificate in Human Resources Management and a Strategic Organizational Leadership certification from Villa Nova University. Sarah is also a member of the National Society of Human Resources Management and has managed the HR function for small startup companies to mid-sized/large organizations.

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