Every company wants to run a tight ship because it is important to make efficient use of resources and to schedule employees work hours to make sure that customers get the very best experience.
But this mindset can go too far and begin to sink that tightly run ship…
Far too many organizations are pursuing this goal at the expense of their employees by employing a tactic called “resource optimization” or “just-in time scheduling.”
Just in Time Scheduling , widely used in the service industry, results in last-minute schedule changes with employers even sending workers home after they arrive for work or asking them to stay beyond the end of their shift.
This practice is ridiculous, really.
Time and time again, managers and corporate planners put policies in place that are meant to boost numbers or cut down on overhead, but actually work much better to anger and alienate their employees.
Retail companies (Whole Foods and Container Store, among others) are notorious for this, rotating their employees’ schedules to meet customer demand, and inadvertently disrupting their personal lives in the process.
The flexing schedule is meant to keep costs down and provide improved service for customers, but instead creates resentment among workers who can’t plan other responsibilities around an unpredictable schedule.
Bad for Business
It sounds great in a corporate board to utilize employees or resources only when they are needed. That is not to say employee scheduling should not be managed or maybe even automated – that would be naive.
But scheduling employees to open the store one day and close the store the very next day is not only bad for them, but also bad for business. Employees who don’t feel like they have some control over their time can leave work feeling left out, in the dark, and like they have no control of their lives outside of work.
If employees feel like they are getting the runaround from management, or that their interests are secondary to profit, the only outcome is reduced job satisfaction and plummeting morale.
If the ship metaphor holds, these are grounds for mutiny.
Righting the Ship
Little by little, managers and corporate policy-makers are starting to understand the importance of happy, engaged employees – according to Vineet Nair in his recent book Employees Come First, Customer Come Second:
“If you do not put the employee first – if the business of management and managers is not to put the employee first – there is no way you can get the customer first.”
Plenty of companies are still out there making decisions based on dollar signs instead of their employees’ best interests. If only they understood that if they put their staff members first, necessities like efficiency, teamwork, and great customer service improve naturally!
Until companies realize that personally invested, contented employees are their greatest asset, there will continue to be this kind of poor decision making that keeps workers and managers at odds, hurting the productivity of the business at every level and sowing the seeds of mutiny.
What good is a captain without the support of his crew?
So, how are you managing the scheduling for your employees that works best for everyone involved? How can you work to keep the right balance of employee engagement with profitably and productivity and avoid a mutiny? How close are YOU to irritating your people to where they make YOU “walk the plank?” I would love to hear your thoughts!
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Anil Saxena is a President & Senior Consultant Cube 214 Consulting
He helps organizations create environments that generate repeatable superior results
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | (847) 212-0701
Image Sources: extensispeo.com, 1.bp.blogspot.com
- Employee Motivation: 8 Proven Ways Toward a Happy, Productive Team (amsterdamprinting.com)
- Employee Morale Boosters – Simple Things Make All the Difference (amsterdamprinting.com)