How Does Scheduling Affect Turnover
The service industry has turnover issues, with the latest turnover rate for the services industry in the US hovering at 12.5 per cent (experts often cite 10 per cent as the goal).
The Cost of Employee Turnover
High employee turnover sucks the life out of small, service-oriented companies. Consider, the time and money it takes to recruit, develop, and retain high-performing employees. In addition to a significant loss of productivity, small businesses incur the following employee turnover costs:
- Job Fairs
- Training Wages
- Training Paperwork
- Help Wanted Advertisements
One factor that can affect your service business’ employee turnover rate? How you schedule your employees.
Factors to Consider for Employee Scheduling
When expanding your team it’s important to create a work schedule that both satisfies your business requirements and considers employee needs and preferences—that way scheduling doesn’t become an issue contributing to turnover.
Day of the Week
Depending on your industry, your employees may have limited availability. This is often due to workers supplementing full-time incomes from weekday jobs by working part time on the weekends. The quickest way to alienate an employee is to schedule them when they aren’t available to work.
On the other hand, a full-time employee of your small business might perceive weekend hours as a demotion. Several research studies conducted by US universities have found that full-time service industry employees not scheduled to work on weekends remained on the job five years longer than full-time employees who did work on weekends.
Many service businesses operate during hours that extend past the traditional idea of 9 to 5. If the sun rises at 5 a.m., a lawn care or landscaping company may take advantage of an early start, and continue working well into the evening if the sun sets late. Also, many commercial cleaning contracts involve cleaners doing their work in the late evenings or overnight.
As a service business owner, it’s important that you manage your employees’ expectations around the shifts you’ll expect them to work by being upfront about your business hours early in the interview process. Simply asking candidates if they’re prepared to work the hours you require can weed out candidates that aren’t a good fit.
Number of Hours per Week
It’s no surprise in the service industry that part-time workers turn over at much higher rates than full-time employees. However, you might find that it’s helpful to have a few employees on your roster that actually want less hours. The key is to confirm with them that this is the case. If so, they win by getting the part-time work they’re looking for, and you have people to help pick up the hours left over from your full-time staff.
Ongoing communication about hours is essential, as nothing turns an employee against you faster than reducing work hours—and cutting back compensation. Both Wayne State and Portland State researchers found that full-time workers offer 43 months more longevity than part-time workers do. However, it’s important to remember that some of your employees only want to work part-time hours, and it can actually help you run your business effectively.
In April of 2011, the University of Minnesota released a study that demonstrated the benefit of implementing a flex schedule policy. Typically, flex scheduling requires that employees meet a certain number of hours worked per week on their own terms (flexible arrival and departure times, or the ability to work extended hours one day and less the next), often with some mandatory schedule requirements.
The study shows that flex scheduling not only decreases workplace stress, it also increases job satisfaction. For example, the study stated Best Buy reduced employee turnover by 45% after implementing a flex schedule policy.
In addition to flex scheduling, service industry jobs that include extensive computer work offer employees the opportunity to work from home, also known as telecommuting, which also enhances job satisfaction.
The Value of Employee Availability
An easy way to avoid employee turnover caused by workers who are unhappy with their schedules is to have each employee complete an availability sheet in print and/or digital form. It’s a simple step that can also reduce the number of revisions you make to your work schedules.
Employee scheduling is an important factor when it comes to worker turnover. Be sure to do your part to reduce employee turnover by giving your employees the work schedules they want.