As work-life balance increasingly becomes a top priority, scheduling flexibility is becoming a major factor in employee retention.

According to a survey administered by FlexJobs, 30% of respondents have reported leaving a job because it did not offer flexible work options. Work-life balance actually tied with salary as the most important factor when evaluating a potential job. When asked to rank their interest among six flexible work options, the ability to work fully remote (76%) and having a flexible schedule (72%) were the only two options to achieve a majority of interest.

Working remote, however, is not possible for hourly workers in essential industries like manufacturing, food processing, nuclear, oil and gas, and public service. They need to be onsite to get the job done. HR and Operations executives hoping to increase retention and attract top talent should instead be focusing on ways to increase scheduling flexibility.

Having a flawless shift swapping process is a great business differentiator. Allowing employees to swap shifts to accommodate unforeseen circumstances not only increases work-life balance, but it also decreases manual work for managers. In an effort to further aid these industries, Indeavor has recently released an updated Employee Swapping and Supervisor Approval Tool.

5 Levels of Schedule Automation_Banner.jpg

Indeavor wants to help you create a more agile swapping process that matches the pace of daily life. Here’s how.

Reduce Human Error

Initiating shift trades is often easy to accomplish verbally, but difficult to deal with on written forms or in clunky software with poor UX. Paper request forms and other manual processes (emails, texts, phone calls) are disjointed, time consuming, and prone to error. Let’s dive into this with a very common example: Joe asks Jill to swap shifts with him due to a doctor’s appointment, and Jill agrees to the trade.

A few things can happen from here. In one instance, they forget to communicate the swap to their supervisor. Jill shows up to work Joe’s shift, but the supervisor did not catch that both Jill and Joe will be getting OT. Now the business is spending more money. In another instance, Joe and Jill do get the appropriate approvals from the supervisor… but the supervisor did not realize that Joe was scheduled to work a job that Jill was not qualified for. The supervisor did not have their employee credentials (located in a separate system/filing cabinet) in front of him when the request was made.

Another occurrence is that Joe and Jill agree to a trade, creating a constraint violation. The company has a rule that 12 hours are needed between shifts, and Joe’s new assignment would violate this—unbeknownst to everyone involved because they are using paper schedules and the supervisor who was in a rush to approve the swap missed this detail.

Had Joe and Jill been able to initiate a job trade in a cloud-based system that had all employee and labor data housed in one centralized location, none of these problems would have occurred. In the first instance, communicating with the supervisor would have been easy, since it would have taken a few clicks of a button from their phone as opposed to making a more formal request. In the second instance, Jill would not have been able to trade in the app due to the pre-set skills and certification rules for Joe’s job. Joe would then be able to quickly offer the shift swap opportunity to others. In the last example, our system would catch the constraint violation at the time of approval, so the supervisor would have already been aware.

Employees will be able to interact with each other and engage in swapping assignments on the Indeavor Engage mobile app. When they’ve accepted each other’s trades, the swaps will go to the supervisor for quick approval in the supervisor approval page of the Indeavor Schedule web app.

Offer Flexible Choices

Indeavor Engage’s updated Employee Swapping feature allows employees to swap shifts in multiple ways, depending on their needs. This enhances the scheduling flexibility that your employees crave.

Direct trades are the most straight-forward. Joe creates a trade in the app for Jill to either accept or reject.

Another option is posting offers to a swap board. Joe offers an assignment to a digitized swap board that other employees—who are qualified and available for that job—can see. Employees who are interested in a trade create counter offers, and then Joe accepts the offer he prefers. This option is ideal when employees are unsure of who to ask to switch with, or who simply want to see if a preferred shift (e.g. a weekday shift instead of a weekend one) is available.

Joe also has the option to drop his assignment altogether and ask others in the app if they’d like to pick up his shift. In this case, Joe would prefer to lose some hours that week. This option is ideal when other employees are looking to pick up an extra shift.

You also have the ability to turn certain swapping method on/off, depending on your organization’s needs. If dropping assignments, for example, isn’t a use case that your company wants to offer, you can simply turn that off and leave the trades and offer to a swap board functionality turned on.

Save Time

The Indeavor Engage mobile application is intuitive, meaning employees will actually want to use it. The swapping functionality is simple, with guided workflows and a shopping-cart style submission page where employees can confirm details before they commit.

Your employees are filling scheduling gaps for you. The more employees do things like swap shifts, volunteer for overtime, and bid for vacant jobs on their own, the less supervisors are spending time filling in unexpected absences. The supervisor is only part of the equation at the approval stage, and even that is simple and transparent—just a few clicks of a button.

Supervisors both want to accomplish their swap approval work quickly, while also ensuring accuracy. The tool catches any potential mistakes before a supervisor confirms an assignment. Bulk approval/rejection capabilities, approval recommendations based on our smart scanning and rules-driven capabilities, and an audit log are just some of the handy features built into this tool to keep operations running smoothly and employees happy.

The Indeavor Solution

Only automated scheduling can give hourly workers more control over their schedules while making management’s job easier.

Not currently leveraging scheduling as a recruiting tool? Click here to request a demo.

Indeavor’s solution offers clients an end-to-end, cloud-based employee scheduling and absence management system. By integrating with your human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems, you can leverage a robust platform that provides you with real-time employee data. Relieve your supervisors of manual tasks and the constant mental fatigue brought upon by scheduling changes by automating the entire process, connecting the data to all of your existing corporate systems, and ensuring you always have the right qualified employee in each position.