Achieving workforce success (WS) means being driven, open-minded, empowering, and the ultimate master of your work. In this part of the series, we’ll focus on empowering. WS Champions are empowering because they help employees succeed – even when someone can’t make it to work. WS Champions know how work-life balance positively impacts productivity and loyalty. Thus, they build a flexible environment while maintaining, and even exceeding, the company’s bottom line. Among the ways that that can be done is shift swapping, which allows employees to cover for each other in an organized and mutually beneficial manner.

Shift swapping is “an arrangement that allows shift workers to trade shifts with one another when the need arises.” This lets shift workers strike a balance between their personal commitments and work responsibilities. Finding a staff’s replacement for the shift matters, especially for the service industry. The correct number of staff can often determine if the service is delivered properly. And when service is consistent and customers are satisfied, they are more likely to come back and refer their friends.

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But shift swapping is not always as easy as it sounds. In fact, many managers have so much trouble with it that they simply don’t allow it. The initial confusion of organizing the system, especially when they try to do it manually, turns them off. This is unfortunate, as it provides an easy solution to the problem of unfilled shifts. Below we’ll take you through how you can set up a shift swapping system for your company.

Figure out the need for shift swapping

First things first, determine if you actually need shift swapping in the first place. If your business is operating 24/7, or have at least two different shifts in a day, then you might need to consider this arrangement. This applies to many industries like healthcare, retail, hospitality, media, and law enforcement. Shift swapping introduces some flexibility for the employees and helps them avoid burnout in these demanding fields of work. If your managers are attuned to their teams, they should be able to input on this matter.

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Organize your employee data

The success of shift swapping depends on how many employees are qualified to cover for each other. Evaluate each individual and determine which positions they have had some experience with, or would like to learn more about. This will minimize mistakes, increase accountability, and save you time. Once your data is organized, you will be able to make decisions about shift swaps faster. It will also give you a big-picture view of your workforce and allow you to make the necessary adjustments for hiring and promotion.

Choose a shift swapping tool

Shift swapping requires a tool that can organize your employee database, rosters, and swap requests. Managers often have to choose between manual and automated methods, depending on their resources and goals. Manual methods employ programs like Microsoft Excel to track time, attendance, unavailability, and shift swap requests.

While manual methods require no initial investment, many find it unsustainable because of the increased administrative work required. Employees will have to call in their requests, which have to be inputted manually into the database. For businesses with more than 20 employees, this can easily become a nightmare – even for the best managers.

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When you’re set on implementing a shift swapping system, it’s worth exploring automated solutions. Tanda, for example, has a shift swapping feature that integrates into its time and attendance web and mobile apps. It lets staff request to drop or cover a shift right from their mobile phone, while managers control all swap approvals and roster updates. It decreases the amount of administrative work, is suitable for over 20 employees, and can even be used to generate analysis of your workforce.

Perhaps the best thing about an automated system is that shift swaps go directly into the timesheets, meaning there is no additional step of calculating for it. Employees will be paid accurately, and businesses will save money on computing for the additional pay. With that out of the way, managers can focus on creating a great work environment and building the business.

Track the results

Once you’ve implemented a shift swapping system, it’s time to track the results. Compare new data with your baseline after 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and so on. This will help you decide what to do next with your shift swapping system. Look at the following indicators:

  • Number of employees who use of shift swapping
  • Frequency of unfilled shifts
  • Ease with which employees are using the system
  • Effect on administrative work hours
  • Effect on productivity and sales

If you choose an automated shift swapping system, it would be easy for you to compare performance and labour cost data from month to month. It would also allow you to take advantage of other features such as tracking business revenue and labor costs in real time, while complying with all the labor and data privacy laws. Take a free demo to find out how time and attendance automation can help your business.

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Empowering your employees means constantly finding new ways for them to be able to grow in your company, and their career. This means building a more flexible work environment that lets them have work-life balance while not disrupting operations. Businesses that are accommodating towards staff are more likely to retain top talent and attract the best in the industry. Secure the future of your business today by being an empowering employer.

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