Is your shiftwork schedule working for you or are you working for it?
Do your employees constantly complain about issues related to shiftwork?
If all of your shiftwork related issues were resolved, how much more productive would your facility be?
For the last 20 years Shiftwork Solutions LLC has been in solving workplace issues in shift-work operations. If you have shift workers and a shift schedule, then you are familiar with the types of problems that can arise. Some common examples are:
Exit interviews show that one of the major reasons an employee leaves your company is problems with one or more aspects of the shift schedule.
Prospective employees are reluctant to accept employment offers once they find out that their junior status would give them a poor shift assignment.
Employees are not getting enough sleep. This is affecting quality, productivity and safety.
- Skill imbalance:
There is a constant struggle to maintain a balance of skills between crews. This can be especially difficult in a fixed-shift environment.
There is either too much or too little overtime. Those that want more cannot get it and those that want less are getting too much.
- Workload variability:
Seasonal swings in your workload put a lot of stress on your shift workers. During peak seasons, no one gets a day off. During slow periods, there is not enough work.
Everyone wants more communication, but no one is sure how to best achieve this.
Should supervisors stay with the same crew all the time or should they rotate between crews?
What is the best way to handle holidays, shift differential, funeral leave and a host of other work-related issues?
- Absentee coverage:
Last minute absenteeism is driving up costs and lowering morale. How can guaranteed coverage be established in such a way that the workforce will support it?
How can training be scheduled and accomplished in a predictable and effective manner?
Shiftwork Solutions can help you to solve these issues as well as many more just like them. Our Shiftwork Environment Evaluation (SEE) process is designed to do the following:
- Identify what the real problem is.
All too often, companies assume the problem is caused by the schedule. They change schedules and the problems are still there. In reality, there are a number of potential sources of problems. The schedule is only one of them.
- Find out what the workforce thinks.
Don’t let the “squeaky wheel” tell you what they think everyone wants. Everyone must participate to get the true picture.
- Identify your weaknesses and strengths.
What are you doing well and why? What are you not so good at? Is there a way to use your strengths to overcome your weaknesses?
Growth and improvement are constants. When you are finished trying to improve, you truly are finished.
The process uses a detailed communication, survey, feedback, and monitoring process to enable you to focus on the real shift work issues in your organization. By engaging the entire workforce and responding to the real issues, your organization can be the top tier performer that you strive to be.
As shown in the figure above, there are four phases to the SEE:
- Establish goals:
Work with the management team to establish clear goals for the process.
- Engage the workforce:
Survey and communication:
Using these goals, custom design a Shiftwork Environment Evaluation Survey and a communication plan that explains the survey. Then, administer and process the survey.
Feedback strengths and weaknesses:
Review the survey results with the management team. Identify the strengths (successes) and weaknesses (problem areas) in the schedule and/or organization. Then, review the survey results with the workforce. While reviewing the results with the workforce, engage them in a discussion that allows you to gather more information about the problem areas – what is the real problem and what makes it a problem? In addition, gather more information about the high-performance successes – why are they seen as strengths and how can those strengths be leveraged within the organization? Using this additional information, work with management to summarize the new feedback provided by the workforce.
Formulate an action plan with specific target dates for completion (e.g. one year) for addressing the problems identified. Establish metrics and monitor the success of the action plan.
Execute the action plan and re-evaluate your continuous improvement as your target dates are met.
Once you have completed the evaluation, you will want to perform a periodic Shiftwork Environment Evaluation Checkup to monitor the organizational progress, and identify new strengths and weaknesses to focus on as your organization improves.
The SEE is fully customizable, including the level of assistance that we provide. Because there are benefits to having a neutral third party evaluate your situation, you may want Shiftwork Solutions to complete the SEE for you. Or, you may want to complete most of the steps yourself if you have a smaller organization.
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