The complaints used to pour in every time new schedules were released. Accusations of favoritism and preferential treatment were probably the most common, but they all boiled down to this: How fair is your employee scheduling system anyway?
Things got so bad that planners were beginning to dread their work. Creating schedules was stressful enough without having to deal with dissatisfied employees who were convinced they’d been given the short end of the stick.
But were they?
A big part of the problem was that no one could say for sure.
Some employees used to email their preferences for particular shifts. Others dropped by at a planner’s desk with a special request or gave a planner a quick call. The process – if it could be called that – was the perfect breeding ground for confusion, unhappiness and suspicion.
It was clear that fulfilling a high percentage of employee preferences wasn’t going to be enough. Any new planning system would have to ensure that employee preferences were allocated fairly.
Part of the solution lay in implementing an employee portal where employees could enter preferences, indicate their relative importance, and monitor the results. This was also a great help to planners, who no longer had to keep track of who wanted what – and how badly.
The next step was to introduce KPIs that tracked both the overall acceptance of employee preferences, and how fairly acceptance rates were distributed. While an average acceptance rate of 50% might look good it would, in fact, be a recipe for disaster if 50% of employees had all their requests fulfilled and the other 50% had none.
The complaints soon stopped when employees were able to see for themselves that everyone was being treated fairly. The planners were relieved; morale rose; and significant sums of money were saved with a system that enabled all relevant KPIs – from productivity to employee satisfaction and fairness – to be monitored and optimized.
A hidden cause of unnecessary overtime