Guest Blog By Christian Brøndum, CEO of Planday
The demand for flexibility can no longer be ignored by employers. With only 6% of people now working a traditional shift and almost half of people working flexibly, businesses across all industries should be reflecting on the flexible benefits they offer their workforce.
A recent report from Carers UK called on employers to provide flexible options and workers’ rights to their employees who care for elderly or disable relatives, as more than 600 people feel forced to quit their job as they cannot find the right balance. This may not come as a surprise to many, but it should be a tale of warning for HR managers. Employers,particularly those working in the gig economy, are under a constant spotlight to ensure they are towing the lines and taking care of their employees. With statistics like those from Carers UK continuing to be highlighted, now is the time for HR managers to ensure the business is listening to the demands of its workforce, after all they are a company’s best asset.
Flexibility has benefits for both the employee and employer, as it enables businesses to fine tune which staff are on duty in relation to forecasted demand, and helps employees stay motivated and happy in their job. However, staying in touch with your workforce can be particularly difficult in industries where many of the staff are shift based, such as hospitality, retail or healthcare. The basis for shift-work if its flexibility, however businesses need to make it easy for employees and employers to communicate on the number of staff needed on any given day and who is covering what shift.
Several businesses are still dependent on manual schedule management such as pen and paper or excel spreadsheets, which is time consuming and prone to human error.Technology has had a big part to play in helping HR managers ensure their business is adopting and operating the most efficient solutions alongside meeting the demand for greater flexibility. Cloud-based software has been utilised in many industries as a tool for workforce management, enabling employees to easily swap shifts to fit around their personal schedule and according to what skills are needed where, an essential component for industries such as healthcare.
Alongside the demand for a better work-life balance, there is also an increase in the demand for transparency and improved communication between managers and staff. By utilising technology and providing an online platform with mobile access,managers can be rest assured that any key changes to the schedule or other company/employee policies have been communicated efficiently. HR managers no longer need to worry about important documents getting lost or accidentally shredded. In return, staff feel they have better sight of the important changes which may affect them and have an open platform in which to communicate directly with their managers and colleagues.
Shift work is demanding and at times can be unsocial, and employees are not afforded the boundaries put in place by traditional employment. Therefore, HR teams need to liaise closely with both managers/owners and employees to ensure that the company is offering the best flexible benefits and that the culture is one which fosters employee happiness and productivity. By identifying and implementing the right tools that support everyday processes, businesses are giving back control and time to hard working employees and boosting company morale and productivity.