It’s time to shift your thinking about work shifts
Chances are, you’re all too familiar with the pain staff shortages are causing your operation these days. When you can’t find enough workers, you can’t get product out the door, you miss deadlines and you lose profit. You likely feel you’ve exhausted all the local recruitment, advertising and networking opportunities in your market. Designing shifts that are more accommodating to working parents – especially moms – can be your way out of a relentless staffing conundrum.
Women accounted for 56% of workforce exits since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 800,000 left between August and September 2020 alone, reportedly to look after children as they turned to virtual learning, according to The National Women’s Law Center. But as the CDC urges schools to prioritize in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year, childcare centers reopen and federal unemployment boosters expire in many states, many in this group are ready to get back to work.
Parents are reentering the workforce with new priorities.
After a year or more of prioritizing kids and family over career, work-life balance is more important than ever to working parents. In fact, one recent study of the pandemic’s impact on working parents shows that 82% of respondents say work-life balance is the most important factor they consider when evaluating a new job.
Now is the time to change the way you think about shifts.
Manufacturers are particularly hard hit by worker shortages. Parents are looking for work that allows them to be with their kids before and after school. How do they come together for a win-win?
Consider adding a ‘school shift’ that allows workers to clock in after school drop-off, and clock out in time to pick up their kids and enjoy an evening as a family. Not only is a flexible schedule built around workers a key differentiator in your employer value proposition, it’s also a clear signal to your current and potential workforce that your commitment to work-life balance is more than just lip service. It improves morale and creates a healthier culture.
But will they stay?
A flexible schedule is a great perk for workers looking for optimal work-life balance – and a rare find in manufacturing, an industry notorious for inflexible, regimented shifts. Celebrate your school shift as a key differentiator in your employer value proposition, but don’t bank on that as the only reason workers will stay.
Returning workers worry how employers will adjust to life post-Covid. Health and safety measures remain a concern for 32% of surveyed workers reentering the workforce. Covid isn’t over yet. Employers will need to continue to enforce health safeguards.
Working conditions are also as important as ever. No one wanted to work in a subpar – too hot, too dirty, poor morale, bad culture – environment pre-Covid, and no one wants to work in a subpar environment now, especially when workers have their pick of job opportunities. Ensuring your warehouse, plant or factory environment maintains – or better yet exceeds – standards for temperature, air quality, cleanliness, and culture will improve retention rates.
Cash is still king.
No matter how flexible your operation gets on scheduling, pay is still the number one driver for talent. Stay up to date with pay rates and sign on bonuses in your area – not just for operations like yours – to remain a competitive employer. In today’s economy, companies of all kinds are attracting workers with historically high wages and sign-on bonuses, from factories to coffee shops and restaurants to retailers. Your field of competitors is much more crowded and diverse than ever before. Keeping tabs on what they’re paying and adjusting your rates accordingly will help you attract and retain top talent.
Our post-pandemic world is one full of unknowns. Companies will continue to struggle to attract talent for the foreseeable future, but a little flexibility can go a long way in attracting and retaining eager, ready-to-work individuals to your organization.