Understand key terms to navigate scheduling easily.
- Auto-approved shifts
What are auto-approved shifts?
Auto-approved shift software is designed to make scheduling easier. Auto-approved shifts pull relevant information from your employee profile such as:
and training requirements.
Many digital workforce management solutions include software that auto-predicts employee availability to help make life easier for scheduling managers.
Without digital workforce management software for auto-approval of shifts, keeping up with scheduling needs can be a cumbersome process. Auto-approved shifts enable more effective and time-efficient management.
Inside of Deputy, the auto-approved shift function is enhanced by access to specific data on employees’ training levels: Have they been properly trained for this shift they hold the proper certifications to work this particular shift?
Deputy also provides a clear, detailed view of staff availability. Not only does it allow scheduling managers to see whether someone is available for a shift at one location, but also whether or not an employee is already scheduled at the same time in another location or another area of work.
Deputy can also help factor in a specific employee’s stress profile, including whether they are nearing overtime, or if they are already working hours above their capacity.
Because Deputy allows so many workforce tasks to be automated, you can develop work schedules confident in the knowledge that all relevant individual and company data have been factored in.
When a shift is filled in Deputy, you can be sure that the auto-approved shift function has already reviewed all the different reasons an employee may not be able to work. The auto-approve technology in Deputy will streamline your scheduling so it no longer becomes a nagging task.
- Award interpretation
What is award interpretation?
When setting up a new business, there’s a lot to be aware of. It is crucial things to ensure you pay your staff correctly. The Fair Work Australia website lists the 122 awards which cover pay and conditions for workers in Australia, and anyone business can be subject to more than one award depending on the different jobs their employees do.
Award interpretation is the process of calculating the minimum legal amount of pay for hours worked, during a specific period of time, based on the relevant legal agreement (this legal agreement is usually called an 'Award'). The calculation process involves the assessment of base hourly pay rates, overtime pay rates, penalty pay rates and allowances.
Base pay refers to the minimum amount of compensation earned by employees for their services within the ordinary hours of work. Base pay is used to compute overtime and other penalty rates
Overtime and penalties, which are paid at higher rates, refer to the additional amount of pay for work performed outside the ordinary hours of work. For example, this covers work performed on Sundays, Public holidays, or late night shifts
Allowances are paid to compensate workers for expenses that they incur while on the job or for working in unfavorable conditions. Common allowances include meal allowance, travel allowance, uniform/clothing allowance, and accommodation allowance. Find which allowances apply to your business from Fair Work
Awards cover full-time, part-time, and casual workers across all industries, in Australia. Awards may be superseded for workers in particular businesses by Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs), however, the interpretation and application of EBAs can also be referred to as 'Award Interpretation'. Other generic terms for the process include 'custom pay conditions' or 'custom pay rules.'
- Boomerang employee
What is a boomerang employee?
Originating from the famed Australian bush weapon that returns to the hand that threw it, a boomerang employee is an employee who left an employer only to return to them later in a new role. A boomerang employee offers major benefits over a traditional outside hire. Rehiring an employee who is familiar with your organization, culture, and practices means that their onboarding will be much faster (if it’s necessary at all), they will be a better culture fit, and most importantly they’ll be a productive member of your organization in no time at all. In addition to the above, there are a number of benefits to the team dependent on the role the returning employee assumes.
As an example, a boomerang manager integrating back into the company will have a much easier time assimilating as well as in running their new team. Employees being managed by a manager who is already experienced in their culture and practices will be happier and more productive than those working under a perceived ‘outsider’.
- Custom pay rates
What are custom pay rates?
Custom Pay Rates are rates that are assigned to specific roles, tasks or projects.
Instead of an employee getting paid the same hourly rate regardless of the variety of tasks, the employee would be compensated a different amount for each task performed. Custom pay rates are commonly used in the professional services and construction industries where a worker may be qualified to perform a variety of duties with different market rates and skills requirements.
- Dislocated worker
What is a dislocated worker?
A dislocated or displaced worker is somebody who has been laid off due to circumstances beyond their control. An individual is considered dislocated when they meet one of the following criteria.
Has been laid off, or received notice they are to be laid off and is unlikely to return to that occupation.
Has been laid off as a direct result of a business closing.
Was self-employed but now without work due to a natural disaster, or unforeseen economic events.
Is a displaced homemaker who is no longer supported by their spouse, who is unemployed and cannot find employment.
- Employee ghosting
Employee Ghosting: What is Workplace Ghosting?
An employer ghosting a candidate. That's nothing new. But the tables are turning — and it's hurting companies. Candidate ghosting is now a thing and it's growing exponentially. It may happen a little something like this.
A recruiter finds a candidate matching all the skills needed for an open role. They reach out, connect, and even have a great phone call. So the recruiter sets up an interview with the company's HR department.
The company wants to hire the candidate and schedules them to start Monday. The candidate shows up, everything seems to go well. But then the following day, they’re a no-show. No one can reach them by email or phone. Weeks pass, and no one hears from or sees that candidate again.
What happened? Employee ghosting.
It's a problem that's seeping into every industry, sector, and role. What can you do as an employer to prevent it? Let's look at what candidate and new employee ghosting is and what to do about it.
What is work ghosting?
Ghosting is a term recently coined for people that disappear without warning or explanation. But there's nothing mysterious about it. People ghost for various reasons, and it often has to do with disinterest (or loss of interest). When it comes to work ghosting, it's when a candidate or employee initially shows interest in a position, but doesn't follow through with pursuing the role (even after being hired).
There are occasions where an employee will go through the entire hiring process, work several days and then never return. So employee ghosting can happen at any point before, during, and after the hiring process. Unfortunately, this is happening more and more.
How common is ghosting at work?
And recruiters back this claim, with 83% stating candidates ghosted them. There also seems to be a bias — 41% of workers say candidate ghosting is alright. But 35% say business ghosting is unacceptable.
The sentiment for ghosting employers seems to be growing among employees, making it harder for companies to lock in candidates. The question now is why is this happening?
Why is job ghosting on the rise?
Candidate ghosting is on the rise, but why? Some believe it has to do with the employment process becoming impersonal. A lot of recruiters are now vetting candidates using channels like social media and online job boards.
The problem with this is it becomes impossible to build a personable relationship. Everyone's hiding behind screens, so it's easier to skip out on an interview or the first day of work without remorse.
There's also the fact that employees are in control. In 2019, the unemployment rate sat at 3.5% (the lowest since 1969). This means fewer people competing for work. Think of it like real estate -- when it's a seller's market, buyers are less frantic and are willing to wait around for better opportunities.
And it's the same in the job industry. Employees have leverage over the labor market. So they're less likely to jump on an opportunity if they feel something better may come along. Even during the pandemic, employers are dealing with candidate ghosting. But it's not for the same reasons. This time around, applicants do want to work, but are forced to forgo an opportunity to tend to family matters (i.e., health or childcare).
But again, the reasons behind employee ghosting vary based on the individual and their circumstances. It helps to understand the why, so you can potentially prevent being ghosted.
Here are some of the top causes for candidate and employee ghosting:
Accepting another job offer
Looking for a better opportunity
Feeling disrespected or undervalued (the salary offer)
Forgetting the next step of the process
Unimpressed with the hours, benefits, work setting, etc.
Not seeing room for growth
High turnover rates in the workplace make them feel insecure
Leaving a toxic work environment
This isn't an all-inclusive list of employee ghosting reasons. However, you can use this to identify potential issues in your workplace or hiring process. Not all ghosting scenarios are preventable, but some can be remedied.
What are examples of candidate and new employee ghosting?
There are several ways candidates and new hires ghost employers. Here's a look at the most common situations.
Not appearing for an interview
Your HR team finds 20 candidates per week. Yet, only three to five show up. This may happen for initial and subsequent interviews in the hiring process. And it occurs for both phone and in-person meetings.
Not showing up on day one
Maybe a candidate or two makes it through the entire hiring process and gets hired. They're placed on the schedule, but they don't show up. There's no notice or phone call after the event. And they're never to be heard from again.
Quitting without warning
Two-week notices are like a courtesy, and that's exactly how some employees treat it. They don't feel they owe it to their employer to give advance notice before leaving. So they just stop showing up. This may either be for a new job or other purposes.
Not responding to follow-ups after an interview
Just because you feel an interview went well doesn't mean the candidate feels the same way. This frequently happens, leaving the recruiter wondering why the candidate doesn't respond to their follow-up emails and calls.
Delivering poor-quality work before walking
This may happen if you're dealing with an employee with a contract. They'll purposely dole out subpar work to get let go on purpose. Others may have plans to quit soon and will begin to slack beforehand. It's not uncommon for absenteeism to become a problem as well. If this happens to you, then it's time to learn how to deal with an absent employee.
How do you stop employee ghosting?
Preventing candidate and employee ghosting is challenging, especially when it's not always clear when or why it'll happen. But there are measures you can take to reduce the odds of it occurring. Here are some tips to put to the test.
Build a talent community
Connecting with talent is something you should do proactively, not reactively. Take the time now (when you're not hiring) to reach out to people with skills you'll need in the future. By building relationships in advance, you'll have a group of talent to recruit from. And since there's already trust there, these candidates are less likely to ghost you.
Improve your onboarding process
Studies show 77% of candidates are willing to take 5% less than the expected salary if the employer makes a great impression during the hiring process.
This speaks volumes about the importance of the hiring and onboarding experience. Keep in mind that many new hires choose to stay or leave a role within the first three weeks. And 90% of employees will make this choice within the first six months.
So if your onboarding process is short-winded, then it's time to lengthen it. Some experts even say onboarding should be a year-long process. And that by turning it into a strategic process, it can improve employee retention. Your onboarding should last longer and include:
Mix of time-based and self-paced training (so it doesn't overwhelm)
Dedicated buddy or mentor to ensure success and to answer questions
Simple communication and project management tools
Up-to-date training so workers can hit the ground running
Performance tracking and regular reviews to guide and show appreciation (monthly or quarterly)
Keeping employees engaged will lower the odds of them ghosting you. Especially, if you're offering guidance and recognizing their achievements.
As a recruiter, you don't want to make promises you can't keep. For instance, saying you'll refer a candidate to specific openings. The best way to approach recruiting is to under-promise and over-deliver. This way, candidates will show gratitude by hopefully sticking around long-term.
Prepare an escape plan
If you're worried about employee ghosting, then enter into the recruitment process with that in mind. Have a plan that addresses the possibility of it happening. For instance, you can have a reply-by-date for candidates. If they don't show, then you know to move on. This prevents your recruiters from wasting too much time chasing disinterested candidates.
Look for warning signs from employees
Sometimes, if you pay close attention, you'll see red flags pointing to possible ghosting. There are clues employees leave indicating they're about to quit. For instance, their quality of work and effort may decrease. Or they avoid discussing long-term projects. They may even miss days of work more frequently.
If you notice commitment and productivity issues, then talk to the worker to see what's going on. It may be something happening at home, or it could be dissatisfaction at work. If absenteeism is an issue, then check out our absence management guide.
Offer incentives based on seniority
Give employees a reason to stay with your company by offering incentives. One option is to over regular pay raises or perks for employee anniversaries. Or for reaching milestones and accomplishments. It's also a good idea to incentivize employees to send a two-week notice before quitting. For example, you can allow them to cash in unused vacation or PTO days. Or you can offer other benefits.
Decrease the odds of employee ghosting
There's no demographic that's more likely to ghost than others. It can happen with any race, gender, and age group. So don't believe the hype that young adults are the main culprits of worker ghosting. But with these tips and insights in mind, you're better prepared to take this head-on.
If you'd like to learn more, then check out "How to Prevent Employee Ghosting and Ghosting in the Workplace with Deputy."
- Employee retention
Employee Retention: Best Practices, Examples, & Definition
Retaining employees is just as important as keeping your customers. When your workers consistently leave, it reduces productivity and can even hurt morale. Just think — if everyone around your new employee keeps quitting, they might second-guess their position there. Worse, low retention hurt your business's culture and even hurt your bottom line.
Unfortunately, this is a growing concern for employers, especially amid the pandemic. One report shows 33% of millennials today are thinking about finding new jobs after the pandemic. And 91% of millennials expect to stay less than three years with the same employer.
So if you fail to entice workers, they're less likely to stay long-term. And this will end up costing you. One study shows the average employee exit costs 33% of their annual salary. But what can you do to stop this dilemma in your workplace?.
First, you need to understand why retaining employees should matter to your organization.
What is employee retention and why is it important?
Employee retention is a strategy employers use to keep workers in their company long-term. Measuring staff retention rates help companies determine whether their methods are working. When there's a high turnover rate, it signals an issue in the workplace or the recruitment process.
So why is employee retention essential to businesses? The top reason — it saves you money. Each time you lose a worker, you have to spend money to replace them. This includes expenses for recruiters, conducting interviews, onboarding, and training.
When a company struggles to retain its workers, it leads to numerous problems, including:
Loss of revenue
Finding a replacement can be challenging, especially when the talent is rare or in high demand. In some cases, it can take eight months for a worker to reach their full potential. And it can take a year or two for a new hire to match the productivity levels of the worker who left.
What are the top reasons employees quit?
Understanding why employees are leaving your organization is key to eliminating the issue. There are a variety of factors that can play a role in a worker's departure. But we put together a list of the top reasons why employees leave:
Salary and benefits. If the pay is too low and benefits are lacking, then it could deter workers from sticking around.
Feeling burned out. Overworking your employees is never a good idea. It hurts their productivity levels, and it can diminish their loyalty and commitment to your company.
Limited opportunities for advancement. Many employees are itching to move up the "corporate ladder." If you don't present opportunities to do so, then they'll view their role there as a dead-end.
Poor work-life balance. If the lines of work and home are consistently blurred (i.e., emailing and calling after-hours), it can make it difficult for employees to turn off and enjoy life outside of work.
Lack of recognition. A lot of employees work hard for their employers. If you're not showing appreciation for their efforts, then they'll feel you don't value them.
Boredom. It's possible for work to become a bit boring, especially if it consists of mundane, tedious tasks. Or if there are no opportunities to work on projects that expand their skills and talents.
Poor relationships with management. Some managers get a bad rap for being overbearing, unempathetic, and unavailable. These can all hurt employee-manager relationships. As some say — people don't quit their job, they quit the boss.
Concerns about the company's future. If the organization feels like it's on shaky grounds, then it may make workers feel uneasy about staying. This can happen when there's talk about the company's financial health or direction.
Poor company culture. Toxic workplaces make it difficult for employees to commit long-term. This includes micro-managing bosses, bullying co-workers, and office politics.
Examine your workplace to see if you notice any of these problems. Sometimes, these things can go unnoticed by the higher-ups. So make it easy for employees to report issues within the workplace.
What are the main drivers of employee retention?
Can you guess one of the main drivers of employee retention? If you thought salary — think again. It's a common misconception that the more you offer an employee, the happier they'll be (and the longer they'll stay). But a healthy paycheck isn't enough to keep today's talent around.
If you want to appeal to millennials and Gen Z, then you want to focus on learning and development. One report shows 94% of employees say they'd stay with a company longer if it invested in helping them learn.
And 27% of Gen Z and millennials say the top reason for quitting a job is lack of learning and growth.
Other reasons employees stick with employers include:
Believes in the vision and mission
Excited about the work and challenges
Career growth and development opportunities
Fair pay and incentives
Working with great co-workers and management
Supportive team leaders
Quick tip: Survey your long-time employees to learn why they're with your company. This will give you insights into how to improve the workplace so others will want to stay longer too.
How do you retain employees?
Retaining employees is easier when you understand why they're leaving. So before you delve into developing an employee retention plan or implementing retention strategies, examine your workplace.
You can use surveys for your current workers and even attempt to ask those who've quit why they left. You may find a recurring theme, such as not offering regular pay raises. Or maybe certain managers are overbearing and need replacing or training.
So before you move on, make sure to get to the bottom of the "why" behind your employee retention issues.
What is an employee retention plan?
An employee retention plan is a program employers use to reduce turnover rates. To develop a worker retention plan, you should conduct an in-depth evaluation of your organization.
Here are several steps to take before implementing employee-retaining strategies:
Calculate your employee turnover rate
Examine your leadership (survey workers to see the sentiment for each manager)
Analyze your benefits, salary, and pay increase schedules (maybe it's time for improvements)
Evaluate your work environment (is it time for a makeover with fewer walls and open spaces?)
Go over policies to see if work-life balances are out of whack (do managers message workers after-hours?)
Your company culture plays a major role in employee satisfaction. Call a meeting to develop a culture that resonates with what your company represents.
For instance, do you want to cultivate growth? Or maybe you want to create an open and collaborative workforce. Whatever the goal, design your strategy with those things in mind.
7 employee retention strategies to try today
So you're dealing with poor employee retention, what do you do? Here's a list of worker retention strategies to implement within your organization.
1. Offer competitive salary and benefits
It's not a top priority for millennials and Gen Z, but it's also not a deal-breaker. No one turns down a position or leaves a company solely because the salary is too high or benefits are too great.
They leave for a variety of other reasons.
Offering great compensation plans shows you value your workers, which is always a great first impression. It's also worthwhile setting up regular performance reviews and pay raises. This will give your company a competitive edge (and prevent workers from leaving for better pay).
2. Improve your hiring process
There are two ways you can enhance your hiring process:
Be precise about the type of employees you want to hire, so your recruiters will weed out those that aren't the right fit.
Extend employee onboarding, so they're trained longer and can hit the ground running.
It's also good to be honest with a new hire before bringing them on board. So don't sugarcoat their tasks and role. When you do that, they're more likely to leave when they see it's tougher or less desirable than what you lead on.
The goal is to hire workers that are a good fit for and desire the roles you're trying to fill. Unfortunately, 35% of hiring decision-makers expect more workers to quit over the next 12 months.
Why? Likely, because they knew the people they hired weren't the best match. Or had warning signs of being quitters.
3. Alleviate employee pain points
What's causing employees to quit in your organization? If you conduct a survey, you may find a trend of pain points. For instance, in the airline industry, there's a shortage of pilots due to onerous schedules. They spend a lot of time in the air, in hotels, and around strangers.
This isn't appealing to someone who has a family or dislikes being away from home all the time. In turn, more airlines are offering higher salaries. They could also change the way they schedule pilots, so it's more family-friendly. By allowing pilots to be home every night, it can entice more people to become an airline pilot.
You can do the same in your organization. Find ways to ease or even eliminate frustrations.
4. Offer ongoing training and paths to advancement
Let's not forget about one of the top priorities of today's young workforce — education. Consider offering workshops, seminars, and courses to elevate their skills. Then be sure to promote from within, so there's a clear path to advanced positions.
This will help employees envision a future within your organization. You can leverage the knowledge of team leaders and SMEs (subject matter experts) to head the training lessons. Assigning mentors to workers can also strengthen bonds within the workplace.
5. Leverage technology to streamline work
No employee wants to spend hours on tedious, mundane tasks. With the right technologies, you can delegate these duties to software. It's a win-win — your workers will appreciate it and it'll help improve productivity levels.
You can find tools to enhance the management of projects, time, customer relationships, sales, and databases.
6. Offer flexible work schedules
Allowing employees flexibility over when and how they work can promote better work-life balance. It also makes them more productive, since they're choosing when and where they work.
Not everyone's cut out to sit at a desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some perform better at night. Others are most productive working in chunks or time blocks throughout the day.
It's difficult to accommodate everyone in the workplace. So enable your workers to telecommute several days each week or choose their own work hours and days.
7. Incorporate a recognition and rewards system
Recognizing the hard work your employees put in makes it worthwhile. This is especially true when there's a reward involved. Now, this doesn't have to be anything expensive — instead, you can send a handwritten note or card.
Or gift a personalized basket of wine, treats, or other items. If you have conversations with your workers, you can learn more about them. This will make it easier to find the perfect gift.
Ideally, you want to acknowledge large and small accomplishments. Again, you can keep it simple. Send an email showing gratitude for their achievements.
Sometimes, it's the small things that matter most.
Stop losing employees for preventable reasons
It's not possible to retain 100% of your employees all the time. But this doesn't mean you can't find ways to reduce the turnover in your workplace. With these tips, you can begin turning the tide and retaining more employees.
It's also helpful when you have the right tools and processes in place to improve work-life in your organization. For instance, you can use Deputy to streamline the scheduling process.
This is helpful if you're planning to adopt a more flexible schedule. Or even if you just want a better way to manage current schedules. With our platform, you can reduce frustration for everyone — the managers in charge of organizing shifts and the shift workers.
If you'd like to learn more, then check out how Deputy can help lower your turnover rate on our blog.
- Exempt from FLSA
What does it mean to be exempt from FLSA?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has made two distinctions between a company or organization’s employees: exempt and non-exempt. Non-exempt employees must record their hours worked each workweek and must be paid overtime wages in an amount of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all hours over 40 in a workweek.
Most non-exempt employees are paid by the hour, but some are paid a salary, or via other methods such as piece rates, commissions, or a combination of payment methods. Although some employers require exempt employees to track their hours worked, many do not. An exempt employee is not paid overtime wages for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
To be considered exempt from FLSA, an employee must be paid on a salary basis and must have exempt job duties.
Salary Basis: A salary basis means that the employee receives a predetermined salary regardless of the number of hours they work. As of January 1, 2020, the FLSA salary threshold is $36,568 per year (or $684 per week). The FLSA rules allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary threshold.
Exempt Job Duties: For an employee to be considered exempt under the FLSA, their job duties must also be exempt duties. This analysis is referred to as the "duties test." Exempt jobs under the FLSA generally fall into five main categories, but there are several other miscellaneous exemptions. The five primary exemptions are executive, administrative, professional, computer, and outside sales employees. The employee's primary job duties for each category are summarized below:
Executive: To be exempt, an executive's primary job duty must be the management of the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise. The employee must also customarily and regularly supervise at least two full-time employees or their equivalent and the employee must have authority to hire and fire employees (or their suggestions are given particular weight).
Administrative: To be exempt, an administrative employee's primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer's customers, and the employee must exercise discretion and independent judgment with regard to matters of significance.
Professional: To be exempt, a professional employee's primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning and the advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized study.
Computer Employee: To be exempt, a computer employee must be employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer, or other similar skilled worked in the computer field, and their primary duty must consist of (1) the application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, (2) the design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems and programs based on and related to user or system design specifications, (3) the design, documentation, testing, creation, or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems, or (4) a combination of these duties.
Outside Sales Employee: To be exempt, an outside sales employee must have a primary duty of making sales or obtaining orders or contracts for services, and the employee must be customarily and regularly engaged away from the employer's place of business.
The body of legislation known as the FLSA for two reasons: to protect a company or organization’s employees from being required to work extensive hours and not adequately compensated for their time, and to discourage employers from overworking their current employees and as an incentive to hire additional employees. In essence, the FLSA’s purpose was to either dissuade long work hours for those currently employed and more job opportunities for those unemployed or provide higher income for employees.
- Fixed schedules
Fixed Schedule: Advantages, Disadvantages & Definition
What do successful companies have in common? Stellar organization, punctuality, and healthy productivity levels. So how do ensure your business remains on top?
It all begins with your scheduling process.
Schedules align workers, promotes accountability, and ensures timely task completion. But not all schedules are created equal. For instance, you can design schedules that are flexible, rotating, on-call, split shifts, part-time, full-time, or fixed.
Some managers choose to use a mix of scheduling types, while others stick to only one. The most common is the fixed schedule. Read on to learn more about what a fixed schedule is and why it's good — or bad — to use.
What is a fixed schedule?
A fixed schedule is a work schedule that has a fixed timetable for employees. It normally contains the same workdays and hours each day. Since it's unchanging, it's considered fixed. It's common for fixed schedules to remain the same for weeks or even months at a time.
These schedules are designed by management, who will come to an agreement with employees on the best days and times to operate. The type of business and industry will also determine the fixed schedule's timetable.
For instance, a grocery store may have its stocking and cleaning crew working overnight when customers aren't in the way.
Fixed work schedules are commonplace for several businesses. But to get a deeper understanding of why, check out these examples of fixed schedules.
What are examples of a fixed schedule?
In the US, the traditional fixed schedule is the 9-to-5 job. (Cue Dolly Parton’s song here.) This is typically the schedule arrangement for salaried workers and business professionals. In the past, it was difficult to cash a check, speak to a lawyer, or even talk to customer service reps after 5 p.m.
Over time, the schedules became more flexible to stay relevant among competitors that chose to stay open later.
Today, you can find fixed schedules all around the clock. This includes working 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Or even overnight from 11 p.m to 7 a.m.
Fixed schedules have the same hours and days each week. But not all professions have a Monday to Friday timetable. Some work Tuesday to Saturday or Sunday to Thursday. There are no specific days or hours, but it will remain at least 8 hours, five days per week for a full-time employee.
For example, a restaurant chef may come in daily at 11 a.m. and leave by 7 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. Yet, a registered nurse may be on a fixed schedule working only three days a week but on 12-hour shifts.
Part-time workers can also work on a fixed schedule. But their hours and days will fall beneath the 40-hour workweek. For instance, they may work eight hours per day, 3 days per week. Or five days a week for only four hours per day.
There is a myriad of ways to formulate a fixed schedule. For example, the hours can vary day-to-day but remain consistent week-by-week. This may look something like this:
Monday - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesday - 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Wednesday - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday - 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday - 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Each week, the employee works the same hours and days. Again, it depends on the needs of the business and its customer base. Some organizations will extend their office hours to accommodate customers who work later. This gives them time to call or visit after work.
What are the advantages of fixed schedules?
Not sure if using a fixed schedule is ideal for your workplace? Then it's time to explore some of the benefits of using one. Here's a quick overview of the reasons some businesses opt for fixed schedules:
Easier for workers and their superiors to coordinate duties (i.e., teams that must collaborate on a project or task).
Managers can instruct and track the performance of employees working the same shift.
Scheduling and holding team meetings and training sessions is easier when schedules are consistent and coordinated.
Productivity increases since schedules are consistent, allowing employees to focus on project deadlines, company goals, and team initiatives.
Operational costs reduce since the company doesn't have to accommodate employees after regular office hours (i.e. 5 p.m.).
Communication is convenient since everyone's working the same hours.
Relationships between peers and superiors improve due to shared hours and workspaces.
No worry of employees going off the grid or procrastinating due to a flexible, inconsistent schedule.
Issues are addressed immediately since team leaders are present.
Create a healthy work-life balance since employees know which days they have off each week.
Overtime pay is available to employees who work past their scheduled time.
Match unbalanced workloads to the best employees (i.e., night shift has lighter workload and needs unique skills, so specific workers are assigned to it).
Many employees like fixed shifts and being able to choose the days and hours (if multiple shifts are available) they want to work.
This isn't an all-conclusive list of benefits of fixed schedules. But it paints a general picture of what you can expect if you go this route. Next, let's see some of the pitfalls fixed schedules may cause.
What are the disadvantages of fixed schedules?
Fixed schedules aren't flexible. This makes it susceptible to issues with making much-needed changes at a moment's notice. Here's a look at the downsides of operating with fixed schedules:
Reduces time employees can spend doing other essential things, like running important errands, taking courses, and focusing on personal growth/development.
Tardiness and absenteeism become a problem, especially when there are inconveniences like bad weather and heavy traffic.
Inconvenient for potential new hires who prefer a more flexible schedule.
Restricts some employees who may have an emergency or circumstance that affects their productivity and punctuality.
Tough to recruit workers that desire a flexible schedule.
Businesses can become segregated when there are multiple shifts. Crews may become independent, which can negatively affect productivity, quality, and performance.
Problems with traffic, especially if work hours are traditional (i.e., 5 o'clock rush hour).
Wasted hours when employees finish early but still have to stay on the clock until their schedule ends.
Employee dissatisfaction is one of the top concerns with fixed schedules. When there are multiple shift options, it's common for new employees to get the least desirable shift. You can avoid this by paying workers 10% to 15% more for those shifts.
How to decide if fixed scheduling is right for your business
It's time to decide whether a fixed schedule is ideal for your company. There are several areas you want to review when choosing, such as:
Your customer base
Let's start with the first. The industry you work in will be the first indicator of whether a fixed schedule is ideal. For example, if you're in the legal or finance industry, then it's typical to operate only during the day.
That's because your clients don't need their services after hours or overnight. However, if you're in the food business, it's ideal to be open later and on weekends. People tend to shop for groceries after work and order takeout or dine out on Friday and Saturday nights.
Then finally, your employees will play a role in the scheduling. For instance, you may have workers with families who may not be available to work overnight. Or students who need work hours to accommodate their school schedules.
How to simplify creating fixed schedules
Feel like fixed scheduling is the right move for your organization? Then using software will simplify creating and managing employee shifts. Deputy is a leading employee scheduling tool. It's designed to speed up the scheduling process using automation and collaboration.
Managers use Deputy to schedule the right workers, at the right times, across various roles and locations. The schedules are also accessible to teams, so everyone knows where and when to show up each week.
The platform shows real-time data on wages and sales to ensure you're within budget each quarter. Thanks to its labor demand forecasts, you can design schedules without overspending on wage costs. Keeping track of timesheets is entirely digital.
Want to see how Deputy takes the time and frustration out of planning employees' fixed schedules? Then start your free trial today.
- Flexible schedules
Flexible Schedule: Definition & What You Need to Know
Flexible work schedules. It's an idea that used to only exist for remote workers. It was the luxury of fields like digital marketing, content writing, and even accounting. But now, it's becoming commonplace in traditional workplaces.
Companies across various industries are seeing value in offering workers a flexible work schedule. But what does a flexible work schedule look like? And how do you know it's right for your business? Let's find out.
What is a flexible schedule?
A flexible work schedule enables workers to choose their own schedules and work-life balance. The goal is to create a flexible workplace that caters to different lifestyles. And it can work in both full-time and part-time scenarios.
Under a flexible schedule, workers decide what hours they work each day and week (and even where they work). For example, an employee with children may choose to work evenings on the weekend when there's no school. And during the day on weekdays when there is school.
Another worker may choose to work from home in the evenings three days out of the week. And then come into the office in the morning two days a week.
What are flexible work schedule examples?
Flexible work schedules vary based on the industry, role, and employee. For instance, a customer service rep with kids may want to split up their day around their availability. So if they work part-time remotely, they might work Monday-Thursday, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., take a long break, and work again from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Then they’ll pick up the rest of their hours on Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
An employee that decides to work in the office may choose to work a four-day work week (10 hours per day). And another may opt to work in the office 12 hours per day, three days per week.
There are many ways you can design a flex schedule. For example, you can have employees:
Work remotely part-time
Work remotely full-time
Split work hours into blocks throughout the day (like the above example)
Work every day for a few hours or lots of hours a few days a week
Work in the office full-time but on different days and hours each week
Come in and leave whenever you choose (as long as tasks are completed on time)
Flex work schedules also work for non-employees. For instance, you can have teams that are contractors doing gig or temporary work.
Why flexible schedules are important
The idea of adopting flexible schedules may seem intimidating, especially if you've only operated under traditional office hours (Mon-Fri, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). But allowing employees to have freedom over when and where they work comes with benefits.
Here's a brief overview of why allowing flexible work options is essential.
Increases employee retention
Businesses with happy employees thrive the best. It becomes easier to retain workers, and productivity levels soar. For example, one study shows happy workers are 13% more productive.
And one way to make your employees happier is to offer flex work schedules. A 2018 survey found 80% of American workers prefer jobs with flexible schedules. And some are even willing to reduce their pay by 8% in exchange for flexible work options. Flex schedules also help workers sleep better, feel healthier, and have less stress than 9-to-5 workers.
Overlook this, and it could potentially hurt your organization. Roughly 30% of employees admitted to leaving a company for another that offered flexible work options. So you can risk ignoring it.
Attracts top talent to your company
When you're hiring new employees, you want to find the best of the best. But this is challenging when you have competitors snatching up all the great talent.
One tactic employers use is offering incentives that matter to employees. Like flexible work options. And this is growing exponentially — already, 83% of American businesses have or are planning to adopt a flexible workspace policy.
So if you want to stand out to top talent, then offering flexible work hours is critical.
Boosts your productivity levels
We already touched on how flex work options can make your workforce happier. And with happy employees comes higher productivity. But how does flexible work impact productivity levels?
Well, there's evidence that remote workers (on average) work almost one and a half more days each month compared to their in-office counterparts. That's nearly 18 more workdays per year. It appears that employees with more autonomy over their schedules tend to work longer hours (regardless of their job type).
There's also the distraction factor — in-office employees tend to have 37 minutes worth of interruptions per day. Compare this with the 27 minutes of distractions at-home workers face daily.
It also refocuses your manager’s attention on what matters most — outcome instead of output. This creates a culture where employees work harder to deliver results instead of worrying about how many hours they sit at a desk.
The proof's in the numbers — a two-year study proved remote employees work 4.4% more productive than in-office workers.
Enhances employee engagement
Imagine a workplace where everyone participated and took accountability for projects and tasks. It's a managers' dream. But to get here, you need a system that promotes higher employee engagement.
How does a flexible work schedule play into this?
Well, it's all about workplace culture. Time and time again, we see workers more motivated to work when they're given leeway. For example, look at the unlimited vacation policy. At one point, employers were afraid workers would abuse the rule. And as it turns out, companies that implement this claim most employees rarely take time off (not a good thing, but it proves the point).
It's almost like reverse psychology. You give employees autonomy to choose when, where, and how they work. And they'll strive to create the ultimate setup, which increases their determination and productivity.
When you have engaged employees, they're less likely to miss days of work, show up late, or quit. This translates to lower turnover rates and higher career longevity. Having staff for a long time increases their institutional knowledge, which is always a plus for promoting from within.
Reduces overhead costs
Flexible work options offer cost-savings on both sides:
Employers can reduce spend on office space and supplies. One report shows employers can save $11,000 per half-time telecommuter annually.
Workers can also cut costs on gas, transportation, work clothing, and lunch expenses.
Then as a bonus, it reduces the company's carbon footprint, which is another way to improve your brand's image (and attract customers and top talent).
How do I create a flexible work schedule?
Adopting flexible work schedules is a win-win because it enables your employees to choose their most productive times. But how do you organize it, so things continue to run optimally? Here are several things to keep in mind:
Communicate expectations. Set clear goals to keep your staff productive and working cohesively towards a common purpose.
Use communication tools. When you have a mix of in-office and remote workers, it's critical to have tools that promote teamwork and communication.
Adopt project management tools. Tracking everyone's progress ensures tasks get done on time (and keeps team members accountable).
Offer training and support. Having a robust training plan will make it easier to get new hires onboard. Encourage them to ask questions and have team leaders available to offer support.
Track time. Not to dominate when people work, but to ensure no one's getting burnt out. Preventing burnout is still vital, especially knowing employees with flex schedules tend to overwork.
You'll also need to determine what type of flexible work options you want to offer:
Flextime. Allows workers to choose when they work each week (based on personal needs), as long as it reaches a weekly or daily number of hours.
Compressed workweek. Enables employees to work a standard 40-hour workweek but in fewer days (i.e., 4 days a week, 10 hours per day).
Shift work. Allows your business to operate 24/7 by assigning day and night shifts to workers (works well when you have global teams).
Part-time. Allows employees to select their hours and days for workweeks demanding less than 40 hours.
Job-sharing. Uses two employees to perform the tasks of a single full-time position. The responsibilities are divided between both.
Once you have everything in place, you'll need reliable software to manage flexible work scheduling. Deputy is a platform HR managers use to create all sorts of schedules within minutes. Once you have your flex schedule created, you can share it instantly with your team. Then if someone calls in sick (or requests time off via the app), it's seamless to find a replacement.
Deputy is also a time-tracking tool, which is useful to manage productivity (and keep burnout in check). It's a platform designed to keep your team organized and engaged, all in a single app.
Our platform even integrates with systems like ADP, QuickBooks, and BambooHR (to name a few).
If you'd like to get started creating flexible work options for your teams, then give Deputy a try today.
- Leave request
What is a leave request?
A leave request is the specific opportunity and formal process within a workplace for an employee to inquire about set PTO (paid time off) with management approval. Important personal commitments, such as health, family, and travel matters, are common to all employees and call for this process of negotiating a leave of absence.
An official process usually includes a formal written leave request/leave of absence by an employee to a supervisor/manager. A sufficiently detailed request is needed to explain to a superior the situation and to aid the company’s HR department in their own processes concerning employee policy, etc. The employee must provide detailed information about the situation involving the leave request and specify their expected leave and return dates. This request is best preceded by a quick formal discussion with their superiors in which the employee can reference back to within their request, as the request is usually approved or denied by their superiors. They usually also determine whether the leave period will be paid or unpaid for the employee.
Many digital workforce management solutions offer employees the option to send this request in a less formal matter directly to their superiors. These solutions allow for an easier and quicker process for both the employer and employee; time-consuming paperwork and long processes are replaced with quick, direct notifications and a centralized location for all data/details in order for it to be referenced back to if needed. A manager can be directly notified of a new leave request and is able to quickly approve or deny it via the platform, immediately notifying the employee of the decision.
Pertaining to more serious and/or long-term matters of employee leave, the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires employers to allow employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for certain conditions including childbirth, adoption/foster care matters, immediate family member care, or personal medical care.
- Open shifts
What are open shifts?
Open shifts are work shifts that have not been filled or assigned to a worker. Notifications of open shifts help align an organization’s labor needs with demand so as to minimize incidences of understaffing while giving workers more flexibility.
Demand for open-shift scheduling has grown as more organizations realize that set schedules simply don’t work for them. The approach is also strongly employee-driven, letting staff chose shifts that align best with their schedules, all within a collaborative company-wide framework.
But while an open-shift style might be a better option, it can be more time-consuming than other types of scheduling, while also introducing uncertainty. The more open shifts a business has, the higher the risk of not having the right number of staff needed to properly service its customers.
One way to get around this is to create a surplus of shifts over and above what is required to do the job. Many organizations with open shifts use staff agencies to fill the shifts. Other organizations ask the shifts to be filled with their current staff by sending out notifications to full-time and part-time qualified staff and team members that the positions are available for them to accept for work. The key is that the team members that see notifications of the open shifts are qualified for the shift that is taken and management knows customers are properly serviced.
- Overtime expenses
What are overtime expenses?
Overtime is work performed by an employee outside of a basic workday (typically 8 hours a day, 5 days a week) or as defined by company rules, job contract, statute, or union (collective) agreement. For employers, Overtime represents additional costs. However, many companies fail to properly understand the full range of these additional costs.
Depending on the industry and workforce agreements, they can include wage increases (for example, overtime penalty rates 1.5 times for hours worked above 40 hours and 2 times over 60 hours), retirement costs and employment taxes. These are hard costs that can be measured on a balance sheet. However, there are soft costs as well. Studies have shown that employees can become less productive the more hours they work. So, while most companies will factor in the additional ‘hard’ wages costs associated with overtime, research shows that few factors in the additional soft costs, and therefore have poor visibility as to their impact on the business.
- Salaried employee
What does it mean to be a salaried employee?
Salaried employees are employees that are paid a fixed or set amount of money each year. They may be paid weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Salary employees are often referred to as “exempt employees.” For example, their compensation plan may read as ‘$45,000 per year.’
There are upsides and downsides to being a salaried employee and a lot of it have to do with your employer. Some salary employees are forced to work long hours into the evenings and even weekends to complete their work. It is not unusual for a salaried employee to log well over 45 hours per week, and even 10 to 12 hours a day or more during busy periods.
An hourly employee may find this beneficial as it increases their paycheck. However, the salaried employee is bringing home the same amount each week, month, and year according to their agreed salary.
There are of course several benefits to being a salaried employee. They have a consistent dependable paycheck each period which leads to a better sense of security in the position.
The salaried employee has been an important topic of discussion lately as the labor laws governing them are set to change on December 1st 2016. As it currently stands, any salaried employee making $23,660 per year is not awarded overtime in any circumstances, regardless of how many hours they work each day, week, or month.
The threshold will now increase to $47,476 per year. Any employee not making $47,476 annually will be considered non-exempt and qualify for overtime compensation. This law applies to all businesses large and small.
Employers will be faced with two options come December. First, increase your employee's salary to $47,476 or you must begin tracking the time of salary employees and pay overtime to employees working more than 40 hours per week.
- Seasonal employee
What are seasonal employees?
Seasonal employees are employees hired into a position for the short term. They are mostly part-time or temporary workers that help out with increased work demands or seasonal work that arise in different industries. Seasonal employees typically work no more than 35 hours in most states and/or less than six months out of the year. Some examples of seasonal employees include lifeguards who work at the beach during the summer, or ski resort hires to work each winter during the ski season.
While most seasonal employees work between 30-35 hours a week, there is no rule on how much or little they can work. If they are truly seasonal and work six months or less during the season, there are no penalties if you do not offer them insurance.
Employers can use the “lookback measurement” method to benefit from seasonal employee rules. Within this approach, employees are classified as seasonal, variable, part-time, or full-time. The employer must be able to prove that their employees are classified per category. Past classifications are used to “bucket” current employees. If there is no method in place for employers to measure and document seasonal employees, employers must offer coverage to avoid penalties from the IRS.
- Workplace absenteeism
Workplace Absenteeism: What is it?
It happens with even your best employees. They call in sick or request paid time off due to an emergency. It's unpredictable and impossible to prevent.
And that’s alright as long as it doesn’t get out of control. But what do you do when absences turn into absenteeism? If you don’t get it in check early, it could potentially hurt your organization in several ways.
For example, did you know absenteeism in the U.S. is costing companies billions per year? Workplace absenteeism statistics show unplanned absences tie up 8.7% of payroll costs. Research on absenteeism in the workplace also shows an astounding $84 billion loss in productivity due to employee no-shows.
If you’re dealing with absenteeism or would like to prevent it, then continue reading to learn more.
What is absenteeism in the workplace?
Not all absences are considered absenteeism. Absenteeism occurs when an employee is scheduled to come in, doesn't show up...and repeatedly does this without good cause. This is known as an unplanned (and unexcused) absence.
Then there are planned absences, such as when a worker calls in or submits a request for time off to handle a personal matter. This doesn't count as absenteeism.
With absenteeism, you're dealing with workers that unexpectedly don't show up for extended periods. For example, a worker may be absent for several days in a row. Or will repeatedly miss work each month.
This can add up quickly throughout the year, hurting your business's productivity and finances.
What is excessive absenteeism for employees?
Excessive absenteeism is when a particular employee or group of employees fails to show up to work repeatedly. They don't provide a good reason (or no reason at all).
But what's considered excessive? Is it one day a week? Or several days every other month?
Unfortunately, there's no formal rule on how many absences it takes to be deemed excessive. One way to identify an unreasonable amount of absenteeism is to look at the effect it's having on your organization.
Review how often unexcused absences occur per employee.
Is the current number of absences hurting the morale, finances, and productivity of your workplace? If so, then it's time to do something and fast. Next, let's review why absenteeism happens and what you can do about it.
What are the major causes of absenteeism at work (and how to overcome them)?
Understanding the why behind absenteeism in your company will enable you to take steps to minimize it. Of course, there are some problems you can't stop, such as illness, injuries, and family emergencies.
So instead, we're going to focus on common problems you can proactively target to reduce absenteeism.
Low employee engagement (and morale)
When employees feel disengaged at work, they're more likely to feel disconnected. And when this happens, their motivation reduces, making them less committed to their role. According to Gallup's research on absenteeism in the workplace, companies with engaged workers witness 41% less employee absenteeism.
So what can you do to improve morale and engagement? It depends on the root of the problem. Let's review some possible quick fixes:
Promote a better work-life balance by allowing more vacations/PTO or PT remote work.
Give more recognition and appreciation in the form of hand-written cards, award ceremonies, and bonuses.
Get workers involved in projects and delegate tasks to instill autonomy.
Bullying from other workers or management
The reality is bullying follows many of us throughout life — even into the workplace. When this happens, it makes working dreadful. So much so, workers are willing to lose pay because of it.
Numbers show workplace bullying is on the rise. In 2008, 75% of employees admitted to being targeted or a witness to bullying in the workplace. And as of 2019, this has increased to 94%.
Unfortunately, workers tend to suffer in silence due to a lack of support. Some may not feel like they will get results if they complain. So to reduce instances of harassment, you can create an anonymous system.
This way, employees can complain without being known. If you see multiple complaints about the same individuals, then there may be something there. Investigate each incident to ensure no one abuses the system.
Just be sure to establish a zero-tolerance harassment and bullying rule, so problems are nipped in the bud.
Mental health or substance abuse issues
It's not always possible to look at someone and tell who has a mental illness or substance abuse issue. So it could be an underlying problem with your organization.
Mental illnesses come in various forms, including depression, stress, and anxiety. Numbers show 94% of American employees experience stress at work. There are also issues with alcoholism and substance abuse.
Workplace absentee statistics reveal:
Depression costs companies $51 billion due to absenteeism (and $26 billion in treatment).
Workers who take sick days because of mental health problems are 7x more likely to have additional absences than workers with physical health issues.
Alcohol and drug use causes absenteeism that costs businesses between $437 million and $1.2 billion annually.
Stress causes roughly one million workers to miss work every day.
This is quite concerning, particularly if it's occurring in your company. If so, here are some things you can do to help:
Educate your workforce about mental health and substance abuse.
Promote wellbeing (sleeping, resting, exercise, and balancing work and life).
Offer behavioral healthcare and substance abuse treatment.
Burnout from overworking
Here's where a positive work-life balance culture will come in handy. If you're not already focused on building a workplace that promotes this, then you risk burning out your employees.
This is especially an issue in the hustle and grind culture we live in. Many people have a hard time turning off after work, especially when they operate remotely or are consistently attached to their mobile devices.
Burnout is so common that it's now considered a medical diagnosis by the World Health Organization. According to a survey by Gallup, 75% of employees suffer from the condition (even amid the pandemic). In fact, 37% stated they are working longer hours than normal since COVID.
It's even led to more workers developing mental issues — workers are 3x more likely to report poor mental health now than before the pandemic. For example, depression increased by 102% for workers experiencing burnout.
Fortunately, there are ways employers can overcome this issue. Here are several ideas:
Enforce vacation time (vs. making it optional)
Create an unlimited vacation policy
Manage workloads efficiently to prevent overload
Outsource mundane tasks so workers can focus on less-tedious, meaningful work
Inhibit managers from sending communications after-hours
Develop a four-day or reduced workweek (34% of workers prefer this)
Lack of childcare
Family comes first. It's an ideal that should be shared by everyone, including managers in the workplace. Unfortunately, workers are frequently placed in a position to choose between work and taking care of their children.
And when push comes to shove, family always wins. This is a growing concern, especially since the pandemic.
Back in 2018, 45% of parent workers said they missed work because of childcare breakdowns. This panned out to around 4.3 days of missed work every six months. And as a result, families are losing nearly $29 billion in wages.
After COVID hit, this issue amplified. Roughly 80% of remote workers are planning to also provide childcare during the 2020-2021 academic year. The problem is most employers don't offer support. As of 2019, only 4% of employers provided subsidized child care programs to workers and around 11% referred child care services.
This presents an opportunity for your organization to fix this problem by either offering onsite child care services or subsidizing the costs for employees with families.
How to talk to an employee about excessive absenteeism
There's an employee or two (or three) in your workplace that's flagged for (excessive) absenteeism. What do you do?
The first step is to talk with the individual(s) to see what's going on. Don't make assumptions — ask about their absences and why they keep happening. Be friendly and show concern, so they're more likely to open up. This is especially essential if they're dealing with an uncomfortable situation, such as alcoholism or mental illness.
See if you can get to the bottom of the issue to see how you can help. With this approach, your workers will be more proactive in coming to you when they run into a problem with childcare, bullying, or mental health concerns.
Then if you see a pattern across the organization, maybe it's time to implement a program. For instance, if you have a lot of workers with young children missing work, then offering child care assistance is a good idea. Run a poll to see what type of support employees would like to see in the workplace. Sometimes, this will identify potential issues that can lead to problems in the future.
The key to resolving absenteeism isn't always about firing "bad" workers. Being proactive, empathetic, and helpful is sometimes all it takes to improve workplace productivity.
If you'd like to make your workplace more engaged, then it’s time to learn how to prevent attendance issues in the workplace with Deputy.
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