With businesses embracing 24/7 work schedules to meet the increasing market demands, many companies rely on shift workers to fill the gaps. Shift work is typical in the transportation, construction, hospitality and healthcare sectors. Regular work hours run between 7 A.M and 6 P.M; any job outside the stipulated work hours is shift work. Most shifts take place from early in the morning, evening hours and at night.
Shift workers’ schedules rotate around the clock, which means employees may work regular day shifts for weeks before switching to night shifts. While scheduling employees for different shifts will grow your business and make it more competitive, it can backfire if the employees are unmotivated. First shift workers may be productive, efficient, and motivated, but the energy may dissipate by the second and third shifts. However, with a little effort, you can carry over the attitude and positivity of traditional shifts to non-traditional work hours.
As the New Year takes shape with new goals for your business, you need ways to ensure your employees remain motivated in all work shifts and maintain their productivity levels.
1. Add Incentives
Most companies need to shift workers to keep up with their increasing demands. With more money flowing in, it is logical to solve the motivation issue with incentives. Give non-traditional shift workers a reason to show up for work. You can introduce higher wages for night shift employees or introduce extra benefits for working overtime. The salary difference must not be extreme but should be sufficient to quell discontent.
Apart from a pay rise, it would help if you had other benefits to make-up for the employees’ lifestyle alteration to suit the work routine. Shift workers usually have to reschedule family and social commitments to work. Therefore, you should treat them as valuable resources to retain their talents. Some benefits include paid vacations, bonuses and regular time-off to keep them motivated. Also, take care of the employees’ health through competitive health insurance covers.
2. Get the Right Employees
Keeping shift workers motivated is easier when you have the right employees. Some shift workers do not thrive in shift work routines and prefer regular working hours. However, other employees embrace working evenings and night shifts for personal reasons. If an employee dislikes working a particular shift, motivating them can be a challenge. They will be counting the days to the next shift rotation, which means productivity will drop significantly. Therefore, during recruitment, identify an employee’s preferred shift and switch workers in the wrong shift as soon as possible. Ensuring everyone is on their desired shift boosts employee happiness, which translates to work productivity.
3. Create a Welcoming Environment
The work environment is an essential aspect of employee motivation. A disorganised workspace with poor aesthetics often trickles downs to unmotivated and distracted shift workers. Therefore, your company should make an effort to create an aesthetically pleasing work area with a harmonious design to reduce frustration during shifts. You can design a private break room for employees to store personal effects and relax in between shifts. Ensure you decorate the room with pizazz and have the necessary amenities for the employees. The break room will give employees personal space to catch their breath before hitting the floor re-energised and refreshed. You should also ensure the existing technologies and organisational systems are suitable for the job and do not waste their time. Even a simple bulletin board with past company photos of employees can go a long way in reminding the employees that their time is valuable.
4. Emphasise Work-Life Balance and Flexibility
As an employer, your flexibility and prompt response to employee scheduling issues will determine the level of cooperation you receive from your staff. Employees will focus on work if they can fit a school drop-off into the workday or call home in case of an emergency. How can you improve your shift workers’ work-life balance? You can create a transparent process for tracking vacation days, overtime and shift schedules. Employee rostering software provides the right tools for employees to track work hours and request flex time with minimal effort. It also offers better employee time management for individuals balancing numerous priorities.
5. Recognise a Job Well Done
Tip your hat whenever an employee performs remarkably well in a project. It will motivate others to be proactive and shows your appreciation of the role they play. A congratulatory message from a superior plays a significant role in workplace motivation. Research shows that constant feedback from employers improves workplace motivation and keeps them engaged. Shift workers can feel they are toiling alone or that employers do not acknowledge their efforts. To ensure you appreciate each employee, you can create an elaborate incentive programme based on performance. You can also recognise the best-performing workers company-wide by announcing employee of the month in each department. You can also drop by an employee’s desk and thank them in person for their excellent work.
6. Avoid Frequent Shift Changes
Shift workers have to sacrifice numerous personal and family commitments to come to work. Therefore, if you change the shifts regularly, it will be nearly impossible for them to strike a work-life balance. If workers do not get sufficient time for their families, it reduces productivity and their focus on work. Inconsistent work schedules can also lead to depression and an unmotivated workforce. While employees must rotate shifts from time to time, it should be after a month. Besides, you should ensure the shift changes are predictable and rolled-up in time to allow workers to plan. For instance, you can rotate the day shift to the afternoon shift before the night shift for workers to adjust to the new schedules. It is also vital to change the shift duration according to workload. For instance, intense mental work and physical labour require shorter shifts.
7. Make Shift Workers Feel Part of the Company
In most companies, executive departments work the traditional 9 to 5 work hours. Therefore, most night shift workers do not meet them. Shift workers may feel separated or isolated from essential company functions like accounting and human resources. The isolation breeds decreased employee morale and motivation. You can overcome the separation by building a sense of community among all employees. Ensure there is a flow of communication to all shift employees regarding the happenings in the company. For instance, if there is an end year party, all shift workers should receive an invite. You can also organise a get-together session or team-building activities to boost interaction among workers in different shifts. If there is a meeting during the day, ensure you share the proceedings and important announcements via work emails and internal communication networks.
8. Put Adequate Safety Measures in Place
Shift workers in manufacturing industries expose employees to accidents. Night shift can pose various risks since the employees are working odd hours, and any negligence can be risky. To avoid material damage and protect employees’ health, you can ensure adequate protection and safety measures are in place. For instance, supervisors should ascertain that all shift workers have the right personal protective equipment. The work environment must have adequate lighting, air circulation and appropriate decibels of noise. A secure workspace will minimise the occurrence of accidents and motivate employees to show up for their shifts.
Shift workers requires immense dedication, commitment and motivation. Hence, companies have to ensure employees have the right motivation and support system to efficiently perform their duties. A little inspiration and encouragement will go a long way in improving productivity and achieving company targets.