Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our benefits

Operating in the current business environment means increased scrutiny in day to day operations for companies. Publicly traded companies face stronger and more invasive regulations, while smaller privately held companies are relying on rotating credit lines and are facing similar scrutiny from their lenders. Financial institutions are now mandating their clients to submit full and complete financial statements regarding their financial health.
A key measure of a company’s “health” is keeping tabs on their profits versus their expenses. How does one bridge between the need to be frugal and the need to modernize the workplace so the continuation of the business will remain at the front rather than linger behind? One solution is renting software rather than buying it. If you imagine that the software is a rental car, the benefits become easier to understand. There’s no need for regular maintenance, you eliminate routine checkup costs, and the model you get will always be new.
An immediate benefit is the ability to save money. Lower upfront costs and tacit understanding that if the product is like a rental car and doesn’t run well, you can return it to the company. Few businesses today have no use for software in their workplace. Even an artisanal bell maker will find that computerizing their contact list and having easy access to email will be very helpful.
Businesses that are running on a shift schedule module are another type of business that is increasingly using software where it saw little use for it before. Even though such businesses benefit from the introduction of technology, as it allows for better and closer contact with employees, they are often faced with changing variants. This can turn a well-planned schedule into a confusing arrow chart filled with crossed out names and arrows leading nowhere.
If the ensuing phone calls, constant pleading, and continuous changes to the schedule sound familiar, you could benefit from learning about EZShift and its solution to employee scheduling. The combination of human factors along with the needs of a company and the external legal requirements, can make the seemingly simple task of planning a schedule for a three-shift workplace both taxing and daunting.
The ability to utilize employees based on their needed skills and qualifications has become an imperative factor when scheduling employees to work, resulting in an optimal schedule when specified in scheduling software such as EZShift.  Other factors taken into consideration by employee scheduling software such as legal requirements can include rest periods, breaks between shifts, and overtime work hours.
Another element that is taken into consideration in the calculations for assessing companies is the ability to retain employees over an extended period of time. Retaining a trained workforce extends to more than their contributions on the work floor. Expertise produces knowledge gained over time, knowledge that is very valuable and hard to measure. In addition, the cost of training new workers consists of more than spending money on a name tag, and often requires the time and goodwill of senior employees.
An additional important factor that is often overlooked is employee satisfaction. An article published by the Research Center for Group Dynamics University of Michigan in 2006, aptly titled “Need Satisfactions and Employee Turnover,” correlates between the needs of the employees and their satisfaction. A key point made in the article is that: “certain personal needs supplied by a person’s place of employment has a significant direct relationship to his continuing to work for that company.”
A common complaint made by employees performing shift work during exit interviews is the rigidity of the system to accommodate for greater flexibility. The inability to bridge between employee needs and employer’s demands can frequently create a momentum whereby at the end of the dialogue, the employee leaves or is fired. Such a finite solution serves neither side. Instead of finding shifts that better accommodate the employee to the best ability of the company, the company loses a trained employee and the worker is left feeling that the company was inflexible and unhelpful.
Better approaches bridge the gap by merging the company’s needs along with employee needs. With this exact idea in mind, EZShift software allows employees to input their preferences and availabilities, and at the same time automatically places employees into shifts. However, this is not performed without the close monitoring by the designated task person creating the schedules.
An example of this approach is allowing employees to block off times when they aren’t available under certain preset conditions such as a limit to days off, or mandating certain shits such as evenings or mornings. Similar benefits for employees can be the ability to swap shifts with other employees or benefit from shifts that are a better fit for that employee. While seemingly simple and easy, such moves create a dynamic system that doesn’t only feel fair to employees but also allows them to better manage their own schedules. When people feel that they are looked after and are rewarded for their work, results mean a higher morale and a better employee work performance.
The results of satisfied workers are almost immeasurable, yet strongly felt. Employees greeting customers with a genuine smile on their face or staying five minutes longer to finish a task are a treasure for employers. Any business attracting customers for their quality of goods and services can measure the benefits, but the actual advantages can be greater over time as word of mouth creates its own dynamics. Business analysts will often take note of a company that is able to maintain a well-trained set of employees over an extended period of time, equating employee stability with a well-run and secured company.

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