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The market for hourly work has changed more in the last five years than it had in the prior 50. Unemployment is at historic lows. There are more hourly workforce options than ever. And with more millennials in the workforce, they’re making their preferences known. This means it’s an employee market, and employees want flexibility, stability, and control. But let’s face it: The predominant approaches to forecasting and scheduling weren’t created with this dynamic in mind. It’s time for change, for employers to give employees the schedules they want—and to give them real ownership over their schedules. For many companies, this calls for a real mindset shift. Because it’s not enough to pay lip service to the notion that you’re prioritizing employee preferences; you have to actually do it.

Historically, it’s store leaders and general managers who have been tasked with creating schedules. And because they’re so busy, it’s nearly impossible for them to effectively factor in employee preferences or think strategically about turnover because they are just focused on the weeks ahead. Up till now, it’s been all about the days and weeks right in front of you.

This is where the cultural transformation has to come in. Because to go from having the GM of the store figure everything out to bringing the employees into the process is admittedly a big change. But it pays off — creating greater efficiency, and better harmony. All in, according to Legion data, companies can save around $35,000 per location by taking this approach.

So how can we actually make that happen? In addition to cultural change, it will take technological change—but that one is already here, with the evolution of the fourth generation of workforce engagement software. Although employee and business needs are often perceived to be in conflict, Legion makes it possible for companies to give employees the power to control their own schedules and realize their preferences without compromising on business excellence, compliance, schedule gaps, and more. The truth is, employers can drive both labor efficiency and employee schedule satisfaction with a mindset shift—and the right software—that empowers employees, presenting a major opportunity.

Taking it a step further, employers using Legion can even provide qualified employees with targeted shift offers that they can choose at their discretion (especially during non-critical business hours), giving employees greater ownership and accountability. Legion data shows that providing options is better than assigning or telling people what to do. Additionally, survey results show that about 83% of people are more willing to stay in a job with improved schedule flexibility. Plus, it’s a great strategy for engaging with millennial employees and providing compelling options to your employees as an alternative to on-demand companies.

This flexibility also opens up the possibility for other employee-first approaches to scheduling that drive better business results, like creating more tiers than just the traditional full time and part-time. For example, some businesses already using Legion have developed a tier for employees who commit to 30 hours and receive benefits and one for employees to be on “reserve” when they are unable to give certain committed hours every week. Letting employees choose the tier that best fits their needs drives higher retention and culture.

The backbone for making things easier for both employees and employers already exists in Legion. Now, employers just need to be open to the idea and to relinquish some control. But if they’re willing to give it a try, they’ll see improvements in employee satisfaction, retention, and even efficiency. After all, the best way to give employees ownership over their schedules is to actually account for their preferences — so it’s not too far a leap to have them actively participate in the decision making.

 



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