CHICAGO -- When asking operators about how they discourage employees from calling off their shifts in the 11th hour, the most common response is, “I wish I had an answer for you.” To dig up some solutions to that perplexing question, CSP Daily News reached out to retailers and foodservice operators—some of whom said what’s good for no-shows is also good for recruiting and turnover overall.
Here are some strategies that are helping to ease operator’s staffing headaches ...
1. Promote flexibility
To help team members strike a better work-life balance and create more consistency around scheduling, Kum & Go recently rolled out lifestyle scheduling. Rather than reacting to a schedule, the chain’s employees are encouraged to plan their shifts around their lives, Director of Operations Jon Renaud told CSP Daily News. To help the process run smoothly, the chain of 408 c-stores based in West Des Moines, Iowa, ensures that schedules are posted well in advance.
2. Address bad blood
Letting rivalries fester could be another reason staff are not showing up for their shifts. “We try to be conscious of conflicts among team members and work to quickly address and resolve them so associates aren’t calling in to avoid working with certain associates,” Renaud said.
4. Invest in tools
P.J.W. Restaurant Group in Pennsylvania uses scheduling software that allows employees to quickly swap shifts with real-time manager approval. “It’s helped reduce the stress on opening managers, because they know what’s going on,” said Chris Webb, director of operations for the group. Webb says that the app helps workers take charge of their own schedules, especially younger employees and those that may otherwise be too timid to ask for scheduling changes. “Flexibility is the key to managing millennials,” he said.
5. Be upfront
After 38 years in the restaurant industry, Soulman’s Bar-B-Que COO Randall McGee said he’s learned to let recruits know about scheduling practices early in the interview process. McGee has mandated that hiring managers explain the policies in the first interview. The chain also posts its schedules a week in advance to give employees enough time to make changes. “The biggest thing we have found is to always have open lines of communication,” he said. “We understand that things are going to happen, so we let them know that we are flexible if they give us notice.”
Soulman’s staff members are required to phone three hours ahead of their shifts if they cannot make it in to work. That gives managers enough time to fill the shifts with a list of employees who want extra hours. The list is updated every two weeks to maintain a current catalog. “It helps prevent that scramble,” McGee said. After adopting several policies to avert last-minute call-offs, Soulman’s also saw 30% less turnover across its system of 15 units in Texas.