Blog Article:
The “strongest” employees control shift planning

Article written by Thomas Aagaard,
Head of Business Development at PDC.

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Business development manager of workforce management solutions


Companies often depend on a flexible workforce. This can, for example, be in situations where shifts are difficult to occupy – either because they are called in at short notice or because the shifts are at “awkward” hours of the day. Here, it is important with employees who offer themselves when it is really required. At the same time, it is an important task for the shift planner to create relationships with the employees and have insight into who you can draw on, whose “turn” it is and when you may have to push a little.

Mutual Flexibility

However, the planner’s interpersonal skills must be backed by IT, which supports the process of balancing the needs of the company and the employees. It benefits the working environment when offered shifts can be covered by volunteering. Likewise, when employees know that management is focused on mutual flexibility, it helps to “go the extra mile” when the need arises.

Otherwise, the planner may end up in a powerful role, where popular and unpopular shifts, time off, holidays etc. are determined by a single person. The risk is that it will be the strongest employees who manage the plan. Good shifts are assigned to those who are “popular” while new or “weak” employees are given the shifts that are left over. Unequal and informal planning processes are detrimental to the work environment, employee retention and ultimately the company’s finances.

Fair Planning

Fortunately, this does not have to be the case. IT systems within shift planning support that employees can easily be involved in shift planning. Plans are drawn up with a fair distribution of “good” and “bad” shifts. Employees can swap shifts with each other; they have a complete overview of their shifts and tasks during the day. They can communicate directly with the manager, planner, and colleagues.

However, IT systems do not change the fact that shift planning can be a complex task, which requires insight into key parts of the business, knowledge of social relationships, knowledge of agreements, empathy, decision-making and the ability to say “no” when many want to have time off at the same time.

Good planners ensure balance. They are happy to help their colleagues fulfill on-call requests while at the same time ensuring staffing to meet the company’s needs.

Thomas Aagard,
Head of Business Development

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