How to Handle Shift Trades EffectivelyUsing Findmyshift to make shift trades a stress-free breeze

Some managers and small business owners are understandably nervous about the concept of shift trades.

Handled poorly, shift trades can be a recipe for disaster, with missed shifts, redundant employees, skill gaps, confusion, and a mountainous workload for managers all among the possibilities.

However, when handled well, shift trading can actually be an asset for your business. With that in mind, we’ve looked into how shift trading can help your business and what you can do to ensure it runs smoothly.

Preach the benefits of allowing shift trades

The first step to a successful shift trade implementation has to come from the top. Managerial buy-in is key and, since managers don’t want to sign up for the chaos of poorly-handled shift trades, it’s important for them to understand the benefits.

Shift trades aren’t a tool by which employees will mess a business around. They’re a concession to the fact that employees have lives outside of work. They’re a show of trust in employees. And they can lead to greater productivity, and thus profit, for your company.

Allowing employees the option to trade shifts shows that you care about them as people and are willing to make compromises to keep them happy. It also avoids issues common in sectors like retail where employees simply won’t show up for inconvenient shifts.

Understand the skills you need for your shifts

A key consideration when deciding whether to allow a trade or not is an understanding of the skills your business needs for any given shift. If your company has different areas or specialisations that need covering, you need to know what you need where and which employees can handle those areas.

Create a clear policy

That said, we’re not about to suggest that you simply give your employees free reign to swap and trade shifts however they like. Having a clear process in place will ensure that employees respect the business just as you’ve respected them.

With rules and guidelines to follow around when and how shifts can be traded, businesses ensure that they aren’t left short-staffed by last minute changes and still have managerial oversight of the decisions being made.

Managers and employees alike should be clear on when shift schedules will be published, how much notice is needed to trade a shift, and how managerial approval will be handled—including the considerations for whether a trade will be sanctioned or not.

Putting this policy in writing is an easy way to avoid confusion and ensure everyone is on the same page, avoiding awkward situations where it’s simply one person’s word against another’s because nothing has been written down.

Publish your rota early

In order to give employees time to evaluate the shifts they’ve been assigned and find the time to seek out trades if needed, you should aim to publish your rota as far in advance as you can.

Using an online solution that sends notifications to employees when trades are scheduled or approved can also help keep everyone in the loop and avoid issues with miscommunication.

Additionally, allowing remote access to a rota makes it easier for employees to review their shifts in settings where they’ve a better ideas of their other commitments, like when they’re at home.

Encourage employees to request changes

This might sound like asking for trouble, but when smart shift scheduling solutions like Findmyshift make it easy to manage an up-to-date schedule across all managers and employees, it’s nothing to be scared of.

If employees have the agency to organise their own shift trades, their colleagues may be more likely to agree to help them out than if they think they’re just trading to cover for management.

Maintain oversight

Even if you give your employees a lot of freedom in terms of requesting shift trades, it’s still important to ensure that you have a top-level view of your rota and are responsible for approving trades.

This will help avoid issues like lacking certain skillsets or levels of seniority, understaffed periods or overlapping shifts, and excessive overtime. Findmyshift makes it easy for managers to see and approve or deny potential shift trades.

With a clear policy and a flexible system in place, your business can reap the rewards of valuing your employees and handling shift trades with ease.

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