You can plan ahead and use the best online employee attendance system on the market. However, some employees are still unable to work their assigned shifts.
As a result, you can either bring a temp, send an alert to employees about the available hours, or allow employees to swap shifts. More companies are opting for the latter to give employees options for when they may want to work extra hours.
Still, unless this is handled properly, an employee shift trade can cause problems. On one hand, getting coverage is a good thing because managers are not spending time trying to find someone to take the shift.
On the other hand, it can leave a department in disarray if the employee who accepted the trade fails to show up – or decides to take off on their regular workday.
How to Handle Shift Swaps Effectively
Generally, an employee wanting to find coverage for a day he or she needs off is a good thing for the department. However, swapping shifts can lead to conflicts and confusion if not handled properly.
Here are a few tips that can make trading shifts an effective part of your organization.
Develop a Shift Trading Policy
A policy on the procedures for trading shifts will help to clear up any misunderstandings among employees. Included in the policy should be rules for when schedules can be posted and how long an employee has to request the open shift.
In addition, the policy should clearly state that shifts cannot be traded without the direct manager’s consent. With an online scheduler, this is built into the system. Employees may request certain hours, but those hours are not added to their profile without being approved.
Still, a written policy reinforces this rule and keeps everyone on the same page. You want employees to feel empowered, especially if they are being responsible and offering someone their hours, which helps to ensure productivity levels do not dip.
While self-service options offer this freedom, employees should not have complete control over the attendance scheduling system. Managers need to know who is covering shifts to avoid cost overruns with too much overtime.
Another reason managers should give the final approval on a shift trade is to ensure the employee has the same skillsets the employee originally scheduled for that shift. Otherwise, the mix match of skills will impact other employees working that same day.
Use an Online Scheduler
Handling shift trades become easier when you have an electronic time and attendance system. Functions are automated to save time between an employee posting their shift, someone requesting it and the manager approving or rejecting the request.
Employees do not have to call or email you and wait for a response before making a swap request. The automated system sends managers an alert notification as soon as the employee clicks “send.”
Additionally, employees can send requests from anywhere – online or a mobile phone app so managers can immediately view the request. Whether remotely or in-house, the schedule is updated and sent to all employees once a manager approves or denies the request.
No one is left to ponder about whether the shift was taken or when they are scheduled to work.
Avoid Overlapping Shifts
Managers must be in charge to look out for overlapping shifts. For example, employee A is scheduled to work from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and wants to trade with employee Z, who works the 3:00 pm to 12:00 am shift. If approved, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm will be unattended.
This is also a clear example of why employees should not be able to handle shift swaps without a manager’s approval. Managers must pay attention to every detail to manage shift trades effectively.
An online employee scheduling system will catch such conflicts and alert managers to the situation before chaos and confusion settles.
Effective Management of Shift Trades Work for Everyone
Managing the way employees can trade shifts can work for everyone in the department and organization. In many ways, employees and managers become partners in making sure all shifts are adequately covered.
While there may be occasions when a shift is left open, this system ensures very few go unmanned. Managers have less pressure to find someone who can fill an open shift when employees are free to request the time on their own.
Filling open shifts with employees of equal skill helps managers prevent a void. Employees have freedom to help in managing their schedules, which can boost morale.
Additionally, a shift trade policy may lead to fewer sick days when employees are not stressed about being able to take time off.