How to be an attractive employer 


3 forms of employee participation in scheduling

Attracting and keeping good, motivated employees is a major challenge many organizations face today. How can you ensure that your organization stands out from the competition, and keep your employees committed to the organization? Or to take it to the next level: how do you help them feel involved, free, and fit at work?

One way to achieve these goals is to ensure that the work schedule meets the employee’s individual needs and preferences. By involving them in the scheduling process, you can create opportunities for the employees to balance their work and private life better. Doing so contributes to higher rates of employee satisfaction, which in turn has positive effects on the quality of the work and the employees’ health.

Below is a list of three forms of employee participation in creating the work schedule. For organizations with complex schedules – shift work, or peaks and troughs in the work – these forms of scheduling often have an immediate positive effect on employee satisfaction:

1. Trading shifts via markets

One well-known way to involve employees in the work schedule is to set up ‘market places’ that allow them to trade shifts. This gives employees the opportunity to get the shifts that they would prefer to work, such as early or late shifts. Naturally, you can still have the last say to ensure that the schedule still covers the required number of working hours, staff qualifications, and the provisions of the CLA and the Working Hours Act.

2. Bidding on shifts

Another way is to allow employees to bid on shifts. This approach enables you to have the schedule fit the employees’ preferences because the employees can see which shifts are open, and then they can bid on their preferred shifts. The shifts are then assigned to the employees based on the input provided and transparent bidding rules. Bidding on shifts has two benefits. On the one hand, shift bidding has proven its worth in completing the schedule quickly, because the employees feel responsible to make sure all of the shifts are filled. On the other, it results in more satisfied employees, because they can achieve a better balance between their work and their private lives.

3. Self-scheduling

With self-scheduling, you involve your employees completely in the scheduling process. You give the staff the trust and freedom to compile their own schedules. There are also several different types of self-scheduling available.

One common type is self-scheduling in rounds. In the first round, you draw up your ideal schedule: the employees can schedule themselves for the available shifts. In the second round, the employees adjust their schedule to cover the less-popular shifts. During this round, employees can earn points in as a token of appreciation for their flexibility. The planner can then use these points in round three: the employees who have earned the most points have a greater chance that the planner will approve their preferred schedule.

This form of scheduling makes it possible to take a wide range of employee preferences into consideration when drawing up the schedule. If the organization has several different tasks that need to be done, then the employees can indicate which task they would like to perform, as long as they have the right qualifications. You can also allow employees to use ‘jokers’ on the days that they really need to take off.

Vital, data-driven schedules

Involving your employees in drawing up the work schedule ensures that the schedules contribute to mentally and physically fit employees, because the schedule takes the employees’ personal preferences into consideration. In order to achieve that, all of their desires and preferences need to be processed in an intelligent way, along with all of the rules and restrictions stipulated with regard to working hours, the CLA, regulations, and the right qualifications. An intelligent staff scheduling system that gives you access to powerful algorithms enables you to draw up the optimal schedule, based on all of the available data. Read more in the blog post ‘The two main ingredients for optimal workforce scheduling

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