For managers, shift swapping (or shift trading) between workers can be stressful and cause chaos in the workplace. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Life can be made easier by implementing shift swapping policies and procedures. When workers know how to navigate a company’s shift swapping rules, they’ll be happier and managers will be less frustrated.
Some challenges from shift swapping
Payroll challenges: Workers don’t often realize that they’re switching shifts with a staff member that gets paid more than them. This results in extra payroll expenses and makes it more difficult for managers to control their payroll dollars.
Service/production challenges: When workers swap shifts with staff that have less experience than them, quality may go down and staff may have to work more hours to complete the job. This can also increase the payroll.
Communication challenges: This can happen between staff and management or between the staff members that swapped, which causes confusion and may hurt productivity.
Accountability challenges: If work was performed poorly or staff didn’t show up for a shift, it’s difficult for managers to know how to solve the issue if nothing was documented.
How to better manage shift swapping
Schedule employee shifts in advance
By scheduling employees’ shifts well in advance, they can know sooner if they need to swap shifts or not. This will give managers plenty of time in advance to notice if an employee has switched their shift with someone that has a higher payroll than them.
Cities like San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City, and the states of Oregon and Vermont have already implemented predictive scheduling laws that require employers to post schedules in advance. So you’ll want to get caught up on those laws.
Allow swaps among workers with equal experience
By ensuring workers can only swap shifts with staff that has the same experience or more, managers can limit the chances that quality declines. Management should also consider if the people that are swapping have caps on the number of hours they can work, or if they’re close to accumulating overtime hours.
Create a shift swap policy
Having a shift swapping policy in place will keep employees from pushing the boundaries. Be clear about what they’re allowed to do and the consequences of not following policy.
A shift swapping policy should follow federal, state, and local statutes. Managers might want to consider including a deadline for when employees are allowed to swap shifts, as well as the approval process. This alone should solve most of your shift swapping problems.
Implement a shift swapping procedure
Make it clear to workers what the process is for submitting a shift swap request and how they are reviewed and approved by the manager. These forms should be documented in a location that is accessible to all managers.
Lastly, make use of a Scheduling Solution
A time and attendance solution with an integrated scheduling system can auto-schedule, schedule from templates, manage shift swapping and covering, and much more. There is also detailed reporting that allows the system to notify the management team when a shift swap needs to be addressed. Plus, managers can set restrictions on who can swap shifts, ensuring only workers with the same experience can switch.
Are you interested in a time and attendance solution with an integrated scheduling system to help manage shift swapping?