If your company operates around the clock, you have undoubtedly had this experience: A new hire undergoes training, begins working the night shift and quits three months later.
The departing worker will often blame the shift schedule for conflicting with family responsibilities, an inability to sleep properly during the day, and other reasons.
Turnover is nearly three times higher at shiftwork operations than at plants that operate strictly during daytime hours. (Related Article:Taking on the Night)
Not only is it a headache for supervisors to lose good employees, it’s also a financial drain on a company. Circadian 24/7 Workforce Solutions estimates that the cost of replacing one employee, including recruitment and training costs, may exceed $24,000.
Circadian notes that about 80 percent of companies have no programs in place to reduce shiftwork-related job turnover, by helping workers adapt to shift schedules, get sufficient sleep and maintain a positive work-life balance.
It recommends the following best practices to reduce turnover:
1. Provide shiftwork lifestyle training to new hires. Circadian says companies often don’t think twice about spending thousands of dollars to train a worker to operate complex machinery, but often fail to spend even a small amount of money on shiftwork-specific training. Safety Talk: Adjusting to Shiftwork
2. Actively involve employees in the shift schedule selection method. The best shiftwork schedule is the one most employees want to work. A schedule loved by workers at one plant may be detested by workers at another plant. When workers feel they own the schedule and have input into whether they work eight or 12-hour shifts and how often they rotate, they are far less likely to quit.
3. Carefully monitor overtime rates to ensure they don’t climb above 20 percent. When rates exceed 20 percent, Circadian says morale and productivity slip, while absenteeism and turnover rates spike, particularly when overtime is mandatory rather than voluntary. High overtime levels may signal a need for hiring additional workers. Study: Overtime costs far exceed wages
4. Periodically increase workers’ salaries. A higher hourly wage is associated with a decrease in turnover rates.