Wednesday, 27 May 2015

I'm having a Bad, Bad Day

When you do a round robin at the last minute, trying to get somebody to come in and cover for an absent colleague, it ruins everybody's' day!
It ruins your day! I mean, who wants to call up people on their day off and ask them for a favour. It makes you look unprofessional and disorganised. It gives people leverage to use against you. "I was there for you last week when you needed someone at the last minute. So now I need Next Saturday off!"
It ruins the day of everybody you call too! They are off work, the last thing they want to think about or be reminded of is work, and you are calling them on their day off! There is the guilt of not being able to work the shift. What does that mean? Will it affect their pay, will it affect any promotion? How do you see them now because they turned you down? They were at home, happy. Now they are a wreck, angry at you for disturbing them yet afraid of the consequences!
And then there is the person who is willing to work on their day off at short notice. They thought they had a day off, now they are working. What does that mean for them, are they the saviour of the team, they stood up and did the work when nobody else would? Or are they the person who is taking all the overtime?
So you bit the bullet and covered this absence. Well done! What about next time? Who do you call? What is the order? Do you call the person who did it last time first because they are more likely to do it again? Does this open you up to bias and bullying allegations? Is this a fair system?
However sometimes you will fail. There will be no one willing to cover that Saturday Night shift. So what then. Does that mean that you have to go in and cover it. Or will the rest of the shift be forced to take up the slack. You will be working with one less person, so everyone will be over worked and stressed. But also you will fail to meet your deadlines and have falling profits.

This is not the Answer!

A round robin is an emergency measure. It is not a day to day tool to cover for absences. Emergency measures are expensive, they are to cover that 100 year flood, they are not there to be used every day. And if you are covering absence with a round robin, it will be an everyday event. Then what does that say to your shift workers? It says their time is not their own! It says that I can and will call you up every day, no day is a day off!

Positive Absence Cover

There is an alternative! You can have a fair, unbiased system that gives you peace of mind and your employees privacy. You employ an Absence Cover Arrangement. You can't stop people being ill, it is as investable as taxes. So a good manager plans for it.
The first step is to understand the scale of the problem. Your absence rate will tell you how often you will need to cover an absence and from this you can calculate how much you should budget for. My book Understanding Your Absence Rate available from Amazon will tell you how to convert your absence rate into the expected number off shift.
The second step is to have a cover arrangement for every contingency. So what do you do if one person is off? What do you do if two people are off etc.
The third step is your budget. There is no point in creating an absence cover arrangement if half way through the year you run out of money. So what is achievable and what is not? How much will it cost you to go short? When can you go short and when do you need a replacement?
The fourth step is to understand the tools at your disposal. The Round Robin is one. But not the best and definitely not for everyday use. So you can use cover shifts, extra staff on each shift, Banked Hours overtime, TOIL, flexible shifts and even combinations of these.
The fifth step is implementation. If you did all of your planning correctly then you will be covered for every contingency. But you don't want to be called at four in the morning because someone called in sick, you need to delegate. You need to have a system that will allow your staff to report in sick, then the procedure is followed so that the correct person comes in to cover.
The sixth step is recording and monitoring. Once you have your system in place, you then just need to monitor what happens and record the absences, and cover arrangements. To help you do this our software VisualrotaX will record all absences and allow you to keep track of everyone's hours, cover shifts and Banked Hours.

You can also view our video Proactive Absence Management Tips

We are currently working on a new e-book Positive Absence Management, due to be released later this year. This e-book will tell you what tools are available for you to use to cover your absences. Then it will take you through step by step how to implement them. However if you need help before then please email us or call us on +44 1636 816466

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