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How Today’s Work Schedules are Outdated and Could Be Hurting Your Employee Retention Rates

In a recent NPR story that ran in March 2010, the question of modern-day work schedules was brought into the limelight. Not only are they outdated, say the experts, but they do not promote a healthy work-family-life balance for U.S. workers. The result: Poor employee retention rates (and high costs for repeated employment background screening and criminal background check services). Here are some of the ill-effects of the modern day work schedule and some suggestions for overcoming the ravages of high employee turnover.
 
1960 Schedules are Out
 
According to sociologist Phyllis Moen of the University of Minnesota, our country’s labor laws are tailored to another time, another era in fact. The idea that a workweek should include 40 hours and consist of a 9-to-5 schedule is outdated. They “were all codified in an era when men went off to an assembly line and women stayed home.” Today’s modern family now consists of many dual-income households where both mom and dad are working full time jobs.
 
Flexible Schedules = Lower Turnover
 
The statistics don’t lie; companies that offer a more flexible working schedule to include later start times, earlier ending times, and telecommuting are more likely to keep their workers. In one of the personal stories featured in the NPR piece, Katie, a company owner, has kept an amazing 95% retention rate wither staff over the last 16 years. The numbers are proof positive that companies who offer flexibility are more likely to have happy workers who stay.
 
Follow-Through is Key
 
Research indicates that though flex-time schedules and telecommuting hours are welcomed by employees, and even put into employee work contracts, many times their immediate supervisors aren’t as generous in real life. It is extremely important, therefore, for Human Resources staff to be sure to convey to department managers and supervisors that their attitudes are everything. Though some companies may seem flexible on paper, the actions of their managers dictate how fully these policies are enforced.
 
Generational Shifts in Work Balance
 
Lisa Horn of the Society for Human Resource Management commented on this NPR story. She states, “When you talk about Gen-X or Gen-Y or the millennials, they've taught us that we can't necessarily say work-family balance." She goes on to explain that many young adults in these generations are waiting longer to have children, but still desire the schedule flexibility allowed to parents who work.
 
Ways to Improve Employee Retention Right Now
 
·         Understand that people are no longer satisfied with the rigid work hours expected of our parents’ generation.
·         Allow for telecommuting from home for a set number of days per week or hours per day.
·         Have an open office layout that encourages communication and creativity amongst workers, not isolation in cubicles.
·         Be open to offering part-time work to older employees due to their skill levels and experience they bring to the table. They will likely require less hours of work per week with flexible schedules.
 
No matter what the age or marital status of your employees, flexibility on the job is becoming more of a reality if companies wish to retain their employees. Many companies are now switching to flexible schedules to avoid the high cost of unnecessarily high use of criminal background check and employment background screening services due to high turnover. Isn’t it time your company “got with the times” and did the same?

 

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