Study shows more employees value schedule flexibility

LIVONIA–The workforce management software developers WorkForce Software, has released the findings of its third annual Global Employee Experience Study. This research comes at a time when organizations are demonstrating executive focus on staff retention, recruiting, and employee efficiency, all amid highly competitive labor markets and an urgent need to realize a return on investment for their business transformation initiatives.

Over the last three years, WorkForce Software’s Global EX Study findings have shown clear gaps in employee and employer perceptions of employers’ ability to deliver capabilities that create a good employee experience. In the first WorkForce Software Global EX Study in 2021, the perception gap between how well employees viewed the quality of their experience and employers’ views of the same categories were dramatically different—as much as 44% on the category of pay structure. Since then, the gap in perceptions has shrunk dramatically with identical views by employers and employees on the value of communications.

This increasing alignment in perception demonstrates that employers and employees now view these fundamental experience elements with similar degrees of importance. Likewise, the results indicate significant growth in the importance of these elements for employees. For instance, the overall percentage of employees who recognize the importance of flexible scheduling has increased by twenty-five points over just the past three years, with most employees (77%) agreeing this is an important element of employee experience.

While gaps between perceptions are shrinking, action is still needed.

The positive study finding that managers are more conscious of the experience of their frontline employees doesn’t offset that there is considerable work to do to solve problems faced by deskless workers. The 2023 findings show that the challenges underlying the experience gap remain – with more than two in five (43%) employees not feeling valued by their employer, and more than a third (35%) believing their employer does not recognize their contributions to the business.

This, combined with the fact that many deskless or front-line employees are not given scheduling flexibility, can’t easily access training, and are not offered tools to enable simple digital communications, is perpetuating significant employee dissatisfaction. In fact, more than half (54%) of employees said they are open to leaving their place of work in the next six months, and one in five (20%) are unlikely to recommend their place of work to a friend or family member.

To combat this dissatisfaction and disengagement, the key areas to focus on are:

Offer scheduling flexibility and autonomy: Employers recognize schedule flexibility as important but lack modern workforce management technology solutions that enable shift swapping, adequate planning, and adaptability for personal circumstances:

  • The majority (74%) of dissatisfied employees express a strong desire to work for an employer who offers scheduling flexibility, and more than half (54%) are willing to leave to find an employer who will.
  • More than half (52%) of employees still rely on outdated practices like paper timesheets and manual shift-swapping requests via email, text, or simply asking a manager or co-worker to swap, and 55% can’t swap shifts with other employees at all.
  • Almost three in five (58%) employees don’t receive their schedule more than a week in advance. Meanwhile, more than a third (36%) of employees still need to contact their managers via email, SMS, or messaging platforms to obtain schedule information in the first place.

Provide easy access to training: Investing in the development of your frontline staff not only enhances their capabilities, but it also nurtures their intrinsic desire to contribute, innovate, and excel:

  • More than two in five (44%) employees don’t agree that their company provides adequate training opportunities.
  • The majority (74%) of dissatisfied employees would prefer to work for an employer that provides easy access to training.
  • Three in five (60%) employees would prefer to access training through a mobile device, but only 19% have access to this option.

“Keeping employees engaged to avoid losing valuable talent is of paramount importance right now,” said Mike Morini, CEO of WorkForce Software. “The cost of doing nothing, including the negative impact on productivity, talent acquisition, and retention, far outweighs the investment needed to adequately support, upskill, and empower deskless employees. The technology to provide greater flexibility for disparate workforces is readily available today, so taking action to remove the barriers to better employee experiences should begin immediately. There is really no reason why any employee can’t view their shift schedule and make changes, contact their manager, or complete relevant training digitally in 2023.”

View the third annual WorkForce Software 2023 Global EX Study here. This global workforce survey, conducted by Pollfish on behalf of WorkForce Software, was completed by 1,684 employees and 1,701 employers from a wide range of industries across seven global regions. The survey was composed of 28 distinct questions, both open-ended and single selection.

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