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ResourceMFG | Manufacturing Workforce Specialists
7 scheduling insights from the VBCW survey

In just about every industry, employees today are understandably pushing for a better work-life balance, and that is particularly true of blue-collar workers. In fact, the latest Voice of the Blue-Collar Worker survey from EmployBridge was heavily focused on their preferences around pay and scheduling, and there are plenty of lessons for manufacturing managers to take away from the findings.

The following issues related to scheduling may all be highly important when it comes to attracting and retaining talent in the manufacturing sector going forward, because many of them are increasingly an expectation, rather than a perk:

1) More time off is important

Nearly 73% of the workers surveyed said that they would trade an extra $1 per hour on their salaries for an additional five days off throughout the year. The math is simple: Five days off for an employee making even $20 an hour costs your company $800. But an extra $1 per hour costs more than $2,000 spread out over a year. This should be an easy switch to make.

2) Flexibility is key

Of course, not all PTO days are the same, and the majority of reasons for taking them were sick days or personal/family emergencies. As such, you might want to think about creating a catch-all reason for PTO, rather than asking employees to delineate, for example, two weeks of vacation, five sick days and five family leave days.

3) Don't switch shifts without notice or a reason

Most people choose their initial shifts because they like working those hours, and if you force them to change, they may be upset with the decision. While two-thirds of respondents said they would be willing to switch shifts, they also said it would take more money for them to do so; in this year's poll, the average pay increase required to get them to work the second or third shift was almost $1.50 per hour.

4) More time off encourages better attendance

If punctuality and attendance is an issue for your factory, consider this: If you incentivize people to show up by allowing them to earn extra time off, they'll be more likely to show up. This was cited as the single best way to encourage perfect attendance by 1 in every 3 respondents.

5) Give them options to work their 40 hours

Some employees are happy with a standard 9-to-5 job. Others might prefer to switch to four days on, three days off and work 10 hours per day they're on duty. Giving them that option can help increase your scheduling flexibility and employee satisfaction.

6) A parent/student shift can help

Many people want to work full-time jobs but don't necessarily have the option to do so because of childcare obligations or are at school during the day. If you introduce shorter shifts either during school hours (for parents) or after school (for students), you might be able to connect with more segments of the population.

7) Scheduling is almost as important as pay for young people

When adults between the ages of 18 and 25 were asked what mattered the most to them during a job search, the No. 1 answer was pay. A close second was shift and schedule. That beat out job security and whether they enjoyed the work.

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