The top four trends in workforce management that will impact 2016

By December 23, 2015Healthcare, Retail, Workforce
Workforce Trends 2016 Swift Shift

The top four trends in workforce management that will impact 2016

Shift-work sectors make up 40% of the workforce, including employees in retail, hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, customer service and administration positions. At Swift Shift we try to understand the changes in these shift-work sectors to make sure that our platform helps employees and their managers get more out of their jobs. Our goal is to help our customers have a better day at work and earn a bit more in the process.

As 2015 comes to an end it is a good time to reflect on the trends we saw in the last year. We can use these trends to predict what the world of shift work could look like in the future. Here’s what you can expect to see in 2016:

1. Flexible working is the norm and will stay the norm.
Flexible contracting is becoming the norm in healthcare, retail and hospitality. This means that employees receive little or no guaranteed hours while at the same time are often required to provide 40 hours of availability each week. The low guaranteed hours force employees to work in multiple jobs, creating a myriad of scheduling conflicts. For example, the provided availability does not always reflect the reality of an employee’s most up to date schedule. As a result, managers seek to have real visibility into the availability of their employees, in real time, making mobile, real-time scheduling software a necessity.

2. Minimum wage increases are widespread to rising cost of living
The 2008 economic crisis shifted the power from employees to employers who managed to increase flexibility and reduce wages. However after five years of growth the power is shifting back to the hands of employees who realize that it is hard to pay the bills even when they work 50 hours a week in 3 jobs. Minimum wages went up in 23 states and cities in the U.S. in the last year. The increase in minimum wage requires companies to think about more efficient ways to manage their workforce, while increasing their workforce’s productivity to be able to maintain the same profit margins as before. Consequently, there is a revival of a new kind of employee union. These new unions use the power of the internet and social media to organise employees. We can expect in 2016 to continue and see more employees organizing themselves online, further increases in minimum wages and an increase in use of technology that reduces the overheads to make up for the increase in direct labour costs.

3. The on-demand economy is competing with the traditional economy
If you had enough of shift-work at the local supermarket or care home, there are a seemingly endless list of new jobs that have been created by the on-demand economy. You can drive for Uber, drive your scooter around town and park people’s cars, take home improvement or cleaning jobs from home services apps and sites, or deliver groceries or food for the many emerging food delivery services. The on-demand economy has the potential to become a serious competitor to shift work, and the companies that employ shift employees will have to match the flexibility, instant payment and the benefits of freedom and control that these platforms provide. We already see our clients using Swift Shift as a real shift marketplace, allowing their employees to pick up from available shifts that are posted by managers, allowing employees to pick up work at multiple sites, and paying “surcharges” for hard to fill shifts. We can expect this trend to increase in 2016 as more on-demand services are launched.

4. Mobile everything
Mobile is everywhere, almost everybody has a smartphone today. Yet many companies provide tablets and phones to their employees to use on the job and prohibit their employees from using personal devices while on shift. However, it no longer makes sense to spend time and money on purchasing, maintaining and replacing mobile devices when nearly 100% of the workforce has a mobile device in their pocket. Companies that did not yet move from desktop to mobile will probably have to do so in 2016 to remain competitive both in the labour market to attract employees and with their competitors who can provide quicker service and a friendlier interaction without a large screen the middle. If all the workers have a powerful computer in their pocket, it makes sense to to leverage it with work related applications that can help both the employees and the company.

The trifecta of on-demand economy growth, the competition for resources with “brick and mortar” businesses, and increases in minimum wage which requires better resource utilisation and increased retention will certainly have an impact on the relationship between companies and their shift workers. Mobile will become the arena for such relationship changes with communication, flexibility, data and speed, being the key elements that will drive change in the way work is sourced, scheduled, monitored and paid for.

At Swift Shift we will continue to try and stay ahead of the game and offer our users, both employees and their managers a simple and effective tool to deal with these changes successfully, increase sales and customer service, employee happiness and the bottom line.