Even in the best of times, overtime is inevitable for most manufacturers. Layer in a pandemic, which is causing more than the usual number of unexpected absences and scheduling gaps due to staffing shortages, and suddenly overtime is even more prevalent.
Even though additional overtime due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may be warranted, after all you still need to meet customer demand despite staffing challenges, the key is identifying and preventing unnecessary overtime. But in cases where overtime is unavoidable, it’s important to ensure fairness and equity when it comes to opportunities for employees.
Distributing overtime equitably can be a difficult process and is even more challenging when doing so without an automated solution in place. By manually tracking overtime through spreadsheets, you become vulnerable to expensive overtime disputes costing you valuable time, employee frustrations, and the potential for financial penalties.
Workforce management tools can help manufacturers not only manage overtime but increase employee engagement by ensuring a fair and equitable policy enforcement.
Before we talk about fairness and equity when it comes to scheduling overtime, let’s focus on how we can first limit overtime that is unplanned and unnecessary.
Reducing unplanned and unnecessary overtime
Paying for more overtime than you anticipated can have several root causes, from being short-staffed and mismanaging absences, to a company culture that encourages overtime. Regardless, the negative results are the same. But there are ways to reduce unnecessary overtime, let’s look at a few below:
- Align schedules with your company’s needs. Scheduling software can help you do this by creating a best-fit schedule for your workforce. When you can match employee availability, skill sets and preferences with your business demand, you can reduce unplanned overtime and maximize productivity by focusing on optimizing use of regular hours first.
- Proactive management of employees. If an open shift needs to be filled, your workforce management solution can suggest an appropriately skilled and rested person with the least projected overtime for the pay week.
- Real-time reports and alerts. Real-time dashboard to operational metrics and alerts via mobile or tablet to let managers know there is an issue so they can act quickly.
Improving employee engagement and compliance with overtime equity rules
It’s common for manufacturers to have policies in place to govern the process of overtime. These policies often involve cumulative overtime balances, seniority, job qualifications, offers, and refusals – just to name a few. If you have these policies in place at your organization, you know just how complex the process can be.
With workforce management software, you can bring all the pieces of the overtime management puzzle together to ensure you are offering overtime in a fair and equitable way and giving you the ability to:
- Track overtime offered, refused, and total hours over extended timeframes. This is usually year-to-date and done through accruals. And with a scheduler “call list” that automatically applies your overtime equity rules, you can be sure you are consistently finding the right person who is next in line for overtime.
- Maintain accurate employee records. Automatically sort through employees based on predefined criteria, including employee availability, skills, certifications, company policies, union rules, and more, to assign the right person for each position.
While unplanned overtime will always be a factor in manufacturing, having the right tools in place to help reduce and control it are crucial. When it comes to managing overtime, it’s important for manufacturers to leverage workforce solutions that can save time with automated, centralized tracking, improve control with visibility across the organization, ensure adherence to overtime policies, and boost employee engagement with consistent overtime management.