Many employers now favor part-time work over full time...but that approach is about to backfire.
Employers such as Aéropostale, Express, and Pier One use sophisticated new software to schedule employees to a precise degree, according to The New York Times, in a new workplace trend that can save companies millions of dollars.
Yet while this approach might appeal to the bottom line in the moment, I believe it harms your business in the long run.
Retail and restaurants are leading the charge in using part-timers. A small core of full timers and a vast army of part-timers has long been common at places like Wal-Mart.
But the idea of using software to tell people they're working 12 hours this week and 40 the next because that's what predicted customer traffic demands? That just increases turnover and decreases loyalty in my opinion.
Put yourself in the employee's shoes. Figuring out child care, trying to line up other work, or even trying to have a social life becomes a challenge.
The software many employers use is similar to yield management software used by the airline industry to sell each seat on a plane for a different price.
In the case of the staffing software, the complicated algorithms factor in everything from individual employee productivity to the weather. It also takes into account historical projections of customer traffic on any given day.
With the software, some employers like Jamba Juice have learned to cut your hours by 15 minutes if they predict a decline in customer traffic toward the end of a shift.
My take? Sometimes when you're in an industry, you focus so narrowly that you miss the bigger picture. Retailers and restaurateurs are in the service business. The more you show you care about employees and their needs, the more they're going to care about your customers.
If you treat employees as just units of production, eventually, you'll have nothing you need them to produce.