Employee Preferences for Mobile Scheduling IndustryView | 2014
Having employees use mobile scheduling software can help prevent scheduling errors, which saves companies time and money. But buying employee scheduling software can be a bit overwhelming for small businesses: There are many options on the market, and mobile access is an emerging new addition to many software solutions. Thus, companies may be hesitant to make such a purchase without knowing how their employees feel about it.
So, we surveyed a random sample of workers in industries where hourly work is common in order to gauge sentiment towards the use of mobile scheduling apps. Here’s what we found.
For any business that depends on hourly or shift workers to carry out its day-to-day activities, scheduling errors can lead to missed shifts and decreased productivity. Scheduling software is designed to prevent these common problems by keeping all employee and shift information in one place, from which managers can create, modify and distribute schedules.
However, with the advent of mobile scheduling apps, employees themselves can participate in the scheduling process. Many solutions now allow employees to receive text messages alerting them of an upcoming shift, and they can even text or email colleagues and managers to request schedule changes or shift trades.
However, in order for these apps to actually be effective, there is one question any employer should ask before investing: Will employees use the app? After surveying shift workers across industries, we found the answer to be a strong “yes.”
Well over one-third (39 percent) of respondents said that, if their employer offered an app that allowed them to view and manage upcoming shifts, they would be "extremely likely" to use it. Meanwhile, another 16 percent said they would be "very likely" to do so.
Employees in our survey worked in a variety of different industries. However, the most common industry for hourly or shift work was the medical/health care field, with retail and manufacturing taking the second and third positions.
Interestingly, when we cross-referenced the likelihood of employees to use mobile scheduling apps with the industry in which they were employed, we found that service industry employees were by far the most likely to make use of these applications: 67 percent noted they would be "extremely likely" to use them.
Meanwhile, manufacturing was the industry in which employees were least likely to use these apps, with over one-third (32 percent) noting they would be either “somewhat” or “extremely unlikely” to use them.
When it came to size of business, most respondents worked for small to medium-sized businesses. In fact, over one-third of employees reported that their company employed 50 employees or fewer.
It appears that size of business had some impact on whether employees would use mobile scheduling apps. We found that individuals working for businesses with 501 or more employees were the most likely to use a mobile scheduling app (50 percent), while those working at companies with 51-500 workers were the least likely to do so. In fact, almost one-third of employees at companies with 51-500 workers noted a strong aversion to using these apps (27 percent selected “extremely unlikely”).
Mobile employee scheduling solutions offer multiple functionalities, and we wanted to determine which of these employees would be most likely to use. When we asked respondents which features they would prefer, there was a slight preference for the ability to request time off from their mobile devices.
In fact, 47 percent of respondents noted they would use this feature if it were offered. The ability to ask for shift trades (39 percent) or to pick up shifts (38 percent) came in second and third, respectively.
Workforce solution company Circadian estimates that unscheduled absenteeism costs roughly $3,600 per year for each hourly worker. While much absenteeism is due to illness or personal emergencies, some is due to simple error: Employees sometimes forget their shifts.
However, given the high cost of such absenteeism, it stands to reason that employers would want to prevent as many no-call, no-shows as possible. It appears that mobile scheduling apps could help reduce the number of employees who simply forget their shifts. In fact, over one-third of respondents agreed that, if they had access to a mobile app, they would be less likely to no-show for a shift.
Ensuring that hourly and shift workers are accurately and efficiently scheduled is an essential practice for any business that is looking to reduce overhead costs. However, scheduling using traditional methods such as spreadsheets and calendars can be prone to error, and updating and communicating changes can be a slow and inefficient process.
In these instances, technology can often help. There are many employee scheduling software solutions that allow employers to organize and create a schedule that they can share with employees and managers, and through mobile apps, update in real time. After reviewing our results, employee mobile scheduling apps appear to be popular across all industries and business sizes—but are especially popular among workers in the service industry and at companies with more than 501 employees.
The high level of popularity in the service industry is likely due to the fact that schedules are often more flexible—with employees more freely exchanging shifts—than they are in other industries, such as health care or manufacturing. Finally, workers at larger organizations with more than 500 employees may have more complicated schedules, with managers having to juggle multiple workers requesting time off. Thus, a mobile app could greatly reduce the time workers and managers need to spend filling out paperwork—and help managers by allowing employees to help themselves.
To find the data in this report, we conducted an online survey of six questions, and gathered 385 responses from randomly selected hourly or shift workers within the U.S. We worded the questions to ensure that each respondent fully understood their meaning and the topic at hand.
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