Shift Bidding: What It Is & Implementation Tips For Managers

shift bidding

Without the right employees scheduled for each shift, your business can suffer. However, finding a balance between employee preferences and business needs can be challenging. If you’re struggling in this area, shift bidding might be a solution.

Keep reading to learn more about shift bidding. You’ll find information about how this scheduling system works and some tips for using it in your business.

Table Of Contents

What Is Shift Bidding?

employees shift bidding

Shift bidding is one method of employee work scheduling. It can be your sole scheduling system or a way to fill the gaps left by a different approach.

Here’s a quick look at how it works.

First, employers put out a list of available shifts. Then, team members look at the possibilities and indicate which ones they’d like to claim using a simple bidding process.

Once those employee bids arrive, you can review them and finalize the schedule.

While you may still need to schedule some employees outside their preferences, shift bidding can help you balance your business needs and your employees’ desires.

Industries Shift Bidding Works Well For

Any industry with varying work hours and shifts can implement shift bidding. Here are some where this practice is common:

  • Hospitality
  • Healthcare
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Security

However, this type of scheduling tends to work better in medium-sized or larger companies with more employees in the bidding pool. A different scheduling system might be better if you only have a few workers.

Benefits For Employees

employees at works

Shift bidding allows employees to choose shifts that align with their preferences and needs. This can help with work-life balance, childcare arrangements, or other responsibilities outside of work.

Additionally, shift bidding provides more transparency in the scheduling process. Employees know which shifts are available and can see how the final schedule comes together, helping to reduce conflict.

Benefits For Employers

Employers can also benefit from shift bidding. It can help improve employee satisfaction and morale, leading to less turnover. This saves you time and resources in recruiting and training new employees.

Shift bidding also ensures that shifts are filled by employees who want to work them, reducing the chances of call-offs or no-shows. You may experience less disruption in workflow and, ultimately, better productivity for the company.

Potential Downsides To Consider

As beneficial as shift bidding can be, it’s not without its potential downsides. Employers should consider the following before moving forward with this scheduling system.

  • Employee dissatisfaction: Employees who lose out on their desired shift could be unhappy.
  • Accusations of favoritism: If an employee consistently doesn’t get their preferred shifts, they could claim that you’re playing favorites regarding scheduling.
  • Increased workload for managers: The scheduling process becomes slightly more hands-on with shift bidding since managers must review the bids and make the final scheduling decisions. While software can help with this burden, it will take time.
  • Communication challenges: Successful shift bidding requires much communication. It can exacerbate any existing problems in this area and cause even more.

While these possibilities may sound discouraging, you can mitigate each with intentional planning and plentiful communication.

10 Shift Bidding Tips

shift bidding meeting

These tips can help you successfully implement a shift bidding process.

1) Have Written Guidelines In Place

Don’t try to wing it when you move to shift bidding. Instead, think through the process and how it’ll work. Then, develop written guidelines that you can review with your team. These should clearly outline the rules and expectations.

You should also have a plan for handling employee conflicts or issues arising through the new process. This way, you can be consistent in how you address problems.

2) Use Task Management Software

If you try to manage shift bidding manually, it can quickly become overwhelming and prone to errors. And if you have a non-static schedule, traditional scheduling software may not be a great fit.

That’s where task management software, like Inch, comes in. It can help you schedule your employees for different tasks across multiple locations. While learning a new program takes time, it’ll save you countless hours in the long run.

Inch allows you to:

  • Send real-time schedule updates
  • Send messages to the group or individual team members
  • Finalize the schedule
  • Automate reminders about specific work tasks or shifts

It can be a vital tool as you switch to shift bidding.

3) Keep An Eye On Overtime

Maintaining a balance between workload and staffing is crucial for any business. Shift bidding can lead to more overtime if not properly managed. This can cause your labor costs to skyrocket.

To keep your costs on track, you must monitor your employees’ working hours and distribute the workload evenly. Inch can help you with this, too.

4) Be Clear On Your Needs

If you’re unsure about your labor needs, shift bidding won’t be a good fit.

For example, without clear expectations, a restaurant could have a shift with three cooks and no servers. And that wouldn’t be good for business. You’d have to scramble to find the right workers.

So be clear about which types of employees you need, and spell out the required qualifications for each open shift. That way, you’ll have the right staff to keep things running smoothly at any given time.

5) Listen To Feedback

meeting on shift bidding

Before switching to a new scheduling system, meet with your team and spell out the changes. Take time to answer questions and address concerns.

Ask your employees for feedback once you begin to use shift bidding. Find out how it’s going and see if there are any changes you could make to improve the process.

Meet with your team individually and as a group to discuss the process and ensure it’s working well.

6) Analyze Available Data

Data is your friend when it comes to scheduling and managing labor costs. Periodically review the data about labor hours, overtime, absenteeism, and other scheduling-related metrics. This will help you make informed decisions and optimize your workforce.

Look for potential rivalries in the shift-bidding process as part of your review. See if you have cliques of employees trying to schedule together or if certain employees consistently get their preferred shifts while others don’t.

7) Keep Open Lines Of Communication

Without open communication, shift bidding can quickly become a source of conflict and frustration. Make sure all employees know how to find available shifts and how to indicate which ones they’d like to work. You’ll also need to communicate a final schedule.

Streamlined communication is essential. You need a way to field internal questions and get everyone the necessary information.

Inch can help with this. Its business-based platform keeps all of your communication in one place. You won’t have to worry about lost emails or missing messages. Instead, you can quickly and efficiently communicate with your team.

8) Be Fair And Transparent

As an employer, you’re required to treat your employees fairly. You can’t show preferential treatment to specific team members or discriminate against others. Doing so isn’t only wrong; it could also be illegal.

You’ll need to provide equal opportunity to all employees to bid on the shifts they qualify for. Keep the process fair and transparent by documenting and sharing information about shift availability, bidding results, and schedule changes.

9) Give Plenty Of Notice

No one wants to deal with last-minute schedule changes. Try to finalize your schedule early enough that everyone can plan accordingly.

You’ll want to review local predictive scheduling laws and ensure compliance. For instance, some places require you to provide at least 24 hours’ notice of schedule changes, and others require even more.

Specify when employees must have their bids in by, and stick to your deadline. That way, you have the information to organize a schedule in advance.

10) Give It Time

Change can be hard. Don’t be surprised if it takes a few weeks for everyone to adjust to a new way of doing things.

During this transition time, you may notice a few unforeseen problems. Be patient and open to feedback as you work out these kinks.

Soon, you’ll have your scheduling system running like clockwork.

Make Employee Scheduling Simple With Inch

Make Employee Scheduling Simple With Inch

Inch is here to help you navigate the shift-bidding process. Our software allows you to easily create and share shift availability with your team, track bidding results, and communicate real-time schedule changes.

With Inch, you can ensure a fair and transparent scheduling process for all employees. Plus, our user-friendly interface makes it easy for everyone to adjust to the new system.

Say goodbye to scheduling confusion — try Inch today!

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