Many businesses depend on full-time and part-time staff to provide continuous coverage during opening hours, plus extra staff at weekends when it’s busiest. Often, since they’re only on duty one or two days a week, it’s easy to overlook the important contribution your weekend workers make to the general success of your business. Whether your business is in retail, hospitality or a call centre, understanding the unique role of your weekend staff in the overall business strategy is crucial if you want to be able to manage them effectively and keep then motivated for success.
From implementing the right recruitment procedures for your staff, to using web based scheduling software, here are 9 strategies you can use to encourage your weekend support staff’s loyalty and productivity.
#1. Hire the right people
It goes without saying that you should always hire the best person for the job, but many managers appear to be less diligent about this when it comes to recruiting weekend cover for their business. Start with a clear idea of the sort of qualities you’re looking for in the ideal employee, focusing on culture and attitude rather than on particular skills that can be taught. Enthusiasm, energy, good communication skills, an aptitude for teamwork and the ability to perform under pressure are much more important indicators of a good weekend worker.
#2. Create clear job descriptions
In the beginning, there was a job description – or is there? Just because they’re only there at the weekend, it doesn’t mean you should be any less conscientious about defining job responsibilities for your weekend workers. They may just be an extra pair of hands to you, but without clearly defined tasks how will they be able to perform to the best of their abilities? Create a clear job description at the outset, setting clear expectations, and create an environment where your weekend staffers feel confident and capable to carry out their duties.
#3. Treat everyone the same
In terms of management, all staff should be seen as equal, regardless of when they’re on duty or how many hours they work. After all, the success of your business is down to good teamwork, so make sure everyone feels like a valued team member. You should try hard to make the same benefits, perks and privileges available to all your staff, whether they work full-time, part-time, weekdays or weekends. The only difference should be in the amounts, to be allocated on a pro rata basis according to hours worked and length of service.
#4. Make staff training a priority
To get the best out of your staff, especially when they’re working under pressure at peak business times, it’s essential that they have been properly trained to carry out the job as best they can. This is particularly important for weekend staff who invariably only work during busy periods. Not only are well trained weekend staff essential for any business, proper training provides the skills they need to become valued full-time team members should the opportunity arise at a later date. It’s a win-win situation.
#5. Ask experienced staff to be mentors
Formal training is all well and good but for your weekend staff to really learn the ropes, nothing beats shadowing an experienced member of staff, at least for the first few shifts. Not only will this help to embed the training already provided, it’s a great opportunity for the team to bond, particularly when it’s all hands to the pump at busy times. Get a trusted staff member ‘mentor’ to keep an eye on the weekenders, give feedback to them wherever necessary (and report to you too!) and dole out plenty of (well deserved!) praise.
#6. Use a staff rota software
Scheduling staff shifts and rotas can be tricky when there are a lot of staff members involved, many of whom may be working at different times of the week and on different shifts. Advanced staff rota software such as Planday gives you the advantage of gathering all the required data in one place – including staff availability, approved holidays, individual days off, agreed sick leave etc. Not only will this let you easily deal with last minute changes and keep in touch with staff who only work at the weekend, it makes every team member feel included in your commercial operation.
#7. Be flexible and accommodating
Everyone will need some time off now and again, and that includes weekend staff. Provided enough notice is given, it must surely be possible to accommodate a request for leave and make alternative arrangements for coverage, even at weekends. By agreeing to a few hours’ time off, you convey the message that the needs of your weekend staff matter to you. If you’re happy to work around them now and again, they will be happy to make the extra effort too, which leads to a better working relationship and lower staff turnover rates all round.
#8. Get to know your weekend staff
Weekend workers probably see less of the management than regular weekday workers do, simply because many managers often don’t work Saturdays and Sundays. Therefore, unless you make a concerted effort to communicate direct, the unfortunate result is that it makes it easier for weekend staff to slip under the radar. Even if you’re not due to be at work, it’s a good idea to perhaps pop in for a couple of hours at the weekend to have chat and give them the opportunity to ask questions or raise issues. Staff social events are also a good way to make sure weekend staff feel fully included in the team.
#9. Incentives and rewards
Employee engagement and reward is a great way to motivate your staff – so make sure weekend workers don’t feel left out. The same opportunities for career progression and development, and access to reward schemes, should be open to all the team. You might even want to give your weekend workers extra opportunities to shine, in order to engage and incentivise them to work harder. Efforts made by the weekend ‘brigade’ should be included alongside those of their weekday colleagues in any company ‘show and tell’ initiative, so no-one misses out.