How To Motivate Shift Workers: 8 Secrets to Staff Retention

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Let us all be honest here, productivity levels within the workplace fluctuate more often than we care to admit. There are reasons on top of reasons as to why productivity levels can vary, though some of the main culprits are stress, toxicity in the workplace and poor management. Even though there are many reasons for workplace productivity to decrease, there are just as many ways to maximize it. Having staff productivity in good standing is something that all businesses should be striving for. So what’s the best way to motivate your shift workers?

There are many ways to motivate shift workers; treating your employees right is where you should start. You can also offer financial gain, extra time off, training, benefits, education reimbursement, and career progression. Find out what’s important to the person and design incentives that meet or exceed their expectations. Communication is key.

So you’ve most likely found this article as you’re wanting tips to boost staff productivity. Our 8 tips below will provide you with a great foundation to reverse the trend currently experienced in your workplace.

1. Invoke Happiness

One of the biggest reasons for a decrease in productivity is that employees often find themselves unhappy. Think about it, if you are working a job that you are genuinely unhappy at – are you going to give your all? The answer is more than likely no (unless you are one of those people who are perfect at all times). That’s why it is important for employers to make sure that employee satisfaction is at the top of this list.

We believe that a business is only as good as those who work within it. So, what are ways to ensure that your employees are happy?

Without knowing what makes your individual staff tick, a great starting point is to recognize and reward. Too many employees do great work and as they may not be vocal or have regular feedback sessions with senior management, this can sometimes go unnoticed.

So if you place yourself in their shoes, could you imagine putting your all into your work and not receiving the slightest bit of recognition for a job well done?

I know from our perspective, the answer is no – no you wouldn’t. This recognition and reward can come in a number of forms and it doesn’t need to be publicly either, but we can assure you that showing a little gratitude towards your employees will do wonders in the productivity department.

This article 15 Employee Engagement Activities to Skyrocket Staff Morale will give you lots of good ideas.

2. Effective Communication

Communication is what makes or breaks a company. The lack of communication can make things go south really quickly, without anyone even realizing it. That is why it is important for employers to ensure that effective and open communication channels are in place. You need to ensure that your employees can communicate with you seamlessly, as well as communicating with each other seamlessly.

Poor communication often results in work not being completed correctly. Which, in turn, has a negative impact on productivity and overall morale. When morale is low within the workplace, chances are productivity is going to also be low.

So, it is vital that you take steps to ensure that you have a channel of communication that is easily accessible and productive feedback from staff is encouraged, not turned away (more on this later). If your employers are able to communicate effectively, chances are your buy-in and over-production numbers are going to increase too.

To help with communication amongst staff, these apps and software might be extremely helpful.

3. Financial Gain

What motivates every person in your workforce will be different, but history suggests that a large component will increase their productivity when money is at stake. It’s very rare that we’ve seen a staff member in the workforce turn down a bonus or increased salary when it’s offered to them. After all, that’s the main reason we are coming to work day in and day out – to earn money to live the lifestyle we so choose.

That is why offering additional money usually means seeing an increase in productivity.

If your employees know that from increasing their productivity, they will reap financial benefits – a direct productivity boost will follow. This could be a simple one-time raise, that says “Hey, I see you – you are valued – you are doing great.” Or, it could be a little bonus as an incentive to provide a greater output.

Just be mindful of having an understanding of the workers financial status, as we’ve seen a financial incentive that’s a large way off the staff members expectations actually having an adverse effect to the desired outcome. But this comes back to how much dialogue you’ve been having with that person prior to this point.

Related post: Benefits Of Working Weekends: Why Your Mindset Needs To Shift

4. Employee Feedback

This one is important, and probably one of the most forgotten things in the workplace. You need to give your employees a voice. Nobody likes to go about feeling as if they are unheard. This can lead to resentment from your employees, which in turn leads to a huge decrease in your productivity. (source)

So, with that being said – giving your employees an outlet is crucial. There are many ways that you can go about doing that as an employer. You could even do something as simple as to implement a suggestion box. Trust me, your employees’ suggestions matter. After all, they are the ones doing the job day in and day out. So, there is no better person to ask for advice on what needs improvement.

A suggestion box allows for your employees to openly express how they feel about day-to-day operations, and what could be done for improvement. You could also do things like scheduling a regular feedback session with staff, or taking employee surveys. Whatever works for your company, do that. Just making sure you are getting feedback from everyone.

Another way to make your employees feel valued is through shift bidding. This was a foreign concept to me too but it can work beautifully! Read more about it here.

5. Extra Time Off

During today’s trying times – time off for most of us comes few and far in between. Most places are short-staffed, and barely have enough employees to run the normal day-to-day operations. Therefore, the employees that you do have are currently being worked to the bone. Be mindful that this could lead to resentment and burnout.

With that being said, when the time allows itself – give your employees extra time off. Even if you give your employees just one extra off day, that increase in productivity when they do return will put you in a greater position from the time they spent away from the workplace.

Giving your employees an extra off day means that they have an extra day to recoup both physically and mentally. That means, when they come back to work they are refreshed and are well-rested – ready to take on the task. Now, we know that deadlines need to be met and time away form the office needs to fit within the overall operating schedule, but a spontaneous day granted to staff for leave will be very well received.

If you run a night shift facility and staff are seeking feedback about what to do on their days off, this post will help. We also wanted to share a video we produced about rotating shift work and how your employees could live a healthier life but following a few simple suggestions.

6. Training

Continuing training is something we believe all companies should have implemented in some form. Whatever industry that you are in, someone is looking to change the game and constantly evolving the way work is completed within it. So you can stay up-to-date with industry standards and keep your employees learning and progressing, why not assist them with further training and education.

Now, don’t get us wrong – your employees may not initially be thrilled by adding training on top of their everyday workload. However, there are ways to make it more incentivized for them.

For example, most industries have the opportunity to attend conferences for training pertaining to their agency. Most of the time, it is the senior staff that attends these training sessions and then just passes the information over that they learned onto employees. Instead of sending your senior employees, send some of your general employees as well. This gives your employees a chance to get out of the office, and experience an event like this first hand. It also gives them a sense of belonging.

Training is what pushes productivity because it shows what you strive for as a company. Regardless of if you don’t want to send your employees to conferences, continued education should be part of your regular routine.

Related: 15 Tips To Improve Job Performance (Whilst Avoiding Burnout)

7. Education Reimbursement

As an employer, one thing that you should realize is that not everyone aspires to be a ‘lifer’ at your company. Sometimes you are just a stepping stone to something greater for that individual. That is not to say that you will not have employees that will be with you until they retire should you look after and support them in their working careers, but today’s society have a very different mindset to those of yesteryear. That is why allocating money to aid in further education for staff can be extremely beneficial to that person’s productivity when working for you.

Of course, there should be stipulations attached – maybe having to have worked for your company for a certain period of time and the education needs to assist in the role that the person is currently performing.

Doing this shows that you are invested in your employees and care about their development, irrespective of that coming within your company or externally. We believe that the more you do for your employees, the more they are willing to do for you. So even though that person might have extra workload added to them from the study they are completing, the productivity on the job should be increased form the learnings they are developing and the positive mindset that comes from showing them you care about them.

8. Career Progression

There are thousands of employees who are currently stuck in a job they believe isn’t going anywhere. By that we mean that the job title that they currently hold will be the job title they hold the entire time they are employed with you. That doesn’t get us excited about going over the top for that role! I don’t know about you, but going in and working the same thing day in and day out starts to get old very quickly. If you are constantly doing the same thing over and over again and never challenged, you naturally start to slack off and the work output decreases over time.

This is why it is important for companies to showcase a career progression pathway. For example, start an employee off at the lowest position possible. Throughout their time with the company, train and encourage them to move to the next position.

The simple analogy is climbing a ladder – one step at a time. This gives employees the sense that they have something to work toward. If your employees know that there is room to progress, chances are their productivity is going to increase to get there. They know that career progression generally comes with a raise, and we all know that money speaks volumes from our earlier tip.

Here is an interesting podcast from the Harvard Business Review about motivating Employees you’re going to really enjoy.

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As you can see, there are endless ways that you can see an increase in your productivity in shift workers. Really, it all just boils down to treating your employees in a positive manner. People who are treated right by their employers often stay for the long run. That’s because the general feedback from staff is the opposite.

Gone are the days you can hire someone and treat them poorly. If you do, I can assure you that your productivity numbers will reach an all-time low and they won’t last very long in the job.

So we hope you took away ideas on how to increase your staff motivation and once implemented, you see a significant uptick in the work being produced!



Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure and privacy statement for more info.

Daniel Smith

Managing a global sales team I've experienced the challenges of working at all hours of the day and night. Being a shift worker I know how tough it can be balancing everyday life when you feel like you haven't slept in weeks! Providing advice and tips on how to manage your schedule, whilst still staying healthy is where I can help.

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