What Is Shift Bidding? A Savvy Roster Hack to Boost Morale

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Are your current staff scheduling methods causing you headaches? Do you feel the staff could maximize their time in the office better, whilst also having a happier headspace when coming to work? You are most likely here because you’ve heard about this term “shift bidding” and want to know what it’s all about, can it help maximize efficiency with your rostering, and does it lead to higher employee satisfaction rates?

What is shift bidding?

Shift bidding gives your employees an opportunity to express interest in the shifts they want to work. It puts greater responsibility on your employees, whilst still maintaining control. This system allows for greater flexibility leading to happier employees and more productivity on the job.

Shift bidding can be applied to small-scale businesses with just a handful of employees. It can also be adapted to handle large corporations that utilize a shared labor pool. So no matter what industry you currently operate, our article below will place you in the best position to decide if you should start having your staff placing in bids at the office!

What is Shift Bidding?

Shift bidding eliminates the need for employers to ask when employees are available to work each pay period. The most efficient way to complete this is with a piece of scheduling software, which takes input from the employer regarding what needs to be done and by who. The software then provides the employees the voice to request which shifts they are available to work.

Some shift bidding systems can be set up so that employees can specify the hourly rate they are willing to get paid for the shifts they select. This gives employers the option of selecting the lowest bidder for the shift. Using a shift bidding system does not require this as an option if your employees have a set pay rate established though.

Building a work schedule using a shift bidding system starts with the company’s scheduling manager. This person builds the skeleton of the work schedule. In this step, the scheduler inputs what days and times need to be covered.

Where applicable, the scheduler can include the qualifications needed to cover any particular shift. For example, if a shift must be covered by a specialist, the scheduler can set parameters for that particular shift. This will prevent the system from scheduling an employee who isn’t qualified for the job.

Once the schedule is built and all qualification parameters have been set, the scheduler sends out a notification of the open schedule. In the notification, employees will only see the shifts that they are qualified to select from on the schedule. Each employee responds to the notification by indicating which of the shifts they are interested in covering or any they are unable to work.

At this point of creating the schedule, one of two options is available. The scheduling manager can manually build the final schedule or in some platforms, they can allow the system to build it for them. Shifts that were not selected by anyone voluntarily can be manually scheduled by the scheduling manager or auto-filled by the system.

Parameters can be set to ensure that each shift is filled by the most qualified person who bids interest in the shift. Restrictions can also be put into place to reduce the amount of unnecessary overtime scheduled. The scheduling system saves both time and money through its efficiency and thoroughness.

[VIDEO] – What is shift bidding?


Will Shift Bidding Work For Your Business?

The shift bidding system can be implemented in businesses with fixed or variable schedules. It works great for industries that have multiple shifts per day. Shift bidding is also ideal for companies with changing shift patterns or a rotating roster.

For example, a small house cleaning company could incorporate a shift bidding system to cover the ever-changing weekly appointments. The scheduling manager would input the cleaning appointments that need to be covered for the upcoming week. They can even indicate if a particular appointment needs more than one cleaner.

Next, the scheduling manager sends out the notification to the housecleaning employees letting them know what jobs are available. Each housekeeper inputs which appointments they are interested in covering. They could even indicate any co-worker preference they may have for jobs needing multiple employees.

The schedule is created by either the scheduling manager or it can be automatically built by the system. Once the schedule is completed it can be reviewed by the scheduling manager for final approval. The finalized schedule is then distributed to the housecleaning crew.

An example of a large-scale company that could employ the shift bidding system is the audio-visual industry. In many instances, these types of companies employ multiple people who then work in multiple locations as needed. Oftentimes, audio-visual companies need to cover shifts at various locations, such as hotels and convention centers, simultaneously.

On this grand of a scale, several scheduling managers may come into play to cover all the properties in need of employees. Each hotel or convention center will have various shifts available for the different specializations in the audio-visual field. The shift bidding system allows for each scheduling manager to input their specific needs.

As before, once the framework of the schedule has been put into place, the notification is sent out to all of the employees. Those jobs an employee is qualified to select from will be visible on their calendar. Employees can then bid on which jobs, at which locations, they are interested in covering and the schedule gets confirmed.

Other industries well suited to shift bidding schedule systems include:

  • Manufacturing / factory work
  • Healthcare
  • Security
  • In-home healthcare
  • Hotel and hospitality
  • Group homes
  • Senior living centers
  • Customer service call centers
  • Restaurants and bars

Related post: What Is a Good Shift to Work? Supercharge Your Roster Here

Shift Bidding Leads to Higher Overall Satisfaction

Benefits to the Employee

Employees are happier because shift bidding gives them a greater sense of autonomy over their work schedule. They gain empowerment from playing an active role in the creation of when they work and sometimes for what period of time.

Employees who work with a shift bidding system take on more ownership of a job when they get to select to do the shift. This, in turn, leads to the employee taking more initiative on the job. They also exhibit more frequent proactive behaviors. Happier employees lead to a more productive work environment because they are more invested in the job they selected to do.

Being more in control of their work schedule by using shift bidding adds flexibility to the employees’ personal life as well. (Read how to balance shift work and family here).

They are more equipped to plan events outside of work when there is a shift bidding system in play. Shift bidding leads to gratified employees because they are allowed to schedule work around life instead of life around work.

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

Benefits to the Employer

Employers gain a multitude of benefits from using a shift bidding schedule system. The artificial intelligence aspect of the system saves administration time and reduces the stress of creating the perfect work schedule. The presets and optimization features of shift bidding scheduling systems take out all the guesswork and time spent on scheduling.

They are designed to keep track of all employees’ hours to minimize expensive overtime scheduling. Algorithms are used so that only the most qualified employees are scheduled for appropriate shifts. Shift bidding scheduling software is especially great because it saves time and hassle of back and forth communication with each employee every pay period to create a schedule that makes everyone happy.

It eliminates the need for employees to provide their employer schedule preferences and availability for every pay period. Employers no longer have to worry about having employees come to them after the schedules out needing a day off and then trying to find coverage. Best of all, the shift bidding scheduling system takes away the human error of double-booking an employee at two locations and prevents the mishaps of understaffing and overstaffing shifts

Investing in a shift bidding schedule creator system has shown a reduction in employee absenteeism. The added flexibility to work schedules reduces work-related issues of stress, anxiety, and burnout. Shift bidding schedules have also been seen to help alleviate the problem of tardiness for some employees too.

Other benefits from using a shift bidding scheduling system include the quick availability of schedules in real-time. The automation of the shift bidding system increases the speed at which a schedule can be produced. This gives the employer and employees access to an up-to-date schedule much faster than traditional scheduling methods. We all know that people want information in real-time these days!

As an employer, what you will love most about using a shift bidding scheduling system is the amount of time and money that your company saves.

Reduced administrative costs occur right away thanks to the automation of the scheduling process. With less time spent writing up a schedule before each pay period, more time can be invested elsewhere in the company.

And by using a flexible shift bidding schedule system for your business, you will see even more savings with the reduction in turnover now that you have happier employees. You’ll save time normally spent training new people and your company won’t have to deal with frequent interviewing or using temp job services to find replacements. You will be more equipped to build a solid crew of satisfied employees that will most likely stay with you for the long haul.

Related: Are 8 Hour Shifts Better Than 12? A Must Read For Employers

Software For Shift Bidding

We put together another article to assist business owners with software and apps that will assist with scheduling. You can find it here. A number of these companies offer features within their products that will help you with the shift bidding process.

As a general rule, shift bidding software is typically available as a monthly subscription. Prices can range anywhere from free for the most basic package to more than $70 per month for more complex scheduling needs. In addition, businesses with multiple locations would pay the monthly subscription fee for each location using the software.

There are various types of shift bidding software that have been created and designed with a particular industry in mind. It is highly recommended to shop around for the shift bidding software that will work best with your type of business. Some software has been built for use by owners of bars and restaurants while others were made with the needs of a large hospital.

Organisation Apps and Other Shift Patterns

VIDEO – The Complete Guide to Rotating Shift Work

In summary, a company is only as good as its people! So it’s important in today’s society to look at ways you can provide your staff with greater control on the work/life balance that they decide to live out.

If you can do that, along with maximizing the efficiency of scheduling staff at the same time, then we think it’s a no-brainer to look at implementing a shift bidding system.

Remember, this provides the staff member with control to choose their shifts, but at the end of the day, you will still be able to allocate those same people to roles to ensure that all shifts are filled you can continue to grow your business to the heights you’d always envisioned.

Have you ever wondered, Can An Employee Refuse To Work Weekends? Find out here.



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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