If you’re like most dairy managers, you’re probably struggling to find good employees right now. The truth is, finding good people has always been hard. And unfortunately, finding good people who want to work the overnight shift is even tougher.
So what should you do to reduce turnover on the third shift?
Be Upfront From the Start
Every time you hire someone, make sure they know what shift you’re hiring them for when they accept the job in the first place. Then, when you put them on the schedule, they’re not surprised and quit right after you spend a week’s worth of time training them. Avoiding that conversation eventually costs everyone time and money.
However, if you were up-front when you hired somebody and now they say they can’t work the third shift anymore, don’t give in. Their reason might be legit, but if you were clear from the start about what you were looking for, it’s not fair to shuffle your current employees to accommodate the new guy. If you do, you’ll be dealing with a bunch of employees who resent the new guy and are upset with you for changing the schedule. Instead, hold your ground and keep looking until you find someone who’s willing to work the night shift.
Pay A Shift Premium
How do you get people to actually want to work the overnight shift? The easiest solution for making the third shift a little more attractive is to offer a shift differential, typically an extra 50 cents per hour. Sure you might feel like you’re just throwing money at the problem, and to some degree you are. But paying a night shift premium shows your third shift employees that you recognize their sacrifice and that you appreciate it.
Put Your Best People on the Night Shift
Who do you think you should put on the third shift? Your newest employees or your most seasoned veterans? Although your best, most experienced people will probably always prefer working on the day shift, the truth is you need your best people on at night. Not only will you get less phone calls at 2:00AM, but you can also trust that your employees are getting things done correctly when there’s no one there to supervise them. Your advantage of paying a shift premium is that it gives your better employees an incentive to move to or stay on the overnight shift. And that’s the main reason why I think it’s a good idea to pay a premium.
So, instead of always telling your best guys that you’ll switch them to the day shift as soon as there’s an opening, tell them that because you trust them and truly value what they do, you’re going to pay them more if they’ll work the overnight shift.
Premiums Stay With the Shift
Now, just one last detail. It’s important that you remind everyone that the third shift premium is only for people who work the third shift. If at some point down the road, someone is moved to a different shift, that fifty cents doesn’t go with them. It stays with the next person who works the third shift.
I don’t envy what you do. Managing a dairy that runs 24 hours, 365 days a year is hard work and comes with plenty of headaches. Hopefully the night shift doesn’t have to be one of them!