Everything in life is relevant. Let’s look at two employees who were offered the same job in a different perspective: Employee A is told: « The job is full-time at 40 hours a week and can sometimes be lower than 40. When this happens, the benefits will be proportionately reduced. It doesn‘t happen too often. »
Employee B is told: « The job is part-time at 24 hours a week and can sometimes get to be as high as 40 hours. When this happens, the benefits will be proportionately increased. It could happen on a regular basis ».
Now, what happens when the planner schedules both employees for 32 hours? Employee A gets the same thing as employee B yet employee B has more satisfaction. Relatively speaking, employee B has more hours than what was offered. Employee A has the perception that the hours were cut this week and therefore does not have the same level of satisfaction.
Perception is everything. Try to explain how schedules are managed as close to the facts as possible. The more accurate the information is, the better the satisfaction level. If you oversell the information, employees will see reality as a downturn. Yet if you undersell it too much, employees will have a hard time believing you later on and you get a credibility issue. The closer you are to reality, the better.
You can also regularly survey your employees on their schedules and their perception. The more opinions you receive, the better you are off. It gives you a pulse on what the field perceives. It’s like democracy where voters are asked their opinion every x number of years. But once their opinion has been voiced, there is a dictatorship that gets installed where someone will make decisions. A business is no different where you ask opinions in a democratic way but dictate the final decision. Surveys are good ways to ensure your decisions have the effect you are looking for.
One thing to be careful about surveys is to make sure you form the questions simply and clearly. Sometimes, you can ask questions in a way that would twist reality. For example, if I ask « Do you like vanilla ice cream, yes or no? » rather than asking « what is your favorite ice cream flavor? », I get really very different information. From the first question, I can only say how many people don’t like vanilla. I can’t say how many people have vanilla as a favorite. So be careful in how you form your questions in order not to get the results you want to look good, but to get the information you need to get better.