The manufacturing world has changed greatly since the iconic, bandana-clad "Rosie the Riveter" of 1940s poster fame. She portrayed the droves of women who took the factory jobs for the men who entered the military during World War II.  

Shifts that work: Manufacturing offers flexibility for women

Connect-June2011-manufacturing.jpgThe manufacturing world has changed greatly since the iconic, bandana-clad "Rosie the Riveter" of 1940s poster fame. She portrayed the droves of women who took the factory jobs for the men who entered the military during World War II. 

Unlike the "Rosie the Riveters" who left the workforce when the men returned from war, women in manufacturing today are here to stay. The U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau reports that women account for nearly half of today's labor force and comprise nearly 30 percent of those working in the manufacturing industry. In 2010, manufacturing was the fifth largest employment industry in the United States with over 14 million workers -- and nearly 4 million were women.

A lot has changed since the 1940s. Still for some, the idea of working in a manufacturing job holds to the stereotype of high stress, long hours, grueling shifts and a grimy workplace. But these myths about manufacturing working conditions have been replaced with today's modern technologies that drive manufacturing processes, not to mention regulatory compliance legislation designed to protect workers. While manufacturing continues to change rapidly and poses some challenges, advanced technologies and new production processes are pushing manufacturers to explore new ways of working with higher-skilled employees. In order to compete in an increasingly complex global environment, employers are pressed to produce greater workforce efficiencies without sacrificing quality or service.

How are manufacturers removing the stereotypes often associated with factory work and attracting and retaining workers who need work/family balance? In a word: flexibility. HR leaders in manufacturing organizations are finding that offering flexible work schedules is becoming increasingly important as workers-females and males alike-strike a balance between work and personal obligations. Research shows that employers with flexible work options and programs have higher employee morale, improved productivity and a healthier bottom line.

Findings from a June 2009 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report, Workplace Flexibility in the 21st Century: Meeting the Needs of the Changing Workforce, show that formal flexible working arrangements (FWAs) have a positive impact on employees and employers. The report showed that 91 percent of HR professionals believe implementing formal FWAs had a positive impact on employee morale (job satisfaction and engagement). Retention of employees (89 percent) was also reported as positively impacted by implementing FWAs.

"When you have the ability to schedule appropriately, it puts workers at the right place at the right time," says Greg Wilson, Ceridian vice president of Marketing. "Fairness also comes in so that everyone is pulling their weight, while at the same time, optimizing efficiency for the organization."

"With a mostly hourly workforce, manufacturers must take into account employee availability so that they can be more flexible when it comes to creating work schedules," adds Jody Longshore, Ceridian director of Product Marketing. "If a manager regularly schedules times for an employee to work when they already have something scheduled, the employee may not confront the manager but may choose to quit and find a job elsewhere."


Tools of the trade
Best in class manufacturing organizations are turning to innovative workforce management tools that give managers better visibility into employee availability and provide employees with flexible scheduling options.

"Providing employees with easy-to-use scheduling technology empowers them," says Scott Miller, Ceridian HR/PR sales vice president for the mid-Atlantic market. "When employees can see their and their coworkers' schedules, it is easier for them to swap shifts and let their supervisors know whether or not they are available for a shift. Employee turnover in an hourly workforce occurs more due to multiple obligations, so having an effective scheduling tool helps with employee retention."

Whether your company is in the manufacturing, retail, hospitality, professional services or another labor-intensive industry, Ceridian Dayforce Workforce Management delivers an integrated workforce planning and labor scheduling tool that helps you align employee performance with your business goals. The solution not only delivers the flexible scheduling tools needed for today's workforce, it is a single solution for Human Resources, Payroll, Time & Attendance, Labor Budgeting, Attendance Management, Task Management, Compliance Risk Reduction and more.

Ceridian's solutions can help your organization streamline processes and draw out inefficiencies throughout the employee life cycle. Learn more from your Ceridian representative about achieving a performance-driven culture and building flexibility, profitability and efficiency into your company's processes and programs.