A study of shift workers from the Decision Science Institute found a higher turnover rate among night shift workers than day shift workers. On average, day workers stay 53 months longer with their employer than night workers. That makes it clear that night shift workers need a different approach, if you want to retain them longer, and keep them (equally) engaged as your day shift workers.
1. Why are night shift workers less engaged?
Members of upper level management seldom work nights and most company-wide meetings and initiatives take place during the day. Therefore, night workers can easily feel disconnected from the company, or even ignored.
They may also feel left out when it comes to additional benefits, such as lunch meetings or office celebrations (birthdays, holidays, retirements, etc..) which are usually during the day and accompanied with a free drink or snack, offered by the company. Also larger company-wide events, such as a 'family day' or a 'NewYear celebration', are mostly tailored to the agenda of day workers.
Last but nog least: night workers are usually last to find out about company news or changes in policy, as updates are mostly spread during the day. Company news tends to arrive later to blue-collars anyway, and certainly to those working nights.
Al these aspects combined can create a feeling of disunity and inferiority, which leads to lower engagement and higher turnover.
2. How to combat this challenge?
The main goal is to create a feeling of belonging among night workers. They need to feel equally important and part of the team. There are several ways to empower that:
Involve them, in everything.
The strongest way to involve night shift employees, is by keeping them informed at all times. And when you do, make sure they are not always the last to hear. Try to spread breaking news during the night every now and then and give them the 'scoop' for a change.
Hold regular meetings or information sessions during the night, to inform night shift workers about changes in policy. Don't delegate this task to the night supervisor, but let the upper management also give a night session every now and then.
Organize the same initiatives during the night, as you do during the day. If you celebrate a milestone or a record, make sure to celebrate it in each shift.
Give them their own unique night-time events and activities
Sometimes, simply 'mirroring' your day shift activities to the night shift is not ideal. What works for one population doesn't always work for another. Always consider the day/night circumstances. Make use of the night and the atmosphere that comes along with it. Challenge to consider: if your activities are different, the incentives should always be the same. Make sure everyone gets the same incentives for the same level of participation or completion.
Put them in spotlight.
Everybody likes appreciation. Take the time to acknowledge your night shift colleagues as well. Utilize your internal communication channels to praise individual and team achievements from the night shift throughout the whole company. Share human stories, pictures and videos from your 'operations at night' with everyone. This will create a sense of pride with your night shift workers, and a feeling of solidarity between office workers, day workers and night workers.
Offer non-scheduled wellbeing initiatives
Offer wellbeing challenges that are not tied or associated to an event or a physical location. Good examples are personal step goals, nutrition goals, mental health goals. These can be managed almost entirely by the employees themselves as they track their own personal progress. These types of company-wide challenges also allow night shift workers to participate and feel involved.
Create great experiences for your night shift employees and keep them top-of-mind when you launch a staff initiative or a company announcement. Involve them in every step of the way and make them feel valued. Make sure every employee, both in the office and on the work floor, has access to the same information, in real-time. The best and easiest way to connect your blue-collars is by empowering them with mobile access to the same information your office employees enjoy via their computer.
Looking for more tips on how to engage blue-collar workers?
Download our free Roger eBook: '10 tips to engage your blue-collar workers'