Staff Scheduling: 'Err On the Side of Flexibilty'

Taylor CU aims to accommodate staff requests, within reason.

August 19, 2013
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Debbie Woods acknowledges it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a young parent, struggling to make ends meet and juggle responsibilities at work and home.

That’s especially the case when your workforce skews older, as was the case when Woods took over 14 years ago as president/CEO at $50 million asset Taylor Credit Union in Medford, Wis.

Over the past decade, Woods has added some balance to Taylor’s 21-member staff. She continues her pledge to accommodate family obligations in the schedule.

“I don’t have children at home, I don’t have day care,” she says. But she’s committed to staying in touch with those who do, and “to have compassion for them.”

Whenever possible, Woods, a grandmother, prefers to relax some of the hardships she encountered as she raised a family while pursuing a management career. “If it wasn’t as easy for me, make it easier for” my employees, she says.

Like many credit unions, Taylor doesn’t have the resources for elaborate perks or programs. But it does have a committed management team that will arrange schedules around employees’ everyday commitments, such as child care, and kids’ athletic events, to unforeseen events such as sickness and funerals.

To eliminate uncertainty, managers distribute schedules at least two months in advance, and they’ll alter them only for illness or emergencies.

“Family comes first,” Woods says. “If something comes up and [employees] need to leave work, smile and let them go, don’t scrutinize them.

“That’s within reason, of course,” she adds. “You have to set guidelines. Otherwise, you’d have employees taking advantage of that. But, ‘My boss wouldn’t let me leave’—those are words I don’t want to hear.”

At the same time, Woods says employees of all ages and with varied responsibilities benefit from a workplace that demands performance while on the clock but allows for a life outside the branch.

When the credit union introduced Saturday lobby service nearly a decade ago, Woods proposed paying time and a half for weekend hours worked while still capping employees at 40 hours a week.

That way, not only do staff get a little extra money in their pockets without working overtime, they'd also receive an afternoon off midweek to run errands or unwind.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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