In a hospital setting, "one of the persistent examples that [is] given in just-in-time scheduling is nurses' aides who show up for a shift and find that the patient census is lower than expected, so they are sent home without the hours," Williams says. "Or people are ordered to stay overtime with no notice. Mandatory overtime is sometimes necessary. We have to deliver the services as employers. The question is how do you design the mandatory overtime system again to achieve that tight fit?"
Matching the Workplace to the Workforce
It is exactly that rigid format that will drive workers to quit, often because personal commitments such as child- or elder-care make uncertain scheduling impossible to work around. "I'm asking employers to match today's workplace to today's workforce," she says.
"Rather than making believe we have the breadwinner homemaker workforce of 30 years ago, because we don't. We have a workforce where many of the men and women have really pressing important and non-negotiable family care requirements."
"If employers try to pretend they don't exist, they are going to have extremely high absenteeism as people call in sick because they have no alternatives, or extremely high turnover," she says. "The message for every employer is: 'If you want to decrease absenteeism and drive down turnover you have to match today's workplace with today's workforce.'"