It’s not complicated.
Asking an employee, especially one with a family, to work weekends “gets old in a hurry,” said Chris Hunter, ServiceTitan’s Director of Customer Relations and founder and co-owner of the GoTime Success Group.
Hunter knows that feeling does not apply only to workers with children, though. Single folks look to the weekend for time with friends, or as time to relax.
That’s why those in the trades need to be cognizant of whom they ask to work weekends, how often, and for how long. Asking them to do so may risk losing the employee.
A recent ServiceTitan study into churn in the trades found a direct correlation between weekend work and churn.
Data shows that technicians with more than 15% of their jobs on the weekends are 24% more likely to churn – which means that if a tech is asked to work too often on weekends, 1 in 4 will look elsewhere for employment. In a time when skilled workers are harder to find, losing anyone can hurt business. It behooves a company to pay attention to who is being asked to work, and when.
“A couple of things stand out,” Hunter said. “If a tech has 15% or more of their total jobs on the weekend, that means one of two things.
“One, it's overtime. I'm on call. Or it's my time to have to be kind of forced to work a weekend shift, which is never the most fun.”
Hunter then gave reasons beyond the obvious.
“A lot of times you're kind of out on your own,” Hunter said, “because you're the only one on call or there’s less support in the office.
“If you think about your relationship with your manager or your boss, a lot of times they're not even necessarily working during this time. So you might have either less support or less supervision.
“Or maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe they’re really pushing you to keep going.
“But if you have a family or whatever and they’re off, if your spouse and your family is off on the weekend and you’re having to work, that gets old in a hurry.”
Understand what you’re asking
Keith Mercurio is ServiceTitan’s Director of Executive Success. He also is the CEO of his company, Ethical Influence, which advises and consults with companies about driving top performance in part by using company culture in the best of ways.
Mercurio advises that culture, approach and attitude can go a long way to solving any issues.
“Some owners are trying to advocate that people should come and be plumbers, HVAC techs and electricians and get in a truck all day because it’s a good life,” Mercurio said. “But that’s the life that the owner of the business is no longer participating in.”
The online magazine ShopOwner.com, written for auto repair techs, points out in a story in early 2022 that there are hidden costs to company morale when people are asked to work weekends too frequently.
“You may very well experience lower productivity Monday through Friday, a decrease in the quality of customer service, or an increase in employee turnover, just to name a few,” the article said. “We realize that some of you may be telling yourselves that you have some young, motivated guys and gals who would love to be open on Saturdays so they can earn a higher income, but you’ll more than likely find that the excitement wanes over a short period of time.”
Go in-depth on field tech hiring demand
Know the individual first
The solution: Identify to the best of your ability what each employee wants and what motivates each employee, Hunter said.
“Learning about them,” he said. “Learning about them in their home life and then taking action on that and scheduling for it accordingly.”
He gave an example from his time with Hunter SuperTechs, which he founded and ran for 14 years in Oklahoma. His team identified workers who didn’t mind working longer hours. Then it adjusted.
“We had a crew doing four (days) on and four off,” Hunter said. “They were able to work those longer days, because we would schedule until eight o'clock at night. That would give me the opportunity to let that other employee who wants the stability have it. The Monday through Friday job, to only work days and be off every day at 4:30 or 5. He or she could be home for family and things like that.
“Just learning what was out there and being creative with the scheduling can go a long way in preventing some of this.”