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How Expectations for Employees to Work Overtime Can Kill Your Retention Rate

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How Expectations for Employees to Work Overtime Can Kill Your Retention Rate

Most employers have set unrealistic expectations for their workers at one time or another. When they do, they often use overtime to get the extra hours they need to meet their deadlines. Paying workers additional wages for working overtime might seem like an excellent way to increase production, but it’s merely a quick fix and can hurt your business.  

Based on research conducted by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and published in Vouchercloudpeople are only productive for about three hours a day. As the day goes on, it’s less likely that those overtime hours will be accompanied by peak productivity. So, requiring long hours is not the way to increase efficiency in your operation.  

Also, expecting your employees to work overtime can contribute to unhealthy workplace culture, resulting in higher levels of stress, more sick days, and a higher turnover rate. Here are some things to consider before you start scheduling overtime regularly:  


Excessive overtime can lead to burnout.  

It’s no surprise that regular overtime will result in burnout at some point. But what many employers don’t realize is that exhaustion can be more severe than just the symptoms of fatigue, sleep-deprivation, and low productivity; it can sometimes be fatal.  

An article in The Guardian shares the results of research from the University College London and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. The researchers found that just three or more hours of overtime led to a 60% increased risk of coronary heart disease.  

In a 2017 employee engagement survey conducted by software provider Kronos Incorporated and executive development firm Future Workplace, 46% of the respondents indicated that employee burnout was responsible for turnover rates of up to 50%. And too much overtime work was listed as the third most prominent reason for exhaustion.  

It’s also important to note that when workers start feeling the effects of burnout and realize that there is no end in sight for the expectation of overtime, they believe they have no choice but to give notice and move on. When this happens, employers immediately lose invaluable skills and experience, and they often find that other good workers are soon heading for the exits.  

For those working in the manufacturing sector, burnout from excessive overtime is an even more severe problem. In an industry where safety hazards are already common, having tired and over-stressed employees poses a much higher risk for a work-related accident.  


There are alternatives to overtime.  

One alternative to requiring excessive overtime is to find fresh workers to take up the slack when business is booming. Hiring contract workers can improve overall efficiency without paying the overtime premium. Freelancers won’t require higher overtime wages, and their productivity won’t be affected by long hours.  

And since there are more freelancers than ever, there is a larger pool of them from which to choose. These contract workers can save your business money, increase productivity, and improve your employee retention rate.  


Let us help you increase your retention rate.  

We can provide you with short-term or long-term staffing solutions. Contact Pro Resources for the light industrial or technical/professional help you need. We’ve been in business for over 30 years, so we will use our expertise to help you find your next worker.