Paying overtime comes at a heavy cost for employers. Consistent overtime can increase overhead costs, increase risk of liability in calculating pay hours, and cause burnout, fatigue, presenteeism, and a lack of motivation in employees. With all these possible risks, it’s no wonder business leaders work to reduce the number of overtime hours employees are working. But because employees taking on too many hours can be caused by multiple factors, there isn’t just one quick fix. Here are some of the best ways to reduce employees’ overtime hours:
Get Rid of Overtime Culture
Asking your employees to change their behavior without any change in company structure will have little to no effect. If you want your employees to reduce their overtime hours, you should reduce your overtime hours as well. The best leaders lead by example, so your example should line up with the behaviors you want to see. Also make sure you aren’t accidentally rewarding overtime as you may be giving praise or preference to those who work extra hours without realizing it. Phrases like “putting in the hours” or rewarding your “hardest workers” (without defining what you consider as hard work) are phrases you should be cautious about.
Give Employees Resources
Employees might be unable to complete their work within the normal work hours and be working overtime hours as a result. To combat this, you should evaluate the workload and the tools you’re giving your employees. If busy-work takes up too much time, try to find a way to automate it. If there are simply too many projects for your employees to keep up, try scaling back or hiring more people to match the level of work.
Cross Train Employees
When something goes wrong, you want an expert to deal with the problem. If you only have one expert, that creates a serious strain on them. Cross training your employees will ensure you have multiple people on your team equipped to deal with any issues that may arise. This can reduce the number of overtime hours needed to resolve a problem.
As an employer, you can require that employees have approval from their supervisor prior to working any overtime hours. This will provide an extra check and balance to ensure that only those projects that require extra immediate attention are completed using overtime hours. Remember that non-exempt employees must be paid overtime according to the FLSA even if the overtime hours were not approved. In that case disciplining the employee for not following the procedure is a best practice to change future behavior while staying in compliance.
Cutting down on overtime hours can help you save money and preserve the health and happiness of your employees. Follow this advice to effectively reduce employees’ overtime.