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  • Staggering Supervisor/Lead Hours

    If you have team shifts beginning at 8 am, 4 pm and midnight (for instance), consider offsetting supervisor/lead shifts by one hour either ahead or behind the team shift schedule. You might even consider a two-hour offset.

    There are somewhat different advantages either way. The supervisor who reports for duty ahead of the team has ample time to get up to speed on site conditions, events during the previous shift, etc. The supervisor who goes off duty later than the team has ample opportunity to review their reports, activity logs, etc. turned in toward the end of the team's shift, as well as providing continuity for late-developing events that cross team shift boundaries.

    In each case, if your supervisor or team lead is paid hourly, this can reduce their overtime burden (or their resentment if they're having to report early or hang over past the end of shift on their own time to fulfill their obligations...which is a violation of labor laws of course, but fairly common practice, sad to say). Of course, this assumes that when supervisors hand off the team they're currently responsible for, the new supervisor takes full responsibility and command over the current "state" of the site. Personally, I think that an offset of an hour later than the team schedule is at least slightly preferable to an earlier offset.

    In either case, there's a hidden opportunity here (and it's HUGE), which is that each team will be seen on a regular basis by two supervisors. It doesn't take much imagination to think of several advantages this provides for management...or the incentive it provides for each supervisor to make sure his team is squared away (it's called "pride") and won't be observed by the second supervisor to be a bunch of screwups who don't know their jobs or perform them properly.

    Teams are wonderful things, but they can fairly easily become isolated entities that drift off course under the guidance of lax or otherwise faulty supervision. When this happens, it can be quite awhile before the problem is noticed by management. Also, problems within the team tend to fester due to a particular supervisor's inattention or "blind spots". Here's a way to break open the isolation, establishing a second channel of communication and a second set of "eyes" on the team's performance.

    Does this mean that the team becomes confused because of two different sets of expectations? Not if supervisors themselves are being properly supervised! As a manager, YOUR job is NOT to manage the line personnel. Your job is to manage your supervisors or team leads, seeing to it that each of them knows and executes according to a common set of expectations, policies and procedures. One supervisor really ought not to look very different from another as far as your teams go, or something is wrong at your level, either in selecting, training or managing your supervisors!

    Does this mean that certain team members will try to "play" one supervisor against another? Yes, you can probably expect some of this - but the operative word here is TRY, as in TRY BUT FAIL, again because supervisors are being properly managed but also because supervisors are communicating with one another, they are alert to this sort of game, and making sure that the game is promptly terminated.

    NOTE: Implementing a strategy such as this one involves organizational change - meaning that you don't just throw it at folks one sunny Monday morning. If you involve people in the process it will go much better. For instance, you can ask for input on whether teams feel that an hour earlier would be better (from their standpoint) than an hour later. You can explain the ways that the strategy will benefit team members. Supervisors, ditto. You make sure clients are aware of the reasons and why it should result in better service for them.

    Observe that "getting input" is NOT the same thing as "getting permission" to do something. You are NOT asking for anyone's permission to do this. You are simply providing an opportunity for the different stakeholders to give you their perspectives. You will STILL DO THIS IN THE MANNER THAT, AFTER ALL THE INPUT IS RECEIVED AND CONSIDERED, YOU BELIEVE TO BE BEST FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION. Almost inevitably, there will be people who simply hate change of any kind but you can at least give everyone an opportunity to "buy in" because they were consulted and respected during the process.

    Then, you implement the strategy on a very small scale...probably a single site, and you observe the outcomes - both pro and con. Or, you might try one site with the early offset and one site with the later offset and observe any advantages or disadvantages either way. Then, fine-tune the strategy before rolling it out on a company-wide basis.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 11-19-2010, 10:28 AM.
    "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

    "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

    "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

    "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

  • #2
    Another option there ST for sites like mine who only have the Site Supervisor with no leads or shift supervisors, is for the Site Supervisor to rotate their shifts. Once to Twice a month (sometimes more, sometimes not at all due to outside factors) I come in on "after-hours" shifts to meet with my officers. Usually I just sit in my cubicle and do my normal workload for most of my time here. However I will spend an hour or two with the officer following him/her around asking questions and observing them and their reactions. This does two things, first it allows me to audit my staff in a way that DARs, computer activity and other non-human systems cannot tell me. Sure a DAR tells me when combined with prox card activity that my staff are doing their rounds. But it doesn't tell me if they have forgotten to check a critical door, or what it means if a water level in Tank A is 3 feet higher then the tape. Second this process allows my staff to see that yes Virgina you really do have a supervisor that cares about you and the job that you perform. It also allows them to ask me questions they may have forgotten to ask. Like one time I was in my cubicle and Officer A radios me and asks that I meet him in the basement. When I get down there he asks me a specific question about a piece of client equipment that has been bugging him for sometime but was too busy to e-mail me about. I answer the question and know he is more knowledgeable about the client and their needs from us.

    I try not to spend the whole shift with the officer because I don't want them to feel like I am spying on them and also to be honest I usually save up EOM reports or other reports/projects that I was working on to these days as they are less hectic and demanding then normal business hours. I find I can get more of my report/project work done on days that I come in after-hours. Plus doing this along with covering after-hours shifts allows me to see just what my staff are facing. This allows me to better defend them OR if the need should arise counsel them as I have done their duties on their shifts under the same conditions they have.

    As a final note of parting, since I do work all shifts as needed I love it when I counsel and officer and they say"but you don't know what its like on my shift". I guess they forget that a month ago I covered their midnight shift so they could take fluffy to get her shots.
    Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. - 1 Corinthians 16:13

    The cleanliness of our hearts, The strength of our limbs, and commitment to our promise.

    My military contract is up and over. However, I never needed to affirm that I would defend the constitution, our freedoms, our way of life from enemies both domestic and foreign. Do not think that since I am no longer in the military, I will not pick up a weapon to defend my family, my home or my country. - Me!

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    • #3
      Now what you want to do there, FR, is tell that officer that you've just got to meet any vet that's willing to give Fluffy her shots at midnight. That's some dedicated vet!
      "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

      "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

      "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

      "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

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