Operate with Slack

Good Jobs Strategy companies staff their units with more labor hours than the expected workload so they can meet customer demand at peak periods. Operate with Slack enables employees to work without making errors and to serve customers well. When employees have time to identify and communicate improvement ideas and problem-solve, they help cut costs everywhere else in the system.

Operate with Slack enables managers to lead and develop employees rather than constantly fire-fighting. It makes work more meaningful by enabling employees to create more value for their customers. Operate with Slack also enables employees to have more predictable schedules and take time off when they are sick or have emergencies without feeling guilty that they will hurt their team.

  • Assess Your Company

    Our Good Jobs Strategy diagnostic has 10 questions to assess how well your company embraces Operate with Slack, including:

    1. Does our company allocate labor based on workload (customer traffic and tasks) rather than on sales?

    2. Are stores staffed with more hours than the expected workload in order to meet peak demand?

    3. Do employees have time to respond to customers who need help?

    4. Can your company handle employee emergencies and time off without it being a lot of trouble for someone??

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Business leaders from Good Jobs companies talk about "Operate with Slack"

Operate With Slack Works with Other Good Jobs Strategy Choices

Focus & Simplify and Standardize reduce variability and enable companies to smooth the workload and create more accurate workload forecasts. Cross-Train enables companies to consider larger chunks (e.g., whole shifts rather than 15-minute increments) for staffing, which further increases the accuracy of workload forecasts. When workload forecasts are more accurate, companies need less "slack" to provide great service. Cross-Train and Empower both reduce the costs of overstaffing: when customer traffic is low, employees can keep busy with other tasks, talk to customers, and engage in improvement. Invest in People means that, if there really isn’t enough work, well-paid employees will be more willing to take an afternoon off. It further supports Operate with Slack by keeping performance expectations high. As we say at the Good Jobs Institute, Operate with Slack does not work with slackers!