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Finding, retaining, and empowering the right talent is tough in any market, but especially one chat churns, constricts and attrites like the one we are. Shift-based roles present unique challenges when it comes to reimagining talent strategies that can attract, retain, and empower them to thrive at work. Their expectations are just as high as other segments of the labor market, if not higher. Yet they’re usually the last to benefit from conversations around flexibility, empathy, culture, wellbeing, and more.

Shift-based workers bore the brunt of the pandemic, too. From healthcare workers to retail and hospitality and manufacturing work, finding enough people to do these jobs was never easy. Now we need to convince talent they’ll finally have the safety and support they need.

One way to find more shift employees and better support them? Empathy. With strong workplace empathy, talent acquisition and retention gain traction.

In fact, 82% of people would quit their job to work for a more empathetic employer.


Shift based hiring is a recruitment concept that hires people for individual shifts, rather than hiring employees before scheduling them into shifts. This approach enables shift workers to indicate their preferences and availability for the roles and times they’re available to work. Shift work often takes place during times that exceed the traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule and may involve morning work (e.g., 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.), night work (e.g., 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.), or a rotating shift schedule that incorporates both.

Scheduling shift work can be complex. If a business runs on two or three shifts and the same employees work those shifts consistently, scheduling is pretty straightforward. But if your business operates on two shifts that cover 16-20 hours (like a restaurant), and different employees work different shifts depending on the day, scheduling can get complicated fast.

Watch the full webinar here


There are 97 million shift workers across the U.S. This is a workforce segment too often forgotten, ignored, or underserved by innovative workforce solutions and employers who wish they could do better.

When I Work is helping to change all that with its employee scheduling app for shift based workplaces. It helps improve communication, eliminate excuses, boost accountability among staff, track time and attendance, and help businesses grow.

“Employee-first scheduling is the key to embedding empathy into your shift-based work place.”


Empathy is the intersection between user, customer and employee experience.

Design thinking, user experience, customer experience, and your workforce experience all leverage empathy, or an understanding of how an experience can be improved. An experienced designer seeks first to understand the experience from the person’s perspective; this is human-centered design, or taking a whole person approach to workforce experience.


  • It feels like design consideration in the tools, systems, and programs I use to do my job
  • It looks like tools and programs that meet me where I am, seeking and building my engagement, not driving or supporting “enragement.” When this is done right, the solution drives natural human addiction; no one needs to force technology adoption because it will feel easy and natural to use. It will actually make my day and job better..
  • It will also feel like a solution that was built for humans…and for continuous improvement, iteration, and innovation. Does this work for me? Does this make work work better?

Empathy in workforce experience design matters to the business because it seeks to meet people where they are. This isn’t just a design principle, it’s a leadership skill. Even pre-pandemic, 82% of people said they would be willing to quit their jobs to work for a more empathetic employer.


Consumers are demanding empathy as a core value in exchange for their loyalty. Organizations who actively seek to make an employee or customer journey better for people attract and retain both employees and customers better than those who do not.

And yet, 72% of CEOs say the state of empathy needs to evolve. 58% of CEOs say they struggle to exhibit empathy in the workplace. 90% of HR pros believe diversity in leadership contributes to empathy.


Because of the nature of their mission and approach, When I Work operates with empathy; the very nature of its software is empathetic. In a recent Human Resource Executive webinar sponsored by When I Work, Leapgen CEO & Co-Founder, Jason Averbook and Jess Von Bank, Leapgen’s Brand Strategist and Head of Vendor Solutions, discussed the importance of empathy for the shift-based workplace and listed five things employers can do to get there.

  1. Create opportunities for connection, understanding, and appreciation
  2. Redefine culture, which is less about rituals and norms and more about how work gets done
  3. Let people work like adults: think enabling productivity vs. monitoring activity
  4. Personalization of Experience, or the concept of B to Me. Build what’s best for the employee, period.
  5. Real-time and relevant communication, not just listening but acting

The most important thing to remember is that nothing will change unless you change. For shift-based and all employees in the Now of Work, empathy is table stakes. If you don’t build your business with empathy, your results will suffer. Plus, there’s the whole moral responsibility piece. Be a good business owner. If you lead with integrity, operate with empathy and behave authentically, your team and your customers will be loyal, thriving, and happy.



Jess Von Bank is an 18-year industry veteran and impassioned evangelist of the modern candidate and employee experience. As both a former recruiting practitioner and an expert in bringing TA Tech and HCM vendor solutions to market, Jess looks to broaden executive mindset to better design and deliver a workforce experience that exceeds the expectations of talent and the needs of the business.

Jess offers specialized expertise in talent acquisition, recruitment marketing, employer branding, DEI&B, brand-building, and storytelling. She is the Head of Marketing for Leapgen, a digital transformation company shaping the Now of Work. She also runs the Now of Work, Leapgen’s global community for HR, Talent, and workforce experience professionals.

Jess is an active community emcee, ambassador for women’s and girls’ organizations, and President of Diverse Daisies, a nonprofit for girls’ enrichment and empowerment. She lives  in Minneapolis, where she races for free swag and raises her 3 daughters.

Jason Averbook is a leading analyst, thought leader and consultant in the area of human resources, the future of work and the impact technology have on that future. He is the Co-founder and CEO of Leapgen, a digital transformation company helping organizations shape their future workplace by broadening executive mindset to rethink how to better design and deliver employee services that meet the expectations of the workforce and the needs of the business.

Prior to founding Leapgen, Jason Averbook served as the CEO of The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC). In 2005, he co-founded Knowledge Infusion LLC and served as its CEO until 2012, when the company was sold to Appirio. Earlier in his career, he served as the Chief Business Innovation Officer at Appirio Inc., where he led the HCM business. He has also held senior leadership roles at PeopleSoft and Ceridian Corporation. Jason has more than 20 years of experience in the HR and technology industries and has collaborated with industry-leading companies in transforming their HR organizations into strategic partners.


Leapgen is a global digital transformation company shaping the NOW of work. Highly respected as a visionary partner to organizations looking to design and deliver a digital workforce experience that will produce valued outcomes to the business, Leapgen helps enterprise leaders rethink how to better design and deliver workforce services and architect HR technology solutions that meet the expectations of workers and the needs of the business.


Human Resource Executive® was established in 1987 and continues today as the premier publication focused on strategic issues in HR. Written primarily for vice presidents and directors of human resources, HR Executive provides these key decision-makers with news, profiles of HR visionaries and success stories of human resource innovators. Stories cover all areas of human resource management, including talent management, benefits, healthcare, training and development, HR information systems, relocation, retirement planning and employment law.