Shift Bidding: How to Use It & Factors to Consider

Maria Kharlantseva, February 24, 2024
shift bidding: how to use it & hidden benefits

Shift bidding is an employee-centric approach to workforce scheduling that empowers workers to actively participate in selecting their work shifts. Rather than adhering to traditional top-down scheduling methods, where managers assign shifts to employees, it allows employees to bid for available shifts based on their preferences and availability.

How Does Shift Bidding Work?

The shift bidding process begins with employers creating a pool of available shifts or time slots. This pool may include various shifts covering different days, times, and job positions.

shift bidding: how to use it & hidden benefits

Once the shift pool is established, a designated bidding period is set during which employees can place their bids. The bidding period can vary in length. 

During the bidding period, employees access the shift pool and place their bids for the shifts they desire.

In other words, they offer themselves for a shift and await a decision. 

Once the bidding period concludes, employers review and evaluate the bids. The evaluation process may involve factors such as employee seniority, skill level, wage, previous shift assignments, etc. 

This step may also involve resolving potential conflicts if multiple employees bid for the same shift. The manager may take into account the time when the first bid is submitted, potential schedule overlays with other shifts on the same day, and the possibility of overtime for the employee with this shift.

After bid acceptance, the final schedule is published and communicated to employees. Employees are then assigned the shifts they successfully bid for, and the schedule becomes effective for the specified period.

Shifts by Everhour provides an intuitive solution for managing employee schedules with ease. From flexible scheduling options to mobile accessibility, it’s the ideal solution for optimizing workforce management in any industry.

Who Can Use Shift Bidding?

Shift bidding can be employed across a wide range of industries and businesses. Its flexibility and adaptability make it applicable to various types of organizations. Here are some examples of who can benefit from using this system:

πŸ›’ Retail businesses with fluctuating customer demands and varying operating hours can greatly benefit from shift bidding. Employees can bid for shifts that align with their preferences and availability, ensuring optimal coverage during peak hours and maintaining a satisfied workforce.

πŸ›ŽοΈ The hospitality & restaurant industry often experiences unpredictable demand patterns, especially during weekends and holidays. Shift bidding allows servers, bartenders, and kitchen staff to bid for shifts.

πŸ’‰ Hospitals and healthcare facilities typically operate 24/7, requiring round-the-clock staffing. Shift bidding enables nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals to bid for shifts that match their expertise and preferred working hours, ultimately enhancing patient care.

πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» Call centers often experience fluctuations in call volume, necessitating flexible workforce scheduling. With shift bidding, call center agents can bid for shifts that accommodate their personal commitments, leading to improved employee engagement and reduced absenteeism.

🏭 Manufacturing plants that operate on rotating shifts can leverage shift bidding to allow employees to bid for preferred shift times. 

🏫 Educational institutions can utilize shift bidding for non-teaching staff, such as custodians and administrative personnel. By enabling employees to bid for shifts that suit their preferences, educational institutions can create a more engaged and motivated workforce.

πŸ‘© Advantages of Shift Bidding for Employees

Shift bidding offers numerous benefits for employees, empowering them with greater control over their work schedules and fostering a more satisfying work experience. Here are some key advantages:

1️⃣ Increased flexibility: Employees can bid for shifts that align with their personal commitments and preferences, allowing for better work-life balance. This flexibility enables them to plan their lives more effectively and reduces the stress associated with rigid work schedules.

2️⃣ Enhanced employee engagement: By participating in the shift bidding process, employees feel more engaged and invested in their work. Having a say in their schedules fosters a sense of ownership and autonomy, leading to higher motivation and job satisfaction.

3️⃣ Opportunity for skill development: Shift bidding often allows employees to choose shifts that match their skill levels or preferences. This can result in a more varied work experience, enabling employees to enhance their skills and contribute more effectively to the organization.

πŸ’Ό Advantages of Shift Bidding for Employers 

Employers also reap significant benefits from implementing shift bidding, which enhances workforce management and overall operational efficiency. Here are the advantages for employers:

😊 Improved employee retention: Shift bidding can boost employee satisfaction and reduce turnover rates. Engaging employees in scheduling decisions shows that the company values their input, making them more likely to stay with the organization.

πŸ“ Optimal staffing levels: With shift bidding, employers can ensure that each shift is filled by employees who prefer and are best suited for those time slots. This results in better staffing levels and avoids overstaffing or understaffing situations.

πŸ“ˆ Increased productivity: Satisfied and engaged employees are more likely to be productive and deliver quality work. Shift bidding promotes a positive work environment, leading to improved overall performance.

πŸ’΅ Cost savings: Efficient shift allocation through bidding can reduce the need for costly overtime hours. By matching employee preferences with available shifts, employers can minimize overtime expenses while meeting operational demands.

βš–οΈ Compliance with labor regulations: Shift bidding can help businesses comply with labor laws and regulations related to scheduling and employee rights. Fair scheduling practices fostered by shift bidding demonstrate a commitment to legal and ethical employment practices.

Possible Drawbacks of Shift Bidding

While it offers many advantages, there are also hidden factors that employers and employees should consider when implementing or participating in the process. These factors can influence the overall success and impact of bidding:

Competition and tensions 

Shift bidding can lead to increased competition among employees for desirable shifts. In some cases, this competition may create tension and rivalries in the workplace, especially if there is a limited number of preferred shifts available. Employers need to monitor the bidding process closely to address any potential conflicts.

shift bidding: how to use it & hidden benefits

To mitigate competition and tensions arising from shift bidding, companies can implement a fair and transparent system. For example, they can set clear criteria for bid evaluations, such as prioritizing seniority, and qualifications, or simply the shift being awarded to the employee who placed the bid first. By establishing objective and transparent parameters, employees can understand how bids are evaluated, reducing tensions and fostering a more collaborative work environment.

Favoritism and bias 

In open bidding systems, certain employees may have advantages due to personal relationships or perceived favoritism from managers. This can lead to feelings of unfairness and decreased morale among other employees. 

Training and skill requirements

Bidding on shifts may lead to employees with varying skill levels or experience working together during overlapping shifts. Employers should ensure that adequate training and support are provided to maintain productivity and service quality.

Impact on employee relationships

Shift bidding can alter work relationships, as employees with different schedules may have limited opportunities to interact. This could affect team dynamics and communication within the organization.

Scheduling inflexibility 

While such system allows employees to bid for preferred shifts, it may not always align with business demands or the need for continuous operations. Employers must strike a balance between employee preferences and operational requirements.


In summary, shift bidding is a versatile scheduling approach that can be beneficial for a diverse array of industries and businesses. By empowering employees to have a say in their work schedules, organizations can foster greater job satisfaction, productivity, and work-life balance, resulting in a more harmonious and effective workforce.

Employers should openly discuss the implications of the bidding with their employees and be responsive to feedback and concerns. By properly addressing hidden factors, employers can optimize the benefits of it while fostering a positive and productive work environment.

Maria Kharlantseva

Maria is a proud content guardian with experience working for international teams and projects of different complexities. Maria has a passion for fantasy novels, music, black-and-white films, and nitpicking (because there is always room for improvement!).