In the hospitality industry, there are few “behind the scenes” operations. The quality of staff management affects every aspect of the guest experience.
New Challenges Demand New Solutions
A hotel manager’s job has never been easy. But it has gotten even more difficult in the past few years. Maintaining adequate cash flow is harder because of fluctuating prices due to online booking. There are heightened security challenges. Customer expectations steadily increase. This forces owners to provide more and more standard amenities—and they are expensive. There is competition from Airbnb and other companies that provide accommodations in private homes.
Managers need to automate as many processes as possible. Since the cost of labor is a significant expense, optimizing human capital is paramount. Time tracking software is the answer for streamlining employee hospitality timekeeping and scheduling.
Hospitality Workforce Management
Hotel employee scheduling can overwhelm even the best multi-tasking managers. Because the business never closes, employee scheduling is a constant responsibility. Every team has deadlines to complete daily tasks. Many duties can’t be “put off until tomorrow” without lowering service levels.
Employee scheduling requires:
- Forecasting occupancy
- Matching staffing demands to expected occupancy
- Creating shift schedules
- Adapting schedules to changes
- Accommodating employee availability and preferences
If a manager miscalculates and schedules too few employees, it will diminish service. If they overestimate occupancy, the labor costs will eat up the profit.
Employee availability and schedule preferences are important factors. Labor law compliance is a must. Company policies and collective bargaining agreements also come into play.
Employee scheduling could easily occupy the bulk of a manager’s time every day. But workforce management is only one of the many tasks a manager must stay on top of.
The solution for efficient and cost-effective employee management is advanced time and attendance software. Let’s discuss some of the benefits.
Electronic Records and Centralized Access
This is a foundational benefit of any software but particularly for time tracking software when it replaces pen-and-paper systems. Time and attendance systems create and store electronic records. This advantage is often overlooked but it accounts for much of the time savings. The data stored includes employee information, time cards, schedules, and tax forms. Database searches retrieve documents in seconds. No one has to dig through a file cabinet.
Cloud-based time and attendance eliminates hardware compatibility issues. This was a shortcoming of older enterprise systems. With cloud computing, all players can access work information from any internet-enabled device.
Even small B&Bs don’t handle room reservations with manual systems anymore. Curiously, some establishments still use pen-and-paper employee scheduling and time cards. Spreadsheets are an improvement for scheduling, but they pale in comparison to the capabilities of time tracking software. Human resources workflows are late to the table when it comes to utilizing technology. Technologically-advanced time and attendance brings the latest efficiency tools to hotel workforce management.
Hospitality Employee Online Exchange Board
Online shift exchange boards have unique benefits for hotels of all sizes. Large hotels can have departments with 100+ employees. With teams this large, it’s not uncommon for three or four to call in sick every shift. When workers can’t take their designated shifts, the manager needs to quickly find replacements.
With an online shift trade board, the manager posts open shifts when an employee calls in sick before the shift begins. If the employee fails to call and just doesn’t show up, the system signals that a worker neglected to clock in. The system sends alerts to all available workers. The current schedule feeds information to the trade board. The system knows which workers are already working and, therefore, unavailable.
The exchange board shows available shifts in real time. An employee who can pick up the shift requests it on the board. The manager approves the trade which triggers a confirmation alert to the applicable employee. Voila! The time and attendance software just saved the manager an hour of texting and calling. And it was handled on a mobile device without needing to consult a spreadsheet on the office computer.
With smaller staffs, there are fewer employees. And usually more part-time workers. Part-timers often juggle two jobs which narrows their window of availability. Each employee has different schedule preferences. Time and attendance software remembers everyone’s availability and schedule requests. This guides the initial schedule creation and all necessary shift trades after the schedule is posted.
Keeping Labor Costs in Check
Most hospitality employees are paid by the hour. Tracking time to the minute is essential for profitability and compliance. An important component of a time tracking system is the time clock. Recording hours on a paper timesheet is inefficient and prone to errors.
Prevent Employee Time Theft
Any business is susceptible to time theft. Since many hotel employees are unsupervised, the hospitality industry is especially vulnerable.
A particularly expensive form of time theft is buddy punching. This happens when a dishonest employee clocks in for an absent co-worker. A biometric time clock is the best defense against buddy clocking.
Another form of wage theft is hours padding. This is when an employee clocks in a few minutes early or punches out a few minutes late. Failing to punch out for unpaid breaks also adds illegitimate hours to a paycheck. US employers pay millions a year in unnecessary wages due to time theft. A biometric time clock paired with a time tracking system allows managers to apply schedule lockouts and break rules.
Avoid Labor Violations
Time and attendance software is also necessary for compliance. Time tracking software handles the complex logistics of multiple employee types and pay rates. These include overtime calculations, accruals tracking, break tracking, and absence management.
Many companies use third-party providers for food services, security, IT, or grounds maintenance. Systems track employee classifications which simplifies payroll and compliance.
Since 1999, SwipeClock has led the industry in hospitality workforce management. Our products are used by some of the biggest names in the hotel industry throughout the world. To schedule a demo, visit SwipeClock for hospitality.
By Liz Strikwerda