The benefits of online employee scheduling, attendance, and more for hotels, motels, and resorts
Labor management software for hospitality businesses is becoming more important than ever. Some people still believe that there’s no point trying to improve on traditional labor management methods. These people insist that the way things have always been done is the only way to do them, even if it’s slow and inefficient.
At TimeForge, we respectfully disagree.
Modern technologies have advanced to the point where it’s easy and effective to centralize labor management processes in a unified system. Doing so can improve your employees’ job satisfaction and motivation as well as reduce the amount of time you spend on scheduling and other tasks.
Let’s look at how moving to a hosted labor management system can benefit your hotel, motel or other hospitality business.
The Benefits of a Labor Management System
Today, more and more organizations are moving away from traditional practices and toward a unified system for labor management.
Labor management systems offer many benefits, among them:
- Easier creation and monitoring of shifts
- Built-in human resources capabilities
- Less chance for human error when employees clock in and out
- Integrations with point-of-sale (POS) and other systems
- Analytics for data-driven scheduling decisions
Especially in hospitality, where employees and managers alike must be able to respond to high-demand periods and customer needs in a rapid fashion, it’s essential to have a modern, effective system for labor management.
Issues With the Traditional Scheduling Process
As any manager knows, scheduling employees can be a complicated and time-consuming process.
You need to balance your business needs with your employees’ availability and with the unique combination of experience and skills held by each individual. Additionally, employees’ needs and availability can change abruptly, so responsiveness and flexibility are essential elements when creating a schedule.
Of course, you could do all this manually, but then you’re faced with delays, complications and ongoing headaches. Labor management systems offer a better, faster way.
Benefits of Employee Scheduling Software
Using an electronic system to manage employee schedules takes a lot of the stress out of scheduling.
Unlike manual systems, electronic scheduling tools:
- Simplify time off requests for employees and managers
- Give managers the power to assess the number of employees needed for each shift
- Allow shift swapping without the need for manager involvement
- Increase flexibility and responsiveness
- Integrate with employee apps and analytics engines
Switching your hospitality business to an online labor management solution can cut your costs and save you valuable time.
Employee Scheduling Apps: Anywhere, Anytime
Unlike software that is restricted to a desktop computer, the best employee scheduling software can be integrated with employee scheduling apps.
When scheduling is done traditionally, it is difficult because managers can only confirm employee availability when each person is physically present. This can cause delays in finalizing a schedule, which increase employee and manager stress and make it harder to organize shift swapping, time off requests and other important elements of the scheduling process.
Apps, however, allow employees to use their own smartphones or other devices to track their schedules and request adjustments. This can dramatically increase the speed with which managers can set schedules and confirm employee availability. It also allows for a much more responsive schedule, which means less confusion and fewer periods of understaffing or overstaffing.
Shift Swapping Made Easy
Electronic scheduling systems also make the process of shift swapping significantly easier and faster.
Shift swapping, where employees trade shifts among themselves, can be a boon to the harried manager. Not only does it offer employees the agency to adjust their work schedules, improving their job satisfaction and motivation while working, but a robust shift swapping culture can also reduce the amount of time managers need to spend building schedules in the first place.
When an app or other piece of software is used to manage schedules, it becomes easier for employees to swap shifts with one another. They can do so without directly involving the manager at all, or the manager can receive an automated notification and approve the request.
Managing Time Off Requests Via an App
Like shift swapping, time off requests are another aspect of scheduling that apps make easier.
The reasons are similar. Traditionally, employees would need to make their request in person to their manager. Often, they would also need to make that request in writing so that a record of the request is available.
Apps remove the need for this extra step. Employees use the app where they receive their schedule to request time off. Managers also approve or deny this request in the same app, where they can first determine their scheduling needs for the days requested. Likewise, managers are able to keep track of which employees have time off on which days when creating schedules.
Benefits of Time Tracking and Attendance Software
If scheduling is the planning stage of managing employees, time tracking is what happens during and after a shift.
The importance of time tracking cannot be overstated. For one thing, it enables accurate payment of employees. Tracking employees’ work hours also helps you meet federal and regional guidelines about breaks and overtime pay.
Manual time tracking is time-consuming and can be error-prone. TimeForge offers a better way, with cloud based technologies that record employees’ timeliness and hours worked, and also makes it easy for managers to assess the appropriateness of their scheduling.
Time Cards and Employee Shifts
One common way to track time is with a card-based system. With physical time cards, employees must manually record the time they begin and end work each day as well as when they take breaks. Although methods like this work, they can add to managers’ workload and require regular maintenance.
Digital time cards are an accepted best practice in many industries, including hospitality, for the same reasons that time tracking is most effective when automated. It’s also important to use the data generated by your time cards. Digital cards make this easier as it’s no longer necessary to input data by hand.
Finally, sharing time card data with employees shows trust and allows employees to check for discrepancies without adding to managers’ workloads.
Keeping Track of Work Hours With a Time Clock
Time clocks, like time cards, require employees to clock in and out. Typically, this is done with a punch-based system on cards, which must then be collected and verified when paying employees.
Biometric TimeClocks take the human error out of calculating time worked by using employees’ fingerprints to track their hours in a scheduling system. This makes it easy to track employee tardiness, lunch breaks and other activities.
Calculate and Manage Overtime
Another benefit of scheduling and time tracking software is that modern systems can automatically account for overtime, up to and including denying requests for additional time once an employee has reached a certain number of hours.
This takes a significant amount of work away from managers while also making things much more transparent for employees.
Because hospitality jobs often involve unexpected work hours, this feature of labor management systems is especially beneficial for hospitality managers.
Human Resources and Workforce Management Software
Managers and employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from a switch to a modern solution for workforce management.
Human resources staff members receive unparalleled access to data about employees’ work history, habits and time worked. This can make it easier to determine sick leave, vacation leave and other benefits that are dependent upon hours worked. Data collected by workforce management (WFM) systems can also be used when it comes to periodic reviews of employees.
In addition to simplifying payroll processes and the accrual of leave, benefits of labor management software include:
- Metrics and analytics
- Ability to track labor compliance and labor standards
- Reducing inefficiencies in scheduling and hiring
Using Labor Metrics to Increase Your Revenue
Labor metrics are items of data such as sales per labor hour, payroll percentage, earned hours and others. In some literature, you will see labor metrics referred to as KPIs (key performance indicators) instead.
No matter what you call them, the use of labor metrics allows managers and their organizations to determine how productive an employee is.
In the hospitality industry, many KPIs are tied to the rooms or other elements of a given property, such as:
- Energy management
- Occupancy rate
- Net revenue per available room (NRevPAR)
- Customer satisfaction
However, in addition to these industry-specific labor metrics, hospitality managers can benefit from reviewing the performance of their employees in the following areas:
- Labor costs as a percentage of sales
- Employee performance
- Hours worked per employee
- Upgrades sold per employee
A labor management system can collect this data for you automatically, and many even include built-in analytics tools you can use to build reports on your team’s performance. You can then use this automatically gathered data to more efficiently calculate other, property-specific metrics.
Keep Labor Costs Low by Reducing Inefficiencies
Because labor management systems track employee schedules and hours worked as well as other data from your organization’s systems, you can easily and quickly find inefficiencies in your scheduling practices by analyzing any desired labor metrics.
For example, if your hotel regularly experiences a large number of transactions at a certain hour of the day, you can easily see this. You can then cross-reference it with your typical schedule for that time of day and determine whether or not you have too many or too few employees available.
Of course, no system is a replacement for the expertise of a manager and their staff. All the same, labor management systems are a great way to clear up time and focus on more important matters than scheduling.
Meet or Exceed Relevant Labor Standards
Using an online system to track employee hours also enables you to stay abreast of labor standards like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and any local labor compliance laws.
The U.S. Department of Labor has a fact sheet listing how the FLSA applies to the hospitality industry. Generally speaking, though, common requirements in labor standards and compliance laws include:
- Payment of time-and-a-half for time worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek
- Breaks for meals or rest periods, when required by your state
- Mandatory break time for nursing mothers
- Keeping accurate records of hours worked and wages paid to employees
Because a labor management system automatically tracks hours worked and hours scheduled as well as when employees take breaks, monitoring these requirements and keeping accurate records are both very simple.
It’s worth noting that the FLSA does not mandate night shift differentials, weekend shifts or other issues that may frequently arise in the hospitality industry. Even so, labor management systems make tracking these other issues just as easy.
TimeForge: Smart Labor Management Software for Hospitality Businesses
Ready to take your business’s time management to the next level?
TimeForge offers hosted solutions for timekeeping and other aspects of labor management that can make managing employees easier and more effective. Additionally, because our software is offered as a service, you don’t need to maintain it on a local server and can take advantage of our world-class support team.
Best of all, we’re familiar with the ins and outs of the hospitality industry, and we exceed at matching solutions with the needs of specific organizations and managers. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have about our products by phone, by email or on our website.
If you’re more of a hands-on learner, you can also get started with a free trial right away.
We’re confident you’ll like what you see, and we can’t wait to hear from you!