For most people, nothing says vacation like summer. But for those that work in the hospitality business, summer generally means peak crowds, long days and the need to effectively schedule and manage shifts for full-time, part-time and seasonal employees. According to a 2019 AARP Travel survey, Americans are eager to travel, booking trips for 2019 earlier than in past years. For those who are still in the planning phase for domestic trips, 88 percent have already selected a destination, an increase from 72 percent in 2018.
With this summer’s travel season right around the corner, almost every segment of the hospitality industry – hotels, restaurants, resorts, amusement parks – are in the throes of hiring, on-boarding and scheduling their summer workforce. If done correctly, the business will prevent both overstaffing and understaffing. This can make the difference between a good summer and a great one. As sales continue to climb for hotels, gear, food service, and more, the need for additional staff support grows as well. While planning for optimal summer revenues, employers must ensure a smooth experience to maintain customer satisfaction and retain top talent – to ensure both return the following year.
Fortunately, there are advanced technology solutions that can meet the needs for both the employer and employee. Today’s cloud-based shift scheduling platforms provide a wide range of critical HR functions. Here are five reasons why businesses will benefit from adopting a cloud-based shift scheduling platform:
- Flexibility: Employees are increasingly looking at flexibility and work-life balance as priorities in the workplace. Cloud-based scheduling technology gives employees the autonomy to control and adjust their schedules around personal needs, such as a doctor’s appointment or taking care of family and other loved ones. Having the flexibility to choose specific shifts, put in vacation requests and choose additional hours – all in one simple platform – leads to significantly lower levels of stress as well as increased employee retention, and on the job performance, productivity and engagement. Summer employees looking to earn extra cash will appreciate the autonomy to add shifts to their schedule on their own.
- Clear Communication: With the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, today’s workforce relies on mobile devices, transforming the way employees communicate with their teams and managers in the workplace. Cloud-based scheduling technology offers employees the ability to communicate vacation time requests, shift changes and update availability in real-time directly from their mobile devices, as well as receive instant notifications on-the-go. With the potential for hourly and shift-based assignments to change regularly during the busy summer season, schedules need to be easily accessible and shareable, so both managers and employees are updated instantaneously to ensure smooth operations.
- Avoid Costly Overtime or Understaffing: Summer is a popular time to request time off, and it’s easy to make errors when managing employee schedules using only pen and paper. The previously mentioned 2019 AARP survey shares that more Millennials than Boomers will use all or most of their vacation time (77 percent versus 62 percent). With most companies having a “use it or lose it” PTO policy, for example, accurate and timely employee alerts regarding available vacation time is important for maintaining employee satisfaction and to prevent too many PTO requests happening at the same time. This helps businesses avoid being understaffed or dealing with a costly overtime issue by leveraging smart-scheduling technology. And, with easy and instant access to available workers, last-minute schedule changes no longer have to be stressful.
- Solve Conflicts Before They Happen: Relying solely on spreadsheets, physical calendars and whiteboards to track schedules are not only difficult to manage, especially as the number of employees grow, but also prone to increased errors and shift conflicts. With advanced smart-scheduling features, cloud-based scheduling technology helps resolve conflicts quickly by automatically identifying overlaps, alerting managers and providing up-to-date records of employee availability. In addition, having real-time visibility of the schedule allows managers to identify understaffed busy summer days and manage accordingly, ensuring employees stay satisfied and productive on their shifts.
- Simplicity: Many businesses are still using spreadsheets to schedule their workforce due to integration issues. Leveraging cloud-based technology, businesses can easily and seamlessly integrate staff scheduling platforms with existing business applications and HCM software.
Cloud-based shift scheduling solutions provide an easy-to-use and cost-effective means of managing hourly employees working multiple and overlapping shifts, while eliminating traditional paper schedules and cumbersome spreadsheets. It also offers employers the ability to work in cooperation with their workforce, getting a better feel for individuals’ shift preferences. Employees can instantly communicate changes in their availability, allowing managers to schedule teams according to what works best for everyone.
The 2019 AAA Travel survey notes that nearly 100 million Americans, 4 in 10 U.S. adults, are planning family vacations in 2019, also up from 2018. Don’t let outdated systems and procedures get in your way of making this the best summer season ever.
As an executive in the employee management SaaS industry, Amani brings a deep portfolio of strategic management, operations and leadership experience to the Humanity team, overseeing all corporate operations and developments. Prior to serving as CEO, Amani played an instrumental role in Humanity’s growth and establishing its market position to-date, serving as chief operating officer, vice president of growth and operations, and head of finance and analytics over the past five years.