Enhancing the Employee Experience through Digital Tools

Restaurants and hotels can gain a competitive edge in attracting talent and create a workplace where employees feel empowered and engaged
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As job quit rates continue to climb, workers are reassessing their priorities and considering the employee experience they’re looking for following the events of the past 18+ months. In the restaurant and hospitality industry, where turnover has long been a challenge and current labor shortages pose added pressures, there’s a renewed focus on the employee experience. They’re in search of employers who offer flexibility and support when and where they need it, from dynamic scheduling capabilities to healthcare and financial wellness benefits. To compete in a tight talent market, restaurants are turning to technology to elevate the employee experience they offer. 

Tools to Empower Employees 

The adoption of mobile human capital management (HCM) tools has lagged in the restaurant industry, often stemming from the concern that digitizing could add layers of complexity and pose challenges across a multigenerational and multicultural workforce. Though, as the pandemic accelerated the need for restaurants to rely on technology to maintain their workforce operations, employers quickly realized that digitalization can empower employees.

A mobile employee experience is now the norm to seamlessly recruit, onboard, train and manage staff. In fact, it’s an expectation that has only grown as the pandemic leaves a lasting impact on how we connect and share information with others. People have grown more accustomed to using technology, increasing their expectations for employers to offer a mobile employee experience. Conversely, the lack of one is now seen as an employer disadvantage

The benefits of digital transformation extend to owners and employees as well, saving time and adding convenience as they contend with staff shortages. impacting their ability to manage tasks like bookkeeping and payroll. Digitizing back-office functions they may be struggling to keep up with, including bookkeeping and payroll, can alleviate pressure and help employees get to work more quickly. It also provides employees with easier access to important work information such as pay stubs and tax documents, streamlining efforts for both employers and workers.

Fostering Learning & Development

To keep operations running smoothly – especially during times when resources might be limited – managers tend to focus on immediate administrative tasks. While talent development is important, it can fall lower on the list of priorities amid any pressing demands of the day. However, this often creates a vicious cycle – managers lack the time and resources to focus on employee growth, and employee move on to pursue opportunities where they see more opportunity. This turnover cycle then limits time and resources further. The more day-to-day functions that can be taken off managers’ plates, the more time they’ll have to devote to their most valuable resource: their employees.

As managers free up time to devote to the learning and development of their staff, employees skills grow, driving their engagement and better positioning them for success. Higher engagement can, in turn, help reduce turnover. The opposite is also true: When managers spend time on other tasks, they risk revenue opportunity, as development becomes less of a priority and employee engagement lessens as a result.

Restaurant and hotel managers are often employees who were themselves promoted into the role through experience and skills development on the job. However, despite their tenure with their establishment, they might not have had access to a full range of learning and development opportunities to develop the skills needed to engage employees and foster their development.

Providing Benefits with Expediency

As technology helps empower employees, it can also help drive a holistic benefits package that provides the support when and where they need it most.

Offers like cash interview incentives and sign-on bonuses can attract a wider pool of recruits, but the high expectations prospective employees have for employers don’t stop there. Workers are increasingly seeking personalized and comprehensive benefits packages including healthcare and childcare benefits, as well as tuition savings or perks like discounts at notable retailers. However, the ease and speed with which they can access those benefits is just as important as the breadth. To meet these expectations, many restaurants and hotels are leveraging digital HCM marketplaces to customize offerings for their unique workforces and increase both the speed and efficiency with which they can extend those benefits.

While pay will always be a key consideration for talent, many employers are transforming how they pay their workforce to enhance the employee experience further and make them more competitive in the talent market. Some restaurants and hotels offer financial wellness benefits, such as employee savings programs, earned wage access and flexible payment structures. Many are additionally implementing tip-to-card solutions that automate tip payments, which increases the speed with which employees can access their funds, all while solving potential cash shortage issues.

The employee onboarding experience is another important touchpoint for adding value. Given the industry’s traditionally high turnover rate and the resource drain whenever managers must turn to administrative onboarding tasks, automating the onboarding experience can go a long way in streamlining operations and improving productivity. New employees want to get right to work, a goal management shares as well. The alternative to automating the process is to risk losing that highly valued worker to another job opening that might require less time and paperwork.

By leveraging digital tools to enhance the employee experience, restaurants and hotels can gain a competitive edge in attracting talent and create a workplace where employees feel empowered and engaged.   


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Lisa Skelly, Vice President of Product Strategy, ADP

About the Author

Lisa Skelly is Vice President of Product Strategy, ADP. She is responsible for leading Global Enterprise Sales Franchise & Affiliation Strategy for ADP.  Her and her team work to support some of the world’s largest franchise and affiliation brands, providing their franchisees and members with scalable HCM solutions to support their growth and help them navigate compliance. Her responsibilities include sales, strategy, enablement, operations and execution.