Skip to main content

Red Lion Tackles Buddy Punching, Lack of T&A Standardization

Historically, many hospitality organizations have utilized an antiquated time and attendance system of polling, where there is no real-time mechanism to force daily punch corrections. Alternatives have been few, so for many hotels it became a stopgap process of creating interfaces for forecasting, planning, budgeting and scheduling. At Red Lion Hotels, these components have been seamlessly brought together to create real knowledge in each property, with a standardized view at the corporate level.
Time & attendance standardization
Nearly two years ago, like so many other hospitality organizations, Red Lion Hotels was utilizing a disparate array of time and attendance tracking systems across its portfolio. They began to realize that a standardized time and attendance system was required for their 2,500+ employees that could give management the visibility, ease of use, accountability and cost control that they needed in today’s competitive market.
A project team was assembled to evaluate a variety of time and attendance methodologies, which ranged from manual to spreadsheet and a few out of the box hardware solutions. In total, six different vendors were assessed, including the major players—and even a few providers that nobody had ever heard of. Their top priority was to choose a partner and a technology that could provide the most value.
After performing the necessary due diligence, Red Lion Hotels selected Watson, R.M. Time & Attendance from UniFocus. Their decision was based upon several major factors, such as its interactive smart clock hardware, overall ease-of-use and the fact that it’s designed to be more hospitality-oriented. One of the most attractive benefits is that the touch screens and biometric devices enable management to eliminate the perennial “buddy punching” headache.
Off the ground and running
The kind of company-wide transition that Red Lion Hotels was about to go through is often not easy for associates or management. It required the collaborative efforts of everyone involved in the project and a carefully thought-out timeline. As a result, the implementation process went very smoothly.
Red Lion Hotels installed their time and attendance system at the first property in October 2009. Over the course of the next 18 weeks, the project team then oversaw the large-scale roll-out. The time clocks were shipped in advance to each property so that they could establish connectivity and make certain everything was working properly and according to specifications.
For training, one full day was set aside to familiarize the property administrator with the system and all of the various workforce scenarios, as well as the different applications and reporting capabilities.
A fully centralized and hosted solution
The fact that Red Lion Hotels’ time and attendance system from UniFocus is now centralized and hosted means that there is greater visibility at the corporate level. This gives them the ability to see and process all data from a higher level and have more time to review the information. Best of all, they now have a standardized system for time and attendance tracking across their entire portfolio, rather than having each property on something different, or worse, still using an outdated manual process.
The Watson, R.M. Time & Attendance system utilizes a user-friendly interface that functions as a smart clock and/or integrated staff communication device. An easy-to-use touch screen enables associates to make requests and check their schedules, as well as allow paperless employee authorizations to their timecard; a biometric reader is also included for optimal security.
As a result of the many benefits that the Red Lion Hotels organization gets from their time & attendance system, they continue to hear a lot of positive comments from both administrators and associates.
Key takeaways
It is very important to go through a careful process of evaluation and research before selecting a time and attendance system. Beyond the usual considerations about technological capabilities and standardization, there are also compliance issues and labor laws applicable to each state. These were all taken into consideration prior to making the final decision.
Red Lion Hotels’ time and attendance system and time recording communication clock enables punch control based on integrated schedules, without the need for managers’ overrides. The result is a paperless solution that incorporates punch corrections and measurement to standards, eliminating unauthorized overtime or early punches.
Putting best-of-breed time & attendance technology into the hands of management and associates is the one of the most revolutionary approaches for managing the workforce. The right system will enable an organization to skip much of the guesswork management is usually involved with, actually improve financials and satisfy all the stakeholders—including your associates.
Mark Fielding is the senior accountant for Red Lion Hotels, a western U.S.-based owner of midscale and upscale hotels. Previously Fielding was payroll manager with Columbia Lighting, Inc. He graduated from Whitworth University with a Bachelor of Science in accounting and business management.
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds