A workforce only performs as well as its management. But adequately managing a workforce is no easy task.
Effective workforce management (WFM) requires deep insight into sophisticated operational metrics such as compliance, attendance, labour costing, scheduling, finance, customer and employee behaviour and feedback, temporal trends, seasonal patterns, and key performance indicators.
Collecting and analyzing this data is particularly challenging in the hospitality industry due to the high volume of internally and externally contracted employees, fluctuations in customer numbers, and the number of shifts and hours worked.
By offering a single, intuitive database to track operational data, WFM software gives organizations an all-in-one opportunity to visualize the way they operate and to streamline their processes.
When an organization has effective, insightful management policies that allow it to function optimally, productivity booms; moral soars, culture thrives, teams become cohesive, customers enjoy their experience, and profits increase.
Here, Gameplan discusses six of the most undeniable benefits of workforce management software;
- Keeping things simple
- Accurate staff predicting by seeing the whole picture
- Increased productivity by facilitating simple communication
- Decreasing the impact of staff turnover and integrating the contingent workforce
- Boosting satisfaction by boosting efficiency
- Cost Cutting
Let’s first clarify what operational data is and why it is so essential to track and monitor an organization’s operational data.
What is Operational Data, and Why is it Important?
Operational data is a record of everything that happens in an organization or business. It is a list of analytical data. It includes anything from;
- Employee sign-in and sign-out times
- Time off and absence
- Shift handovers
- Hiring and firing
- Staff clearance and accessibility levels
- Profit and loss figures
We can better visualize an organizations’ operational data through analogy – cooking a meal at home.
There’s a lot that goes into cooking a home meal;
- What will the meal be?
- How many people is the meal for?
- Where to buy the products and ingredients?
- How much is required of each item?
- How much will it cost?
- Where did the money come from to pay for the meal?
- Who will do the shopping?
- Who will cook the meal?
- Who will do the dishes?
After the meal, we can reflect on the process, and improve future meals by asking questions like:
- Was the meal flavoursome?
- What could have been changed to make the meal better?
- Where could cheaper, better ingredients have been purchased?
- When will we cook the meal again?
It’s relatively easy to track our single meals’ data, because there are few people involved, and it is a unique, isolated event. By doing so, the role of each individual in the process can continually be improved until making even the most complex of meals is a simple, enjoyable experience.
Operational data is much like the list of everything that goes into preparing a meal, but it is for tens, perhaps thousands, of employees and customers, across different sectors, shift after shift, day after day, year after year.
Without having a practical data storage and analysis system, organizations in the hospitality industry risk missing beneficial insights into the way they operate.
By using WFM software, organizations are able to quickly gather long-term, complete data sets which can easily be monitored to improve employee performance and customer experience.
1. Keeping Things Simple
Traditionally, organizations relied on disconnected systems to record and analyse operational data.
Filing discrepancies, human error, lost or incomplete paperwork, staff turnover – issues such as these made streamlining an organization for optimal performance difficult.
By offering a simple, standardized platform to track operational data, WFM software makes it easy for managers and executive staff to recognize how their organization is functioning, and which areas need improvement.
When data handling is made relatively simple, an organization is able to view itself in its entirety and gain valuable insight into modes of operation.
2. Accurate Staff Predicting by Seeing the Whole Picture
One facet of the modern workforce, particularly in the hospitality industry, is the increasingly high percentage of people working on a contingency basis – meaning they work as and when needed.
Deloitte’s 2019 report on global human capital trends reveals that more than 40 per cent of the workforce in the United States is employed on a contingency basis, and more than two-thirds of millennials and Generation Z workers earn side incomes with contingent employment.
This trend requires organizations such as events companies, hospitality establishments, and facility managers, to have efficient, fluid systems in place for predicting when they will need to hire contingent workers. It also means organizations must be prepared to handle internal and external staff in a reliable, effective manner.
By offering managers the opportunity to measure seasonal volume, WFM software enables executives and managers to view their organization with a bird’s eye perspective. Improvements to predicting the hiring requirements of an organization greatly improve staffing efficiency and reduces overheads associated with over or under-hiring contingent workers. Too many workers at an event lead to confusion, miscommunication and reduced customer experience.
An organization is akin to a multicellular organism – many different parts, functioning independently, working towards an end goal. For the organism, the end goal is reproduction and passing on its genes.
For a business in the hospitality industry, the end goal is customer satisfaction and profitability. If an organization or business is unable to observe itself as a whole organism, is unable to make accurate predictions about staffing and preparation, then there is no way for that business to develop, to grow, or to operate at its capacity.
Managers can easily monitor and model staff working times, temporal fluctuations in work volume, employee presentation, service of speed, and interaction with customers. Over long periods of time, these insights help managers to properly predict the staffing needs for various events at different times of the year and boost employee and customer satisfaction and output.
3. Increased Productivity by Facilitating Simple Communication
When employees are happy at work, they are better workers. In fact, some articles report a whopping 58% of people are discontent at work, and thus not functioning nor contributing optimally to their organization.
Communication is one of the leading concerns contributing to employee dissatisfaction. Reports state up to 57 per cent of employees feel like they don’t receive clear directions, and 69 per cent of managers say they are uncomfortable communicating with their employees. Statistics such as these indicate one thing – frustration.
Frustration in the workplace can lead to burnout, resulting in reduced work output, costly employee replacement, a poor working environment and ultimately, poor customer experience.
By making workplaces easier to work in, WFM software encourages employees to be more productive during their time at work, and thus increase the organizations’ culture and employee satisfaction, which knocks on to customer experience.
Not only does WFM software streamline operational data management and analysis, thus increasing productivity, but it offers managers and employees an intuitive, straightforward, non-frustrating way of interacting with the organization.
Managers can assign individual employee’s specific roles and tasks for each shift, and employees can quickly discuss any queries they have with managers without being worrying about contacting managers on a personal number or out of work hours.
By standardizing data handling, WFM protects organizations against staff turnover and employee frustration.
4. Decreasing the Impact of Staff Turnover and Integrating the Contingent Workforce
In the past, times of transition between old staff leaving an organization and new staff arriving were highly problematic and costly due to non-standardized procedures.
Staff turnover is currently at an all-time high across most industries. One study suggested staff turnover rates are as high as 15%, with people constantly changing their careers, roles and life goals. As such, organizations must be robust against staff turnover.
What’s more, the increase in contingent workforces means organizations are constantly seeing new faces at their establishments and events. This means that onboarding processes, and consistency through staff performance, needs to be made as simple and effective as possible as so to deal with old staff leaving and always having new staff.
Using traditional data handling, staff members were indispensable to their role because they necessarily developed their own methods of doing things – their own protocol for processing the operational data of the organization.
As such, staff turnover and employee replacement has traditionally been highly costly to organizations, due to the temporary loss of functionality when trained staff would leave, and costs incurred in training new staff.
WFM software shows organizations trending data and standardized processes for onboarding, and certain software is able to track the work history of individual employees. This provides organizations with vital insight into the experience of an individual and thus assesses that individual’s suitability for hire at any given event.
By offering an intuitive, standardized platform for entering and using operational data, WFM software minimizes the difficult transition period when trained staff leave a role, and new staff enter it. This leads to an overall increase in the efficiency of the organization.
5. Boosting Satisfaction by Boosting Efficiency
Research suggests many businesses operate at under 80 per cent efficiency. Traditional bookkeeping methods, such as managers signing people in and out of work, signing off on timesheets, clearing expenses, and tedious data entry, wasted hours of labour and were not always accurate.
These processes would often involve numerous people for unnecessary amounts of time, leading to staff staying beyond working hours, losing morale, wasting valuable resources that could be allocated elsewhere, and reduced profitability for the organization.
Regardless of the enterprise, data entry is necessary, but with WFM software, and the digitalisation of the process, data entry has been seamlessly automated and revolutionized. The time that is made available, and fewer mistakes made, by easier, more intuitive operational data handling processes help organizations function to much higher, more profitable levels and less dependency on certain people within the organization due to simplified processes.
The digitalisation of the process further offers live access-control and decision-making, further reducing the communication gap between managers and their staff, across different shifts and venues.
6. Cost Cutting
The ultimate goal of any organization is to generate profit by offering a desirable service or product. In many cases, organizations focus on trying to increase revenue to see better profit margins, when lowering costs can be incredibly effective at improving margins.
When appropriately used, WFM software helps organizations reduce their costs by maximizing the individual contributions of each staff member and reducing unnecessary clerical workloads.
An efficient organization may require less working space, meaning overheads on office space can be reduced by renting smaller workspaces. Furthermore, money can be saved by not having to shoulder expensive overtime costs due to time-consuming clerical jobs and paperwork.
Hospitality businesses will benefit significantly by providing the correct amount of staff for each shift or event – too many staff means the company dispenses unnecessary salaries and loses employee productivity, but not having enough staff reduces the capacity of the business the satisfactorily meet their customers’ expectations.
One aspect of hospitality staffing where such features are urgently required is in minimizing the costs associated with overbooking staff and having reserves incase of understaffing. Staff absence or unexpected customer numbers often mean a certain number of staff are required to be on ‘standby’. WFM software helps organizations reduce these costs by offering accurate prediction models of the required number of staff, and seamless communication with reserves when required.
WFM software lessens the likelihood that managers will make incorrect judgements about functional requirements such as staffing, overtime, and reduces the impact that human error has on HR and bookkeeping data entry tasks.
Ultimately, operating a profitable business depends on maintaining a happy, capable workforce.
On increasingly common grounds, organizations in the hospitality industry must simultaneously manage large, inconsistent workforces, employed on internal and external bases. WFM software equips organizations and managers with the tools they need to do this and to keep their employees happy. This helps the organization optimize its process, which makes more money.