Ever wonder why your hotel is consistently over budget for payroll? While there are a few factors that can contribute to this profit loss, the main culprit is oftentimes your employee schedule.
Here are the top five reasons why your employee schedule is losing your hotel money:
1. YOUR MANAGERS ARE SCHEDULING TOO MANY HOURS.
Labor is the single largest cost in operating a hotel. This is why it’s so important to only schedule your employees for the amount of labor that’s actually needed at your hotel. The goal is to accomplish the necessary workload with a minimum number of labor hours while maintaining a high level of service – day in and day out. Believe it or not, most hotels tend to overspend on labor simply because they are scheduling an unnecessary amount of labor hours.
To schedule the right number of labor hours for your hotel, you need to properly plan and forecast. Strong labor standards for every staff position must first be developed so that there is a guide for scheduling effectively. Managers must also forecast their business volume so they can schedule to those labor standards. Without these two components, you’re scheduling blindly and bound to schedule too many employee hours.
2. YOU DON’T HAVE LABOR STANDARDS (OR THEY’RE NOT RIGHT FOR YOUR HOTEL).
Labor standards are essentially a recipe for how to staff every position in a hotel. They are rules that determine how many employees to schedule based on metrics such as occupancy, minutes per room or F&B covers and revenue.
When creating (or improving) your hotel’s labor standards, think about what drives the workload of each position. For housekeepers, it is normally minutes per room; for front desk it might be a combination of occupancy plus arrivals and departures. For F&B positions, it is probably either number of covers or revenue. The key is that it must directly correlate with what drives the work for that position.
Labor standards are the foundation of effective scheduling. If you’re not scheduling your employees to a solid set of labor standards, your labor costs are almost definitely too high.
3. YOUR SCHEDULE ISN’T BEING UPDATED AS BUSINESS VOLUMES CHANGE.
You have to be prepared to make changes to your schedule based on what is actually happening at your hotel during the week. If unexpected events occur (such as a group canceling or booking last minute), be sure to adjust the schedule accordingly. By not doing so, you will either waste labor hours or sacrifice the quality of your customer service depending on the situation.
4. YOU’RE NOT SCHEDULING OPTIMAL START TIMES.
Do dishwashers arrive when the hotel’s restaurant opens? Would it be more efficient to have them come in when there has been some activity, there is more to do and there is a bit of a back-log? This is a much more efficient way to schedule your hotel’s staff.
Similarly, in many instances, the front desk is inactive between 2pm and 4pm. Could the desk shifts be 7am – 2pm and 4pm – 11pm with a manager covering during the break between shifts? This may help free up hours to be used during peak check-in or check-out times as well as reduce labor spend.
5. YOU’RE NOT ENFORCING SCHEDULE COMPLIANCE.
A surprising amount of labor dollars are lost as the result of an employee working extra time without the knowledge of management. This may be the worst type of scheduling issue because it breeds the impression that the employees are in charge instead of the mangers.
To fight schedule compliance issues, you must:
- Make sure your employee handbook clearly documents that all team members must to follow their assigned work schedule.
- Find out why employees are overworking their schedules. Often, the issue is they are unsure about how to prioritize their responsibilities.
- Follow appropriate disciplinary procedures if employees routinely overwork their schedule.
Remember, it’s up to management to determine in and out times for your staff – not an individual employee.