How to Make Your Hospitality Staff Scheduling More Effective

by Katie Sawyer, 6 minutes read
HOME blog make your hospitality staff scheduling more effective

Frustrated employees. Shift coverage gaps. Increasing absenteeism. High employee turnover. Increasing customer complaints.

Sound familiar? They’re all symptoms of poor, ineffective scheduling. 

The hospitality industry is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult to work in for employee scheduling complexities. Most businesses employ staff with constantly changing needs, availability, and schedules. 

But putting together an effective schedule is anything but simple. 

In front-of-house, servers want shifts to higher tip income. In back-of-house, chefs need comfortable workstations — which aren’t always guaranteed. 

With a clear schedule, your business will run smoothly, and your staff can work efficiently without feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and frustrated.

Read on to find out how you can make your employee scheduling system effective and transform daily operations for you and your staff.

Schedule for business needs

Source: Pexels

When making an employee schedule, you need to plan to handle the shifting demand during events, holidays, and other seasonal activities by:

  • Calculating the number of employee hours and required level of employee skills  

  • Examining how busy you are at specific times of the day on certain days

  • Checking historical sales data and labor reports to ensure you’re adequately staffed during the quietest and busiest times

For example, if you manage a hotel that regularly does 100 covers on a Monday and a server can do 20 covers in an 8-hour shift, you’ll likely need five servers. 

Keep in mind that some employees are more productive than others, and some tasks — like direct customer service — are uncontrollable and must happen on the spot.

Having all this information in advance means you’ll avoid understaffing and over-staffing — which affect the bottom line, respectively.

You’ll also know when your staff can work, tasks they’re best equipped to complete, and get the optimal mix of skills so you always have a strong team working.

For instance, if you run a restaurant, you’ll not only need cooks, bar staff, servers, but you can schedule a more experienced cook with a newly hired chef to maximize training opportunities for the newest employee.

Assess staffing cost

Once you have a reliable demand forecast, assess the payroll costs to create an optimal schedule balance coverage. 

Consider factors such as: 

  • Employees’ skills and work preferences

  • Your budget

  • Employee pay rates

  • The times you’ll need the most staff to be at work

For example, if you operate a coffee shop, you’ll have more employees during the mornings when you get the highest traffic. Your budget will keep you from spending more money paying workers than you need to. 

Scheduling software takes all your business’s factors and auto-generates schedules that match your staff and business needs.

Schedule for Employee Satisfaction

Source: Deputy

A QuickBooks Time survey found that 76% of workers report being satisfied or very satisfied with their work schedules. However, schedule inconsistencies and challenging work hours that come with it had lower employee satisfaction and impact on their health. 

Below are tips to help you ensure your schedule considers your employees’ health, wellbeing, and balance.

Be as consistent as possible

Fixed employee schedules are not typically possible. Employee productivity improves when they know what to expect in their schedule. 

From the QuickBooks Time survey, employees who work five- to eight-hour shifts say they’re very satisfied with their schedules than those who work longer or shorter shifts. 

One way to accomplish this is to have consistent shifts and days off, where possible. 

Unexpected issues might arise, but that’s part of creating an effective schedule. So don’t be afraid to try new things when those issues come up. 

Encourage employee scheduling collaboration

Source: Pexels

Fifty-six percent of QuickBooks Time’s survey respondents said their employer or manager determines their work schedules. Of those, only 32% say they can choose their schedules while 12% show that clients or customers determine their schedules.

Turnover in the hospitality industry has many negative downstream effects, including spending more time and resources to find, hire, and train new workers.

However, the work shouldn’t always fall on you. Get your staff to do some of the work by encouraging employee scheduling collaboration. 

A scheduling system allows employees to choose their regular shifts or apply for open ones. This reduces no-shows and last-minute time off requests while improving employee engagement and satisfaction. 

Communicate the Schedule

Once you’re happy with the final schedule, send it to your staff. Don’t make them wait until the last day to see the schedule. 

They should be able to access their work schedules early — at least two weeks in advance — and electronically. This way, they know when they’re working, what’s expected of them, and remain accountable.

With a scheduling tool, you can: 

  • Create shift schedules with the right number of workers at the right times

  • Post the work schedule ahead of time 

  • Send instant notifications of the new schedule and future changes to employees’ mobile devices

Schedule for Contingencies

Source: Atlas Business Solutions

Everything can change in seconds. The same is true for your business — and employees. 

Schedule for contingencies and allow more flexibility for staff who suddenly need to deal with sudden changes in their lives. 

Here are some contingency scheduling tips you can use.

Address dhanging needs in real time

If your employee calls out, gets sick, quits, or changes their availability last minute, let them know it’s okay to take some time off of work. 

When something comes up that affects their ability to work, be ready to accommodate the change. Fall back on your list of workers who have enough flexibility in their schedule to take extra shifts. 

You can also implement a policy that allows employees to adjust their schedules by an hour or two when they have life emergencies. 

Scheduling software helps you react quickly and confidently, so you can change employee shifts at a moment’s notice. 

Monitor time and attendance

Source: Pexels

Your work doesn’t stop once you have a working schedule. Analyze it regularly to identify problems and find solutions to improve. 

Monitor and fine-tune your schedule so you can know who’s on time, late, or doesn’t show up for shifts and adjust the schedule accordingly.

Make sure the schedule reflects the latest information about your business’s and employees’ needs. For example, if you extend your opening hours because of a big festive season promotion, account for that in your schedule. 

Get strategic with staff scheduling

Restaurant employee scheduling is a never-ending task, but it doesn’t always have to be a challenge. With the right software and processes in place, you can meet the needs of your business and give your team the flexibility they need to work better. 

Deputy can help you schedule staff to meet demand, capture accurate timesheets, simplify wage and hour compliance, and engage staff to increase performance. 

Ready to take the hassle out of managing your team? Try Deputy for free today.