Implementing Deputy: The Biggest Franchisee of Holiday Inn Express Hotels in Europe Discusses Their Road to Change

by Deputy Team, 3 minutes read
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During our Liquid Workforce event held in London, Deputy gathered vital players in hotel management operations to discuss how Deputy could help with improving employee retention and recruitment while significantly reducing labour costs. 

Atlas Hotels, the biggest IHG Hotels & Resorts franchisee of Holiday Inn Express Hotels in Europe discussed their road to implementing Deputy, and the business challenges that triggered their digital change management move towards automated rota scheduling.  

dine with deputy atlas hotels

Sub Iyer, Head of Operations - South and David Drummond, Cluster Operations Manager explained to the audience that before implementing Deputy, Atlas Hotels struggled with:

  1. Complicated Excel rotas and duplicate formats which led to communication breakdowns

  2. Inefficient change management - for example all control measures during COVID were delivered via Excel 

  3. It was time-consuming to build and amend rotas 

  4. No central visibility of schedules, timesheets and pay

  5. Lack of reporting

  6. Inconsistent approach

  7. Difficulty in tracking sickness and absence

  8. Consistent comments on engagement survey  around frustrations achieving work-life balance 

These challenges were impacting both employee experience and productivity and led them to look for a tool to:

  1. Improve employee experience

  2. Implement a better tool for standardising and managing staff scheduling 

  3. Build rotas based on structures, forecasting and business needs

  4. Control payroll costs and improve visibility

  5. Connect and integrate better with an HR system

  6. Improve leave management 

After assessing several systems, they selected Deputy and have since been able to implement:

  • Auto-scheduling - moving away from paper rotas and Excel spreadsheets.

  • Bespoke scheduling rules - “Deputy is able to learn from previous shift patterns and create bespoke scheduling rules that allow staff to have better work-life balance e.g the system knows not to schedule an employee in who hasn’t had a weekend off in 4 weeks,” said David. 

  • Visibility of labour costs - “We have a weekly and daily overview of labour costs,” said David. 

  • Auto-approval of timesheets - “This has changed our hotel managers' lives and saved them hours of time,” said David.

  • Auto calculation of key pay conditions - “The system automatically allocates pay conditions to staff - so night pay, Boxing Day, Christmas Day and other special holidays are automatically calculated. Prior to Deputy managers were relying on Excel and human memory to allocate these,” explained David. 

  • Payroll control and submission - “Prior to Deputy payroll processing and submission took 3 hours and now it takes 30 minutes. Deputy’s taken away all the noise of admin work. Managers can now spend time with their team and guests, and not in front of the computer all day,” said Sub Iyer. 

  • Reporting/analytics - “For each hotel, I can get a full suite of data such as the number of holidays taken, sickness requested and the cost of those hours,” said Sub.

  • Improved communication - “We’re very excited about the News Feed feature and use it daily. Historically, a lot of our teams were on WhatsApp groups. News Feed has replaced this and streamlined communication allowing us to share news and updates. You can allow comments or turn it off, and you get automatic read alerts as well to show the updates have been read,” shared Sub. 

Atlas Hotels also offered attendees the opportunity to learn from their implementation process so they could avoid common pitfalls and ensure a smooth transition to a new system.

"Our key challenge was change management. Getting longer-standing employees used to a digital system required a lot of patience, a mix of carrot and stick, and lots of positive reinforcement. We also trialled the new system in a couple of hotels before launching it across all our hotels. This helped us generate word of mouth and create digital champions," said Sub.

“Prior to Deputy the recurring complaints in our Employee Engagement Survey were around a lack of work-life balance. Obviously, we can’t control the external labour market conditions we’re all facing but we can control doing everything we can to make our existing employees happy. And I’m pleased to say that since implementing Deputy those complaints have reduced to 5 comments from 766 employees,” concluded Sub. 

Find out more about how Deputy helped Atlas Hotels (IHG) achieve payroll accuracy and agile shift scheduling across 52 hotel locations using Deputy.