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How Atlas Hotels (IHG) achieved payroll accuracy and agile shift scheduling across 52 hotel locations using Deputy

London, United Kingdom
hotel industry Hotels

At a glance

  • Improved employee wellbeing and experience
  • Transparent communication between teams across 52 hotel branches
  • Fast and agile shift changes

The Story

Atlas Hotels is an award-winning hotel franchise group, with 25 years in business and 2.9 million guests welcomed each year. In addition, they’ve experienced phenomenal growth with an estate of 58 hotels. Deputy is used in 52 of their 58 branches. “We have the determination and resources to grow,” says Sub Iyer, Head of Openings and Transitions.

Atlas Hotels are currently the biggest franchisee of Holiday Inn Express hotels in Europe, operating brands owned by IHG Hotels & Resorts.

"We have the determination and resources to grow."

Atlas Hotels shift scheduling improved Deputy

The Challenge

Prior to Deputy, Atlas Hotels worked with a system that was a bolt-on to their purchasing software. Hotel managers, operations, and finance teams found themselves relying on Excel spreadsheets and there was a lot of confusion around payroll and shift management. 

“It was never really designed for us. It was a very outdated reporting system and it made it very hard to understand. Ultimately at the end of the month, there wasn't any real reporting to give us clarity into our payroll,” says David Drummond, Cluster Operations Manager.  

“People were doing rotas in Excel, and then they were manually copying the rota to reflect what they were doing, then people would go into the old system and manually record time. And they would have to go in and manually approve day by day and then week by week and so on and so forth”, says Joanna Obidzinska-Bushby, Atlas’s Cluster Operations Manager.

“Scheduling was very painful. Rotas needed to be flexibly updated to accommodate last-minute changes. But with the old system, making updates was very time-consuming — as was informing people of the new shift patterns,” says Joanna. 

“We spent 90 minutes building the rota from Excel and then uploading and inputting it into the system. In addition, if there were changes to the shift because of absences, that whole process needed to be repeated again. So we needed a solution that would give us a better user experience and better ways of managing our workforce,” says Sub.

"Scheduling was very painful. Rotas needed to be flexibly updated but making updates was very time-consuming — as was informing people of the new shift patterns."

Deputy Atlas Hotels Case Study

The Solution

So began the search for a new tailor-made solution. The wishlist was deceptively simple.

“It needed to be user friendly, save time, improve our employee wellbeing, make payroll more accurate and look clean and modern,” says Joanna.

“We needed to get away from Excel and WhatsApp groups. We looked at other hospitality workforce management systems on the market but Deputy was the solution that matched our requirements closely,” says Sub.

“We spoke with competitors and other franchisees to find out what they were using, and even though established hospitality workforce management systems were named, their systems seem quite antiquated. Deputy was heads and shoulders above them,” says David.

Benefits and Results

Since implementing Deputy, feedback from employees has been very positive. Sub explains, “The Employee Time Clock has been a big plus. There are no surprises or shocks in their payslip. They know what to expect. The second benefit is greater holiday visibility — they can book directly on the app and see how many days they have available. Staff have a much better view of their rota.”

Deputy’s News Feed is a feature that’s also grown in popularity with Atlas Hotels. It’s helped make communication within the business more efficient and transparent, helping employees returning from time off get up to speed quicker. 

“There’s a lot more transparent communication, and it’s all easier to manage,” says Sub. 

Shift Swapping has also made it easier for hotel staff to trade shifts and ensure every swap is within budget and compliant, avoiding frustrating situations and saving time. 

Payroll is now more streamlined. “We’ve gone from hours to seconds for reporting, showing who’s working at which hotel and payroll reconciliation.  We are now able to update everyone’s payroll inhouse and it takes minutes thanks to Deputy,” says David. 

“Overtime, deduction, sick pay, holidays — Deputy has helped us manage these things better and enabled us to capture the right cost, in the right month,” says Sub.

Deputy’s focus on user experience and approach to partnership were key factors in Atlas’s decision.

“We looked at a lot of potential time and attendance systems that are quite big in the hospitality industry but they were so old-fashioned. Deputy is clean, fresh, modern and easy to navigate. The Deputy team have been adaptable and the customer service has been excellent. We also still interact regularly with the product development team and any issues are fixed quickly. I’ll highly recommend Deputy,” says David.

"We spoke with competitors and Deputy was heads and shoulders above them."

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