Hotel management would be hard pressed to find a more stressful period than the summer holidays. What better time to head outside the house for somewhere new? For the hotel manager, this signals an influx of patrons, resulting in a need of hiring more staff amongst a plethora of other responsibilities. While great opportunities, and profits, are to be made during this time, your loyal and hardworking staff would love nothing more than to be out and about with their own friends and family. Owners and managers need to handle pleas for more work hours as well as requests for leave; all the while trying to keep every facet of their hotel running smoothly. Challenges in staff management can cause tremendous strife, if not properly considered, so check out the tips below to help get you through this summer.
Transparency is key, be open and honest about your request for leave policy with staff. It is your responsibility to make sure everyone is clear when and for how long staff may take time off. Announce publicly in front of all your staff how things are going to work during the holiday period to avoid confusion at a later date. Do your best to convince employees to take time off before or after the holidays. Highlight blackout dates if you cannot accommodate, and require staff to give notice far in advance if so. Notify seasonal staff of this prior to hiring them to save confusion between everyone. Be firm in telling your staff that requests are just that, requests, and there will be no guarantees. The first come first served rule applies here too. Be fair in delegating time off in respect to seniority and urgency. Your front of house supervisor won’t be impressed if they can’t get time off for their sibling’s wedding because the new bellboy wants to go to a music festival. In saying that, don’t be afraid to cap the number people that can have leave when requests start getting too much.
Being unable to maintain a full roster of workers during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to compromise on customer service or close early. Keep things flexible by adjusting shift work to allow staff the option to work mornings or evenings on any day that suits them best. The point is to stay covered at all times while catering to your employees requests for leave.
Plan ahead and make sure you have taken note of which staff would like more working hours. Part-time staff are normally the ones who want more work during the holiday time when full-time staff request for leave. It’s a good idea to keep a source of part-time workers, so be sure to make full use of this when the time comes. Post a job advertisement in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season and don’t be afraid to ask your full-time staff if they know someone who might be willing for some extra cash.
Speaking of extra cash, offering incentives to your current workers, such as double pay during holiday shifts, can help ensure your business remains fully staffed and at its operational peak.
Ok, so you know who wants more hours. But when exactly is the best time to slot them in? Check your previous sales and labour reports to determine this. A quick look at an upcoming weather forecast and schedule for nearby events is also important to know since it may affect your rush period.
When these rushes come, will these fill-ins be able to cut it? Train staff accordingly to ensure quality service is maintained in line with that of their full-time counterparts. This includes seasonal staff, just don’t go on a hiring spree. Who knows, these seasonal staff may go on to be permanent members of your roster. On the flip side, fill-ins can be utilized to help ensure your key staff can shine their brightest, giving them optimal time for face-to-face interaction with customers. For example, consider hiring extra bell boys so receptionists can focus on the clients and not on servicing baggage. This has the benefit of keeping the lobby clear even on busy days.
The day has arrived. The roster is set and you’ve planned everyone’s work hours. Now comes the micromanagement of employee break time. Everyone needs the chance to switch off for awhile so they can return to their tasks refreshed. Once again, make sure everyone is clear when breaks are to occur and for how long. One example could be to have a couple of ten minute toilet breaks and one half hour lunch break per employee. If staff can’t get fed because the kitchen chefs are smashed with food orders or line-ups are ridiculously long, have some pre-cooked meals ready waiting in the back office. Rotate staff fairly and urge them to return on time, try not to have breaks overlap with others if you can. Avoid having the awkward situation of staff taking breaks in a place where customers might catch sight of them. Managing break-time well will ensure your key customer contact points are not left wanting of excellent service.
Failing to plan is planning to fail, yet even the best-laid plans can fall apart during the holiday madness. Apply Murphy’s law and come up with a contingency plan so you won’t be panicking when something goes wrong. Just think about what kind of situations may throw a spanner in the works, and use your imagination to picture how you might deal with them. This simple trick helps.
Your workers are humans too, so spread the holiday vibes by organizing a dinner gathering or social event just for them to show your appreciation. This can happen either before or after the busy period. It will give you and your team a chance to relax and simply enjoy yourselves.
Give respect and you shall get respect in return. Happy staff who feel valued will be motivated to do a great job. Requesting time off during this crazy period can seem like a nightmare. But as a manager, with a little bit of foresight, you can make it easier for everyone.