Roster staff problem in the hotel industry or also known as the hospitality industry; labor related elements are different than in other types of organizations. This is a profession, that focusses on the happiness of the client and rendering of a service. Perfect attention to detail is expected and dedication to guests needs given 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. The customer always has the last say as is good business practice, especially in this type of industry. You don’t want your customer to walk out of your business and make that ‘last say’ a negative one towards the outside world.
It is imperative that personnel from all affected departments, be on standby at all hours of the day. The only way of achieving this, is to publish departmental rosters for your staff to adhere to. Strict policies must be in-place, as well as remedial plans in the event that staff are absent from work. Good planning is essential for any roster staff problem to be effective and this not only includes daily duties, but also staff morale, budgeting for busy periods or slow periods and effectively taking last minute steps to correct situations that are unexpected.
The effects of management’s decisions always has a impact on the bottom-line. Managers therefore need to ensure, that correct measures are put in place and that communication with staff is fair and honest. It is more positive to ensure that your staff are well aware of important matters, than to surprise them at the last minute. Being in this around-the-clock industry also means that there is little time to attend things that ‘normal’ workers do, thus it is satisfying when you have some indication of when you can make plans or not. Indicating to the literature that has been reviewed, this matter will be investigated further.
1. Identification of a Problem
During this review, the effects will be investigated, of publicizing a roster one month in advance. Will this create a better modus operandi for the business? Or is it going to be a hurdle in the path to success? Decision will also be made on the literature included and discussed accordingly.
2.1 Independent Variable – Staff Needs and Employee Satisfaction
Working in a shift environment has both positive and negative factors attached. Managers tend to think that staff unjustly complains about strenuous shifts and not getting enough rest. Managers that had to work their way up the ranks might have a better understanding and compassion for staff complaints of this nature. But medically there is proof as per Stellman, Jeanne: “Many guest service employees work shifts that can vary according to the level of daily hotel occupancy. Staff members may be required to work both day and evening shifts, or split shifts with random days off. Physiological and psychological health effects of shift work can include disturbed sleep patterns, stomach trouble and stress. Staff may also use drugs or medicine as sleeping aids to adjust to unusual work hours Workers should receive training on health hazards related to shift work. Whenever possible workers should have adequate time off between rotating shifts to allow for sleep adjustments” (pg. 98.5) The writer of the medical study points out to factors that have been proven in a medical situation and therefore is substantial to our research. It does point out that persons who are working shifts and not using their habitual time of day-night to rest and work, experience problems and this will have an impact on them regardless. All staff working shifts do need roper rest and the body needs to adjust, as is with all new things in life, to a new way of living.
In an effective running business there is always room for improvement and the importance of a satisfactory job environment should not be overlooked. Unfortunately, not all people can be content and happy all the time. Some decisions that management decide upon will be popular with the staff (or some of them) while other decisions will only cause unhappiness and a strenuous period. Staffing figures will also fluctuate and staff that are satisfied with their profession is usually more reliable than somebody that isn’t pleased with their working conditions and the related issues that they have to face on a daily basis.
On factor that can never be fully trusted is that all the staff will be at work, on the time that they are supposed to. The influence of staffing numbers on the rostering will be lesser in load once planning can be made in advance. The system of using a roster one month ahead, gives staff time to prepare themselves for certain busy periods as well as make plans for times when they can relax.
2.2 Dependent Variables – Roster System
According to the book Roster Ready, the claim is made that the roster for hospitality staff, needs to be made well in advance. “Plan your rosters well in advance. Best practise is to give staff as much notice as possible when they are needed to work. Good communication with staff is essential to fill out the rosters based on a regular template and plan a month in advance. You can then increase staffing levels based on known bookings and get clear structure for the week.”(p.4) Your rostering is a tool which you can use to your advantage. The greater you plan ahead, the more you are preparing yourself, as per the same reading: “In addition, planning your rosters gives you the advantage of knowing your costs well in advance – and hence the revenue targets for each shift.” (p.4) In the lines of this writing it is said that communication is essential, and may I add to the satisfaction of the employee. Most employees want to plan their lives and the longer you can plan ahead the better. By having a monthly roster, staff can also change their shifts between them and thus ensuring there is always someone on shift and that the desk, or the room service is not left wanting.
The fact remains that your success only lies with your weakest factor. Communication is of utmost importance and giving it out in advance, also lets your staff have time to absorb the information and request for changes in the event that their request was not performed on the roster. Rostering is as much a communication challenge as a logistical one. You have to be both effectively to deliver rosters that control staff costs and contribute to the bottom line. According to the e-book Recipes for roster success in hospitality: Recipes for roster success in hospitality: “Rostering is as much a communication challenge as a logistical one. You have to be doing both effectively to deliver rosters that control staff costs and contribute to the bottom line.” (pg. 9) Doing some background work and really communicating with your workforce will make the task a lot easier. Staff should be instructed to ensure that they communicate to management about their concerns with the roster. There has to be an open door policy with regards to rostering however, staff should not take unnecessary chances and know that their first priority is with the business. With reference to managers planning their staff according to Gables, Coral “good planning, which allows them to fill their employment needs with the ongoing view, meaning that they do not get caught short handed” (p. 22)
An increasing number of reasons is notable as to why Managers should do their rostering in advance and how many positive reasons there are to follow this method. As per Suttle, Rick: “Managers have more flexibility in giving employees the hours they want with rotating rosters. For example, a hotel manager can assign employees who want to work 40 hours to an occasional mid shift. This helps her better balance the schedule with part-time employees. It may also prevent overtime, as the manager has more leeway in creating the work schedule. Employees also have more flexibility in their daily lives when variously working days and nights. This flexibility can help build employee morale, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.” Giving your staff certain options within the limits of the business demands, can increase staff moral and instil a sense of trust.
In her explanation the author Van Der Wagen, Lynn expresses the importance of planning ahead and communicating to your staff: Consultations is an element of any occupational health an safety program. One area of consultation is roster planning. For employees working shift work, fatigue is a risk factor from both a physical and an emotional point of view. Relationships can be put under strain when one family member works shift work, and this aspect of hospitality work is often cited as a reason for leaving the industry. Accordingly, careful planning of rosters by supervisors and consultation with staff is essential. Staff rosters take into account efficient use of labour, since labour is the hospitality organisation’s most expensive resource. Rosters must meet the requirements of industrial awards and agreements. They must also be equitable (fair) to reduce the possibility of fatigue and burnout.” (p. 175) She also claims in the same breath that: “When planning shifts, a supervisor should take the following steps:…distribute rosters well ahead of time.” (p. 175) Staff levels are one of the most essential methods to ensure that your business is running smoothly. Ensure that your staff are informed to eliminate last minute changes.
3.0 Common Area of Interest
In taking our common denominators into consideration there are certain areas where management and staff are equally positive about the results derived from issuing the roster a month in advance. Planning remains a huge factor in any business and ensuring that you have the numbers you need will have a positive impact on your overall business strategy. If you do not have enough staff after planning your rosters, you can employ temporary staff or hire new staff. At the end of the day the customer has to be happy with the service that they receive and you will find it hard to accomplish if there is a shortage of staff. People want to feel that they matter and ensuring that you have staff that are content is not easy. Reviewing and searching for the material used in this writing has proven more of a challenge than initially thought. Most scholarly sources are only available on sites that you need to pay for to gain entrance. The works that have been used in all fairness gives us an idea of what professionals suggest about rostering and the benefits of having your staff involved for a considerable time ahead.
Writing about the hospitality industry is easier when it comes form someone with the necessary experience. Reviewing the available material proved informative as well as indicative of certain factors that roster staff problem can be used in most business environments. It also highlights the importance of staff satisfaction in maintaining a good employer – employee relationship. Great leadership is required when preparing a roster in advance as employees will try to get away with taking chances but if you display the correct amount of leadership skills, staff will notice that they can only approach you with rostering concerns on valid situations and for concrete reasons.