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Time Tracking for Contingent Workers in Hospitality

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No industry has had to grapple with the challenge of managing contingent workers as much as the hospitality industry. Between the constant cycle of seasonal demand and unexpected events from major weather events to increased corporate travel, the benefits of having a flexible, contingent workforce are clear.

Yet the flexibility of using a high number of contingent workers has to be balanced against the potential risks. Otherwise, hotels and restaurants may find the contingent flexibility costly. Using your time tracking and HRMS systems to properly manage contingent workers minimizes the risks while enabling management to maximize their value.


Starting with the Must-dos: Legal Compliance

If a contingent worker isn’t classified properly, it’s impossible to comply with the myriad employment and payroll requirements that apply to that worker’s classification. Not all contingent workers are independent contractors, and others may be employed through third-party staffing companies. Managing this complexity, including tracking hours worked, falls entirely on the hiring company.

Implementing a time keeping system that accounts for different workers’ classifications is essential for paying each worker accurately according to their classification and hours worked.


Managing onboarding costs while maintaining guest service levels

The quality of a company’s onboarding program impacts both its direct costs and long-term retention. HR managers want an effective, comprehensive yet efficient, onboarding program that gets contingent workers ready to clock in and work fast. Learning how to use critical tools like the time tracking system is an indispensable part of onboarding. This puts pressure on the IT staff needs to add and manage new users on the system quickly. The right time-tracking solution provides streamlined workflows that simplify adding, activating and deactivating worker logins. It also must provide an intuitive user interface that requires little to no training to use.

With the high turnover in the hospitality industry, managing onboarding costs while maintaining its effectiveness is critical.


Accommodating fluid and unpredictable work schedules

The on-demand model is a growing aspect of hospitality employment and scheduling. Just as people can call for rides and food on-demand through their phones, there’s an increase in gig-apps for the hospitality industry. Used both to find new recruits and to call in contingent workers already hired based on last-minute needs, they provide new opportunities and complexity to managing schedules and auditing payroll hours.

The potential cost savings due to not over-scheduling shifts could be enormous. Being able to use such an app in conjunction with your time tracking app can also flip the switch regarding on-call shifts. Right now, workers get frustrated with having to be on call for a shift they may never get called into, but still need to leave that time free. This model prevents the worker from being able to commit that time elsewhere, whether to another job or for personal activities. Either way, it’s not a model that boosts worker morale or encourages loyalty to the employer.

In contrast, the on-demand shift model lets the restaurant or hotel easily send a call out to a wide pool of approved workers to see who’s ready, willing and able to come in on short notice. The company can keep the scheduled staffing lean while giving managers the means to staff up as needed in a way that strengthens the relationship between the worker and company. The HR team will certainly enjoy the reduced turnover rate that could result.


Learning from the data

With data collection comes the potential to identify patterns and gain insight that helps companies make changes that have far-reaching impact. For example, analyzing hours worked, schedule adherence and costs associated with hiring workers through a staffing agency may uncover times or departments where it might be most cost-effective to hire directly (or vice versa). Data analysis can help a company understand differences in seasonal rehire rates among departments or locations.

Data analysis doesn’t just happen, and there’s too much data simply to go fishing. LOB and HR managers, with the support of IT staff, can brainstorm to identify what questions to answer to optimize the use of contingent workers. They can also create an internal audit process that ensures contingent workers are being properly classified and paid. Much better (and less expensive) than finding out through an external audit or lawsuit.

While time tracking contingent workers takes more planning and oversight, the potential benefits of a contingent are too large to ignore. Of course, the nature of hospitality workforces makes avoiding contingent workers impossible. It only makes sense to implement a time tracking solution that helps maximize their value.

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