How to plan the ideal rota in the hospitality industry

Staff planning in the hospitality sector has many unique challenges. Thanks to often high levels of part-time staff on different hourly rates with different contracts, the seasonal nature of the industry and fluctuating staffing requirements can change from one day to another. Staffing can be challenging, and short notice requirement can prove tricky. However, there are a few steps to create an almost bullet proof rota and by getting this right staffing will become a breeze.

Create your foundation

Before you begin to apply individual staff or teams in your rota plan your work requirements based on expected requirements in a simple framework. This step is not about accuracy but about defining the areas of work and getting an idea of peaks and troughs in workloads. Keep things clear and simple. This task can be done in a simple spreadsheet or with your HR planning software.

Once the foundation has been created break it down or replicate it for different cost centres or areas of operation. In larger establishments with higher numbers of employee’s rotas can get messy and confusing and make budgeting challenging. These first two steps should not be rushed by breaking the rota down into departments, operational areas and roles you can quickly spot the problems of under and over staffing as well as play out certain scenarios. These two simple steps will save you a lot of hard work down the line.

Fine Tuning

Breaking down the shifts into hourly or 3-hourly segments based on the pattern of business. One of the best ways to get a snapshot of your business patterns is to look at your point of sale information. With the information at hand, you can stagger shifts to cover your peak times and avoid confusing shift handover situations. You need to ensure your key areas are always manned, reception in a hotel is an area that needs 24/7 cover in most cases by staff trained in the duties required.

Inside this simple scheduling and overlapping of shifts to create the ideal pattern of staff use based on expected or normal demand you can begin to consider split shifts. No employee particularly likes split shifts as it can mean staying at work while not getting paid. There are instances where spilt shifts are unavoidable, normally with last minute changes but the fine tuning and careful planning of your staff should mean all shifts are adequately covered.

Share and Collaborate

Technology has made sharing of rotas easy and by ensuring your staff all have access to the rota early is vitally important. But it is not just sharing the rotas that has become easier through technology, building the rota has become more inclusive. Self-service payroll and HR systems allow staff members to choose the shifts they want to work or swap shifts with other people online. This saves a great deal of time and plays a big part in keeping staff morale high.

The latest payroll and HR planning software makes planning a rota less of a headache than it used to be. Smart technology is now beginning to play a role in rota planning and with integrated systems with alerts the software can ensure there are no gaps in cover in any operational area.