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Dear Edie: I can’t find employees, how can Hotel Effectiveness® help me? -- Can't Find Employees

Edie Lowe
Posted by Edie Lowe on June 30, 2021

Dear Can't Find Employees,

Staffing continues to be the number one challenge facing hotels. Hotels are trying to be creative in scheduling, such as using three employees to cover one 8 hour Front Desk shift. Housekeeping is staggering Room Attendant start times to meet the new leisure traveler’s check out demands, and “rolling rooms” to low-occupancy weekdays is becoming a good way to match workloads with available workers.

I had the opportunity to travel a few weeks ago, for both pleasure and business. The experience was relatively the same in both Clearwater and Las Vegas. No stayover cleans, rooms are not ready until after 4:00 pm, all paper is gone from the room -- but my rooms were clean. The one thing I did notice is that because the maintenance staff is overwhelmed keeping up with general maintenance that preventative maintenance tasks are falling behind. On the second night of my trip, my husband couldn’t get the room key to unlock the door. He was informed it would be 30 minutes before someone could come let us in. Once maintenance arrived the master key didn’t work because the batteries were dead. The very nice maintenance person had to return to the maintenance shop to get batteries. We waited an additional 10 minutes to finally get into our room. Maintenance commented this was the fifth door he had replaced batteries in that weekend. This was an excellent example of where sharing team members across multiple hotels would have been helpful.

One solution to the labor shortage is to look to your existing team. In analyzing our data we discovered that fewer than 70% of Front Desk and Housekeeping associates are working 40 hours per week. This may provide hotels within certain markets a unique opportunity to share associates and provide full-time work, and for individual hotels, these extra hours increase the benefits of cross-training team members for greater flexibility. The Housekeeping Department may provide the greatest opportunity within a management company. Finding extra hours from your existing staff can reduce reliance on contract labor and even lead to reductions in overtime. 

Sharing team members across hotels is tricky. Managers call, text, or email other Managers in the market and ask if they can borrow an associate. If a team member is available, the manager has to ask them if they are willing to work at a sister property. Then the two hotels have to reconcile the allocation of hours and costs. This is time-consuming and not a reliable method. 

Hotel Effectiveness® now offers a solution, PerfectLabor™ TeamShare is designed for hotels in cluster markets to share associates. Managers use the “find coverage” feature to search across their own people and the other hotels in their market. Others publish open shifts to the MyHotelTeam® app for easy, self-service “shift pickup” by qualified associates.

Topics: Housekeeping, Labor Costs, Scheduling