In the event-based business world, owners often have to fill a variety of diverse roles and most of us have to handle our own HR. Scheduling any large event can be a nightmare because it means dealing with a diverse pool of employees who have ever-changing availability. This drain on your time ultimately adds up and can lead to disastrous long-term consequences.
Here is a story that a lot of caterers know all too well: “Fresh Caters” is a three year old business that has recently begun to grow at a rapid pace. With this internal increase, also come external increases – namely – the ability to cover larger events than in years past. The owner has put together a pool of 150 part-time workers to fill positions ranging from server, cook and bartender to housekeeping and general crew.
The owner books a large event at the last minute. It will be a wedding at a private club in just two weeks and require 35 staff members, most of which will be servers and crew. She starts off her scheduling like many still do – on Microsoft Excel – and picks up the phone to dial her workers individually. The first two do not answer. That means she spends 30 seconds for each while waiting for the phone to finish ringing and then 20 more seconds leaving a voicemail which the employees probably won’t listen to anyway. Then it takes her five seconds to find each number on the list. In all, each call she makes takes a minimum of one full minute. In order to call all of her staff, it will take her at least three hours, and she may not even be able to fill all of the open positions.
Beyond this, there are other things that she has to consider. Some of her staff is better than others, and have more seniority. She wants to make sure that those workers are given first choice of shifts. But with so many people on her list, it is very challenging to remember everyone’s individual performance over a large stretch of time.
The owner is eventually able to staff the event, but she does so with several very new employees and one who had been caught drinking on the job (a very common problem in the industry). When her senior servers get wind of the fact that they were not called for the shifts, they feel betrayed and quit. Now the owner has lost two good employees, some of the staff she scheduled is unreliable, and because she spent so much time on the phone, she is behind in the planning of the menu and décor.
The day of the wedding arrives and things don’t go well from the start: the bride wasn’t happy with some of the decorations. The groom didn’t think that the food was being plated properly. Then, the biggest disaster of all struck when the server with the drinking problem spilled food all over one of the bridesmaids.
It’s only a few moments after the event is over that Yelp reviews, Tweets and Facebook statuses come pouring in. A few more events like this one and Fresh Caters will surely be sunk.
All of these problems could have been avoided if the owner had a better handle on their human resources. Luckily, there are programs and web-applications that can help business owners handle their own HR. A simple Google search will turn up tons of options, but before you invest you should dig deep and do the research. What do you want from the software or app?
Most of the scheduling apps out there are little more than a glorified spreadsheet. But a few of them use intelligent algorithms to make the same decisions that a human scheduler would. They even keep track of factors like employee performance and seniority. These aren’t easy to find and the ones that I was able to locate are brand new and seem to be just building their web presence. If you do find them, they will save you untold amounts of time and money by making sure you spend less time behind your desk, and more time doing business. Read more about schedule software at https://bookafy.com.