In today’s lean hotel industry, managers can’t afford to be desk-bound. They need mobile tools that allow them to manage operational issues immediately and efficiently from any location as they engage with guests and staff. Other factors that will drive demand for mobile in 2015 are regulatory compliance and the rise of app-savvy millennials as a key and growing segment of the labor force. The tech world is responding with mobile solutions that promise to transform the way hotels manage their employees while empowering those employees with the tools to better control their own schedules.
Mobile is becoming more and more prevalent, whether it is through smartphone technology, tablets, or through mobile computing. As the cell phone’s memory capacity has increased, a great deal of information that used to be stored in a computer is now available in the palm of one’s hand. Mobile technology has brought transformative change in the consumer world – social apps have changed how we communicate, ride-sharing apps the way we move across town – and the hotel industry has increasingly been adopting guest-facing mobile technology in response. But mobile also provides the tools to help organizations manage their workforces with greater agility, driving productivity and efficiency, improving employee engagement, and, ultimately, increasing guest satisfaction.
At any given moment, in fact, managers can tap into a wealth of information regarding staffing availability and demand. Through mobile dashboards on their smart phones, they have the ability to approve scheduling requests on the go; create and broadcast messages to ensure a shift is adequately manned; and monitor staffing issues, with automatic alerts to everything from call-ins and late clock-ins to workers who are approaching breaks or going into overtime. As new features are introduced that make these mobile dashboards increasingly customizable, managers can determine the most important and actionable metrics to track.
Mobile workforce management tools can empower these employees to manage their own schedules – to respond quickly to accept, swap or drop shifts; review schedules easily; notify a manager of sick leave; request time off from any place at any time; and, ultimately, create the work-life balance they seek. Scheduling, then, becomes not only more streamlined and flexible but more collaborative, which will be crucial in dealing with a millennial workforce.
Other hotel workers, too, can capitalize on mobile technology to instantly access information they need to deliver high quality service. While today a new housekeeping employee can learn how to properly make a bed by watching a training video on a computer screen, tomorrow, if that housekeeper needs a reminder of the procedure while servicing a room, he or she can bring up the video on a mobile device for a quick refresher. Likewise, front-desk workers can access a video that teaches them how to check in a guest and view it right on their smart phone. Heart of the house staff can learn on the go to support improved performance and operational results.
Already, we’re seeing a shift in some markets to more part-time, more casual employees, and that will be well supported by a mobile information world. A manager who needs five servers for a particular function will be able to broadcast that message out not only to staff but to everyone qualified to do the job. Workers, for their part, will be able to pick their shifts rather than be assigned to them as long as they have the requisite skills.
The opportunities in a mobile environment are so significant that there is minimal downside. In the short term, implementing workforce management mobile technology requires dealing with the divide between those workers with smart phones and those without, between those who have a millennial mindset and those who are used to a more traditional employment structure. But this challenge will resolve itself as smart phones grow ever-more ubiquitous and as baby boomers leave the workforce. There is more and more demand for mobile in the workplace, and companies that implement the technology find their managers and workers embrace it very quickly.
Compliance, scheduling, and understanding performance are all areas that can be optimized in a mobile environment, and 2015 will see continued expansion in these areas.
As published by HotelExecutive.com. The Hotel Business Review is a weekly journal of best practices in hotel management and operations and is available at www.hotelexecutive.com. HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review.
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