Can a restaurant, or any other business for that matter, function without a workforce? Definitely not! Call them workers, employees, staff members, or human resources, but even with a good product or service, no business out there can be able to meet the needs of their customers without a workforce.
It is, therefore, safe to assume that your workforce, whether you operate a restaurant or a superstore, is the backbone of your business. But when we talk of a workforce, we are referring to a well-managed, productive workforce, not just any workforce. And this brings us to a very important question, “What is workforce management?”
Workforce management is an institutional process that maximizes performance and competency levels for an organization. Simply put, workforce management is a set of tools, processes, and procedures used to optimize the productivity of a workforce.
These tools, processes, and procedures involve effectively managing staff schedules, forecasting labor requirements, budgeting, recruiting, data collection, and other activities aimed at maintaining a productive workforce. Workforce management is said to be effective when the right people are in the right place, doing the right thing.
The benefits of effective workforce management include but are not limited to-
1. Employee Scheduling
Employee scheduling is without doubt among the most difficult workforce management processes faced by many restaurant owners and managers today. Incidentally, this is a process that tends to get even more complex and complicated as a business continues to grow or expand, and this is especially true for restaurants that still rely on manual employee scheduling methods.
True, if compared to more advanced scheduling methods, i.e., employee scheduling software, manual scheduling is extremely economical, but it comes with its disadvantages, with the most obvious being the amount of time it takes to put together a schedule that makes sense.
If you are the owner or manager of a restaurant or any other business with employees, chances are that you know how time-consuming paper-based (manual) employee scheduling can get.
The good thing about most workforce management processes, including employee scheduling, is that they can be automated to perform the same exact task faster and more accurately than any human. Automating the scheduling process will not only make scheduling more effective but will also help eliminate payroll errors, reduce labor costs, improve communication, and improve compliance among other benefits.
Not every automating tool/software will offer the benefits mentioned here, but Zip Schedules is a great example of a scheduling tool that has received very encouraging reviews from business owners across the globe.
2. Timekeeping and Attendance
There are many things you can do to improve the bottom-line of your restaurant, and one of them is to improve timekeeping and attendance. After all, time is money, and this is even truer if your restaurant is in its formative stages.
Are your employees always late for work? If yes, are you paying them for work they aren’t doing? If you are, it is your business that is losing out!
Fortunately, this is yet another workforce management process that can be automated to make employee time and attendance tracking easier and more effective. Switching to an automated system, like Zip Clock, will help improve on four things, productivity, oversight, productivity, and compliance.
3. Forecasting and Budgeting
Restaurants, just like other businesses, thrive on preparedness. Some of the things your business is likely to undergo by not having a good forecast include running out of supplies when demand is high or ending up with excess inventory when demand is low.
Another thing that comes with a lack of focus or a poor focus is having too many employees on the ground when business is slow, and having too few workers when demand is high.
The good news is that forecasting, too, can be automated through forecasting tools like Zip Forecast. The main benefit of automating this particular process is improved organization, which, in turn, results in increased customer satisfaction and more profits.
Just like we have seen, workforce management solutions, like Zip Schedules, Zip Clock, and Zip Forecast, provide automated resolutions to workforce management processes. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider investing in these tools if you have done so already.
1. Eliminate Human Error - workforce management solutions or software eliminate errors that are quite common in manual or traditional processes.
2. Increase Employee Satisfaction - a scheduling solution, like Zip Schedules, makes it easy for the manager to review and address employee requests quickly, which increases employee satisfaction. A tool like Zip Clock eliminates payroll errors and quickens the process of payroll preparation which means your employees get their salaries without any delays or complaints.
3. Save Time - automating a process, like scheduling, cuts the time you usually spend on the task by 99% and, therefore, allows you to concentrate on other business issues.
Automating the processes of employee scheduling, time and attendance tracking, and forecasting, comes with extremely useful benefits as you can see, but as we saw at the beginning of this article, employees (read workforce) are the backbone of any business as without them no business owner would be able to meet the needs of his/her customers.
It, therefore, goes without saying that you cannot automate your workforce management processes and neglect the workforce itself. What I’m trying to put across is that even with the best management tools and strategies out there, if your workers are not giving their all to the business, you can as well close shop and try something else.
When your employees have no motivation or enthusiasm, it is your customers who will suffer. For instance, when a customer has a problem, an unmotivated employee is not likely to seek an amicable resolution to the customer’s problem, especially if doing so calls for extra time or effort. If your customers suffer, your business suffers, period!
So, how do you motivate your employees to give their all to the business? Simple, take care of them, listen to their needs, offer them flexible schedules, thank them, appreciate them, acknowledge them, open communication lines, give them regular feedback, offer them resources to help them improve and develop their skills - anything that shows them they are important to the business.
For more information on how workforce management software can improve your business, check out our article on “How to Easily Prepare Restaurant and Business Reports for Success,” which is also on the Hubworks Blog.