Earlier this week, we held a fun Valentine's Day contest on Twitter and Facebook. We asked our likers and followers to tell their friends and fellow tweeters about us, and if they did, we entered them into a contest to win an iPad. Of course, we *wanted* to get a bunch more followers and likers out of the deal, but mostly, we wanted to engage and reward the people who are HotSchedules fans.
For the love of all that is business savvy, give your managers and employees the tools, processes, training they need to be successful. Give them a strategic labor management methodology (hint: I know where you can get one). Not only will they win, in the end you will win IN SPADES too.
HotSchedules was pleased to participate in a day of hard work in support of Habitat for Humanity. Several employees devoted their entire Saturday to the effort and found the experience to be both rewarding and fun. The group included Ray Pawlikowski, Gabriel Pryor, Kyle Koytk, Kyle Albright, Raechel Barnes, Mariana Perez, Robert Phillips, Seth Fatzinger, as well as some of their friends and significant others. Thanks to all who volunteered their time and energy for such a great cause!
On Christmas Day, several individuals from HotSchedules joined together to participate in “HotHope” – a program similar to other volunteer projects in which food and clothing is collected and donated to those in need. There was a big internal push for donations during the entire month of December, and a total of $1336.00 and 13 bags of clothes were collected from HotSchedules employees.
A handful of employees spent several hours on Christmas day organizing all the donations, packing them up and delivering them. Special thanks is extended to everyone who participated, and especially those who gave up their time on Christmas day, including; Justin Buckley, Esmer Rodriguez, Will Tung and Sam Ryan. But most of all, huge thanks to Elizabeth Arias for planning and executing this very worthwhile and time consuming project!
Ever worked in a restaurant? Even if you haven’t, chances are you’ve at least eaten in one recently, right? Now see if you can remember your server or your bartender or your host. Got a mental picture? How old were they? More than likely they were young-ish - a teen, 20 or 30-something, even with the average age of hourly staff on the rise.* Those age groups have something in common too – their love of technology. They not only want it, they’ve come to expect to have access to all things electronic pretty much all the time. I mean really, who do you think is sending Apple’s stock through the ceiling?
If that’s the precedent, then why would we continue to ask them to rely on static, often hard copy spreadsheets for their work schedules? Try to imagine being one of them – your manager posts a new schedule, sometimes in the location on a bulletin board that you have to check in person. Either that or you have to call and have someone read to you over the phone. Or maybe your manager sends it to you electronically via your personal email address. Hopefully it didn’t go to your junk folder or an account you closed and forgot to mention.
Once you finally know when you’re scheduled to work, what if you need to request a change? It’s your grandmother’s birthday on Saturday, and you forgot. Worse yet, you requested a particular day off, and your manager forgot or lost the receipt you wrote the request on. Or what if you realize you need some extra cash and want to add some hours? Good luck with that. I feel for ya.
With HotSchedules, you’d never have to deal with such seemingly ridiculous inconveniences. Your schedule can be accessed online or on your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry app as soon as it is posted. Shift trade or pick-up requests can be done instantly from the same device and once manager approved, push right back into the schedule.
The convenience is nice, no? But why, you ask, would a company invest in something like this merely to make working more convenient for hourly staff? While there are a number of labor cost saving benefits that HotSchedules brings to managers and restaurant owners, there is at least one critical benefit that comes just from providing this convenience to your employees: You will be creating a better work culture. Sound fluffy? It isn’t. Here’s why:
1) Positive work cultures increase your sales. I swear it’s true. Who would you rather have serving your customers? Happy, content workers who feel pleased and proud to work for you, or some grouchy, annoyed person who asked for the day off, but didn’t get it because their manager lost their request off? And which of those is more likely to have a better sales day? It's common sense.
2) Positive work cultures improve employee retention. There are about a million scholarly and editorial articles that support this truth, as well as quote the costs to replace employees, but here’s one that hits home for me and it's by the smart folks at People Report: http://www.enewsbuilder.net/peoplereport/e_article000696365.cfm?x=b11,0,w.
It quotes: “One of the most influential agents of change in today’s world is the constant wave of technological innovation… (which) provide a prime opportunity to improve not only the diner’s experience, but that of the employee as well.”
So ditch the spreadsheet and make your company a better place to work!
*Average age of hourly staff workers is now 29, according to Nations Restaurant News: http://nrn.com/article/foodservice-workers-managers-aging-gracefully
I've always known HotSchedules was the Utopia of work places, but now, the rest of the world does too. Recently, HotSchedules was honored as an Austin-based Top Workplace by the Austin American Statesman. This follows our earlier award by the Austin Business Journal as a "Best Place to Work 2011."
Now, for those of you who don't know, the way you get to be one of these places isn't all that easy, and most of the work rests on the backs of your employees. What happens is that the publication invites someone in HR or Marketing to participate by completing a simple form. Once you do, the real fun begins.
First, you have to assign each employee to a department or group of departments, ensuring that no one department has too few people in it. Not enough people and your responses won't be viewable, so when you’re a smaller organization like ours, it’s important to ensure that you have enough people in each bucket.
Next, the entire employee base gets a pretty lengthy survey to complete. Companies have to have a certain percentage of completions to even qualify for the award, so it’s critical that they complete it. But we did great there, with almost 90% of our company responding to the survey. Actually, make that "surveys" since this was the second survey we had done for a Best/Top work place award.
Let's think about that for a minute. In all of Austin, there are lots of companies. Tons, no doubt the bulk, didn't even APPLY for these awards. They knew better. Then there are those who applied, but didn't qualify - either they couldn't mobilize their employees to respond to the survey or the employee responses weren't as glowing as upper management had hoped.
By contrast, 90% of HotSchedules employees were engaged enough to respond, and they responded in a way that ensured a win for the company. That's amazing!
Want to know the secret sauce? The WHY behind our great results? Here’s what I think:
1) HotSchedules’ management team is focused on maintaining its family-oriented culture of FUN.
2) HotSchedules is laser-focused on Service. With a capital S. That plays out in both our customer support team and how we treat each other around here, regardless of title.
3) HotSchedules builds something that really and truly helps people be more productive and efficient and that makes us all feel good about coming to work.
Sappy enough for you? I really believe it. I’m drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid. So sue me. I tell people all the time that this is the Happiest Place on Earth. I can't say that in an official capacity, or Disney might call and ask for their slogan back. But as "corporate" offices go, I have never experienced better.
I want to personally thank each and every employee who responded to those surveys. They really are important and we appreciate the extra time spent on them. You’re the best!