Failing to plan is hurting businesses more than they realise

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5 min read

Failing to plan is hurting businesses more than they realise

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    The Shift Towards Retention – Forward by Planday CEO, Dave Lee

    The Shift Towards Retention is our exclusive, one-of-a-kind, up-to-date deep dive into the state of the hospitality industry today. We commissioned it to try and tackle the biggest problem facing hospitality teams today; staff shortages. 

    By far, it’s more economically viable to retain a great team than it is to hire new members. We’ve already explored the importance of staff happiness at work, cast an eye over the industry’s mental health epidemic and seen why clear career paths matter. In this article, we’re going to investigate the importance of planning, and why only short-term thinking could be holding your business back in the long run.

    This is just an extract from our full paper. Don’t forget, can download The Shift Towards Retention in its entirety for free.

    Failing to plan is hurting businesses more than they realise

    While higher pay would be enough to keep 53% of employees in their current role, for a third of workers, another significant factor is the ability to strike a better work/life balance. At the moment, only 24% of employees get two consecutive days off once every fortnight on average, with one in 10 only getting that every 2-3 months. By not being able to properly recover from work and relax, employees run the risk of burning out quicker.

    The lack of regular breaks demonstrates the importance managers need to start placing on non-financial benefits when trying to retain staff. For instance, 24% of workers say clearer communication on rotas and more advanced notice on shifts would be enough to keep them in their current position. Being able to swap shifts more easily would be enough to keep 21% from leaving their role. Businesses that fail to see the rising importance of this focus on work/life balance will start to lose out to those that do. For instance, 47% of employees cite a good work/ life balance as the most important factor for them when looking for a new job – and 25% demand regular working patterns in their role. Meaning they simply won’t consider any hospitality business that doesn’t offer this.

    But the vast majority of businesses are failing to plan ahead, with 69% of hospitality employees only being given a week or less notice of their next shift pattern. This results in 56% of employees having to cancel personal plans due to last-minute shift changes. The impact of poor planning goes beyond cancelling plans, with 51% of workers stating unpredictable shift patterns mean they rarely know what their monthly take-home pay will be, and 53% suffering from stress and anxiety due to not regularly knowing when they will be needed at work.

    Taking all this into account, 67% of employees believe that having more notice of shift patterns would improve their life. Despite the clear correlation between better planning of shifts and an improved work/life balance, many businesses still rely on outdated approaches to manage their staff’s time. For example, paper rotas are still the most common channel managers use to communicate shift patterns to their staff. Likewise, 53% of hospitality workers rely on messaging platforms like WhatsApp to share availability with their managers.

    These systems quickly become too complicated to manage as co-workers swap shifts between themselves. Likewise, information can become fragmented, with managers needing to draw information from messages, emails and in-person conversations as they develop the next schedule. Meaning important information, such as availability, can be easily missed, incorrect salary payments and managers spend more time processing admin rather than focusing on developing skills. 

    The long term impact of short-term planning 

    For employees, the impact of businesses failing to plan shifts ahead brings a wide range of problems. For instance, 50% report their family becomes stressed as they don’t know when they will be able to see each other next. And irregular shift patterns have kept 52% from taking up hobbies and exercise, which significantly affects their mental health. Over the last 12 months, 47% of workers have experienced disturbed sleep, 44% felt anxious or worried, 42% burnt out and 31% have reported symptoms of depression.

    It is no shock that 68% of employees have considered switching to another industry due to the lack of notice on rotas and unpredictable shift patterns. Clearly, by failing to plan ahead the hospitality industry, and individual businesses, are putting themselves at a disadvantage.

    Being able to plan ahead more efficiently is quickly becoming an essential component of a successful hospitality business. Those that fail to do so will struggle to retain current staff as employees quickly become burnt out and frustrated with schedules that aren’t accurate or fail to give them the flexibility to swap shifts. Likewise, managers’ time is quickly absorbed as they spend time swapping shifts between workers, or trying to find cover last minute. Meaning they can’t spend time doing the work they were actually hired to do. This can quickly lead to poor employee morale and engagement that leads to lower retention rates. Firms looking to avoid this need to find solutions that can address this issue if they are to thrive in the future.

    Download The Shift Towards Retention now

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