As the hospitality industry kick-starts its preparations for a busy Easter season, almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of managers in the sector are bracing themselves for an increase in unexpected absences compared to a normal working week, revealed a new Censuswide survey on behalf of HR and payroll provider MHR.
The survey of managers in the UK hospitality sector was commissioned to gain an insight into how they plan employee rosters in the run up to busy periods and cope with seasonal peaks in demand.
It found over two-thirds (69 per cent) of hospitality managers believe their employees are more likely to call in sick during busy seasonal periods like Easter.
An influx in unexpected absences during busy seasonal periods – when managers must balance employee levels to meet demand and maintain excellent customer service – can prove an administrative headache, with 42 per cent of respondents admitting they find it difficult to manage workforce and rotas over the busy seasonal periods.
The task facing managers is compounded by the fact that 55 per cent are still using paper processes to capture working patterns.
Stuart Price, business analyst at MHR, said: “With Easter falling in late April this year, quickly followed by the peak May bank holiday season, hospitality managers face a real challenge to optimise employee rotas whilst contending with an anticipated spike in unauthorised absences and last-minute holiday requests.
“To make matters worse, the research highlights that managers still don’t have the right tools to help them to effectively plan and manage their people, with many still relying on outdated paper methods to capture work patterns and just under a quarter (22.5%) of managers spending between four and six hours on planning employee rosters.
“Today’s workforce management systems provide the functionality to enforce absence policies fairly and consistently while alerting managers of unauthorised absences and problematic individuals based on historical data so they can create accurate rosters to budget easier and faster.
“Easing the administrative strain facing managers will free up their time to spend on what they do best, which is delivering memorable experiences and excellent customer service.
“To help deter employees from pulling last-minute sickies, managers are also advised to remind them of their responsibilities and outline their absence policy.”