Countering the Challenges of Managing a Transient Workforce for Hotels

Even if you haven’t heard the term ‘transient workforce’, chances are you’ve seen it in action. A transient worker – sometimes described as a contingent worker – is typically defined as an individual who works away from a traditional work base, such as a freelancer or contractor. However, in the context of the hotel and hospitality industry, a transient workforce has come to mean a staff who are engaged on a non-permanent basis.

Governed by seasonality, the hotel industry is heavily reliant upon a casual and fluid workforce. And there are certainly positives to employing transient workers; in particular, it allows the hotel to better control labour costs, supplement departments during busy periods, and respond quickly to business opportunities. But it’s not without its challenges.

In this blog post, we take a brief look at those challenges, put forward some solutions, and explain why better management of a transient workforce can deliver tangible business benefits for your hotel.

What are the challenges of utilising a transient workforce?

Given the very nature of a transient workforce, if the underlying organisational structure of your hotel is not up to scratch, things can become quickly chaotic. For instance, staff turnover can be high, which makes the tracking and management of shifts complicated. And if you don’t have the correct systems and processes in place, forecasting labour costs and seasonal fluctuations is nigh on impossible.

Another major challenge of employing a transient workforce is compliance. Employment records, work permits, health and safety certificates; everything needs to be up-to-date and above board. But with such a fluid workforce, the risk of getting caught out remains high.

And this guest post on Sales & Marketing Management asks a very pertinent question: With a transient workforce is there still team spirit? From a culture perspective, this is a very real issue for hotels – how do you get buy-in from staff members who don’t view their job as anything more than a short-term contract?

At-a-glance: Transient Workforce Challenges

  • Tracking and managing shifts
  • Forecasting labour costs
  • Forecasting seasonal fluctuations
  • High levels of staff turnover and absence
  • Lack of team spirit
  • Compliance challenges

What’s the solution?

When it comes to countering the challenges of employing a transient workforce, we believe there are low hanging fruit solutions and a solution that requires a little more reaching.

Where the former is concerned, internal organisation is vitally important and can be vastly improved in a relatively short space of time by introducing the right systems and processes. By standardising workflows and utilising cloud-based technology, you can accurately and effectively track labour costs. You can also take steps towards minimising or eliminating manual processes, such as timesheets, leading to better shift management and resource allocation.

However, the latter solution will require a great deal more work. Once the organisational elements have been addressed, you need to switch your focus to the culture within your hotel. To make the most of employing a transient workforce, you need to empower them with a sense of pride and purpose. Your culture is the glue that holds your staff together, ensuring that they work towards the common goal of delivering high levels of customer service and, ultimately, increased profits.

When your hotel’s staff turnover is high, this can be difficult to achieve. By improving your hotel’s culture, from onboarding new staff, to recognising and rewarding hard work, you can reduce staff turnover and absences, and increase team spirit.

What are the benefits to better management of a transient workforce?

As we mentioned at the start of this blog post, there are some real tangible benefits to improving your management of a transient workforce. These include:

1. Improved standards of customer service

For the hotel and hospitality industry, the importance of word-of-mouth and online reviews simply cannot be understated. By improving organisation and culture within your hotel, you can create an environment in which your staff are committed to delivering a high level of customer service, which will, in turn, improve your hotel’s reputation and drive business.

2. Improved staff job satisfaction

Likewise, an enhanced organisational structure and culture will result in better levels of job satisfaction among your staff. This brings with it the benefits of decreasing staff turnover and reducing costs related to recruitment and training. Keeping your best staff for the duration of their contract will save you money and provide you with a base upon which to grow.

3. Increased profits

Finally, the biggest benefit to improving the management of transient employees is its impact on your profits. High staff turnover is costly, as is recruitment and training, so minimising these costs can boost your bottom line.

Do You Employ Transient Workers? We Can Help

Working closely with a number of hotel and hospitality clients over the years, we’ve witnessed first-hand the changing employment landscape in the UK. As we’ve outlined above, a transient workforce has its benefits and its challenges, and we’ve helped many hotels navigate the pitfalls associated.

We can help you do the same by improving your internal systems and processes, and offering you guidance to enhance your hotel’s culture.

Simply fill out our contact form, or call us on 01228 534371 to get started.