Softworks Blog

Workforce Management for the Hospitality Industry

Posted by Jimmy English on Wed, Aug 9, 2017

The Hospitality Industry at the best of times has a lot of moving parts, and at the worst of times is organized chaos. Managers are constantly on the lookout for new methods of ensuring their Hotel or Restaurant runs as smoothly as possible. For any establishment to perform well, it depends on the ouput of its employees. And what better way to efficiently manage employees than with Workforce Management Solutions. There are several key areas of employee management that benefit greatly from the implementation of Workforce Management Solutions.

  1. Employee scheduling.

Rostering in the Hospitality Industry depends largely on a combination of forecasting guest demand and guesswork. With employee scheduling solutions, hospitality managers can roster employees with flexibility in both their hours and departments they work in. Split shifts are very common in the Hospitality Industry, and are no longer a headache when using eRostering. Scheduling solutions never forget and will automatically schedule an increase in staff levels for typically busy times.

hotel staff.jpg

  1. Absence Management.

Planned and unplanned absences can throw rosters out of whack. Being short staffed can put even more stress on already stretched resources and employees. With absence management solutions for the Hospitality Industry, managers can draft in replacement staff or have additional staff on standby to replace a sick colleague. Absence management solutions are particularly effective for preventing losses as a result of not having enough staff on the floor.

  1. Working Hours compliance.

As with all industries, hospitality employers must comply with the Working Time Directive on the maximum amount of hours an employee can work in one week. Time & Attendance solutions assist employers in the Hospitality Industry to track the working hours and breaks of their employees.  Employers who do not implement compliance procedures for maximum hours are opening themselves up to fines and sanctions.


As you can see there are numerous benefits to introducing Workforce Management Solutions in the Hospitality Industry. Along with improving employee output and efficiency, employers can avoid the situation of being short staffed or over working employees and the negative connotations of both scenarios. 

Find out about the best workforce management solution for Hospitality here, and try a live Demo of Softworks.

Book a Demo

Topics: Labour Scheduling, Working Time Directive, Hospitality, Automated Absence Management, Employee Motivation

What is Workforce Management?

Posted by Jimmy English on Tue, May 2, 2017


What is Workforce Management?

In order for any company or workplace to perform efficiently, there must be a system of organisation in place. Employees should be informed of their designated working hours and the tasks and responsibilities they are assigned to for within these hours. They should also be aware of their holiday and leave entitlements.


For Management, it is important to have visibility on future or anticipated demand and to be in a position to assign the required levels of staff. It is also vital that managers can make allowances for absences; both planned and unplanned.  More and more companies are adopting Workforce Management Systems to assist them in organising, tracking and optimising their employees and output. Specifically, Workforce management solutions allow companies to forecast workload and required staff, track the timekeeping and attendance of their staff and track the various projects across the company.

Let’s take a look at the core elements of Workforce management and how they can be of benefit to you.


Time and Attendance.

Time and Attendance tools allow you to track and analyse employee hours worked. Time and Attendance tools  allow you to build a clear picture of employee time through detailed data and reports on attendance, absenteeism, overtime, flexi-balances, rostering and holiday leave as well as producing real time reports on individual employees.


By implementing online scheduling software and eRostering software, companies can eliminate paper based rosters and reduce the errors that are associated with manually prepared rosters. Online rosters give you visibility of all employees and their hours worked. Most importantly, eRostering enable companies to align staff supply with customer demand, ultimately reducing costs and improving customer experience.

Project Management

Project Management Software allows companies to track employee activity and involvement in relation to ongoing projects. Employers can view the time spent on a project, activity and cost to the project. With Project management software, managers can keep projects within budget and reduce the loss of unaccountable hours and profitability.


The true benefits of Workforce Management Solutions lie in reducing costs, driving efficiencies and increasing the productivity and profitability of your company.


To find out more about Workforce Management Solutions and the many benefits they offer, request a Demo of our Workforce Management tools here.
Request a Free Demo Today!


Topics: Time & Attendance, Project Manager, Labour Scheduling, Rostering, Workforce Management

National Sickie Day - Managing Employee Absence

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Feb 6, 2017

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Today, the first Monday of February 2017, is National Sickie Day. Around 350,000 people across Ireland and the UK will call in sick to work today. While winter colds and flus still linger and some people may have legitimate reasons for being absent, others may not be as genuine. Here are some of the worst excuses people have used to justify their absence:

  1. I need to arrange a birthday party for my dog. We all love our canine friends, but seriously?
  2. I got arrested. Your weekend may have been a heavy one, but not that heavy.
  3. My dog ate my shoes. Was he annoyed that you missed his birthday?
  4. I have no way to get to work. Pull the other one

Unexplained or unplanned employee absence can have a detrimental effect on a business. Understaffed companies will tend to underperform and fail to meet daily goals, resulting in financial loss. Employees will be forced to increase their workload to compensate for their absent co-worker, leading to an increase in stress levels and a drop in production. Other negative effects of unplanned employee absence include overtime costs, dissatisfied customers and employee morale.

If your company is regularly experiencing unplanned absences and you believe a trend is developing, it may be worth your while to investigate Softworks Absence Management Solution. Softworks Absence management solution has been designed to track and manage employee absences, and to ensure that your company is not adversely affected by unplanned employee absences.

By providing accurate real-time attendance information, our solution can help to minimise the negative effects and expense of unplanned absences such as sick leave, as well as assisting to manage leave entitlements such as; maternity, parental, adoptive, carers and force majeure.

Perhaps most importantly, softworks absence management software can help you track and analyse absences and identify trends allowing you to rid your company of absence related costs.

For more information on reducing and managing employee absenteeism and on how Softworks Absence Management solution can help your business, click on the links below!

Learn more about managing absences.

Absence Management Whitepaper

Topics: Time & Attendance, Labour Scheduling, Absenteeism

Many Businesses could learn from the Justice Canada Scheduling & Payroll Fiasco

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Thu, Feb 25, 2016


A CBC investigation recently reported  about a payroll screw-up at Justice Canada that credited several thousand government lawyers with as much as $50 million worth of time off that they didn't deserve due to a multi-year administrative problem dating back to 2007.

According to CBC, the problem arose due the fact that Justice Department lawyers were responsible for entering leave into two different scheduling systems.  When a lawyer entered time off into the first program, they didn’t always update the second one, which was the one that linked to payroll.  In more than 3,700 cases, the payroll software showed the lawyers had unused leave, even though they had already taken it. The situation has set off an administrative and labour-relations nightmare for the Canadian ministry.   


Since first reported by CBC, Justice Canada have issued a statement and stressed that the current value of the leave entries still to be reconciled is estimated to be no more than $3.5M for the period between 2007 and 2013. The reconciliation exercise is still being finalized and no "financial liability" to the Government has been established to date.

Whatever the final figure turns out to be, it’s pretty clear that it’s a situation that no business wants to find themselves embroiled in.  The administrative mess has tied the department in knots, threatening current negotiations for a new labour contract, prompting union grievances and forcing a massive payroll clean up that has taken more than two years. 

This has been a hard lesson for Justice Canada but I think many companies can learn from their experience and it’s worth reviewing the systems that you use to manage your employees Time & Attendance, Scheduling and Absence Management.   At Softworks we are sometimes amazed that there are so many companies out there that still rely on spread sheets, clipboards, notice boards, and from time to time a bit of sweet talking and arm twisting to schedule their employees!

While the majority of medium to large businesses have already automated their core HR functions, many are missing a trick by not automating the areas of Time & Attendance, Scheduling and Absence Management. If this is true in your situation, it’s most definitely an area that you and your organization can benefit from exploring further. The greatest financial cost for any organization is their workforce costs and you need to be all over this.  A fully integrated workforce management solution that includes time & attendance, scheduling, absence management and workforce analytics, can for starters, shave anywhere between 5% and 20% off your organizations payroll costs. Just make sure all your systems are fully integrated so you don't end up in the same situation as Justice Canada.  

Modern workforce management systems can help your organisation not only to cut payroll costs but also to improve performance, while addressing the ultimate goal of contributing to profitability. World class companies today are using WFM solutions to optimise labour planning, scheduling & modelling, respond to union and legislation requirements, track and cost projects and manage planned/unplanned absences and even to implement employee and family friendly initiatives, such as flexible working options. 

If you are thinking of researching this further you might find our free to download and impartial guide useful - Selecting a Workforce Management System - Advice and Tips before you buy

Topics: Time & Attendance, Labour Scheduling, Automated Absence Management

The Key to a Happy Workforce

Posted by Nadine Walsh on Mon, Feb 2, 2015


happy workforce


We all know that saying, find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life. There's nothing I would like more than for everyone I know to be working in a job they love, in a field they are really interested in, surrounded by supportive, talented co-workers. I am generally a positive thinker but the harsh reality behind that statement is that we have bills to pay, the job we love isn't always that easy to find and we all know every office has a nuisance (or two). There are a number of simple steps that will help you on your way to a happier workforce. This one is for you managers, CEOs, presidents and everyone else in charge of someone else's working day. Implement the ideas below now and I promise you will see a difference.


1. Introduce Flexitime.

Its 2015. Our lives are crazier and busier then ever. As it is, most of us spend 25% of our week at work and 34% sleeping leaving just 41% of your week to do the things you like. Plus or minus a family, hobbies, exercise, eating we really are short on time. Just the other day I wanted to kill my Iphone. Just this one device allows me to communicate in over 10 different ways; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Whatsapp, Viber, Imessage, text message, email, call, Facetime... Yes I am ranting but my point is that there is more to life then work, however much we like our job. It will make such a difference to everyone if they can leave ten minutes earlier so that they can make that appointment or take an extra long lunch if its been a particularly stressful day. Remember that your workplace is made up of people, not machines. Being honest, we could all use a bit more flexibility in all areas of our lives so the workplace is a good place to start.

2. Celebrate Moments and People.

If somebody has been in the building for 20 years today, why not send a mass email to all staff and congratulate and thank them. They are choosing to be here and they wouldn't still be here if they weren't important to your company! Something I love about working at Softworks is that there are so many people working here that unless we were obesity advocates, we couldn't possibly have a cake for everyone's birthday. With that in mind our CEO introduced "cake day" where once a month we get in an array of buns and cakes and enjoy them together. Its definitely in the little things, and there is a great sense of fun round the office once everyone realises it's "cake day".

3. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

There is nothing worse than your job taking over your life. I remember years of working in restaurants and the problems the messy schedule brought. I knew I had to get out of the shift work world when I had to miss an award ceremony where I was actually receiving a prize because my manager wouldn't let me reschedule my shift. I also missed birthdays of loved ones, my own birthday and lost a few friends because it. For people like nurses, doctors and many more escaping the 24 hour roster isn't ever going to happen. Set up a system where if needs be co-workers can do a swap. A disappointed and sulking worker is of no benefit to anyone.

4. Hand Over the Power

I cannot stress how important I think Self Service is. Employees, in my opinion should always have access to their own records. I want to be able so see how many hours overtime I have done, I want to check my holiday balance and I want to know how many times I was late or early this month without having to ask HR who will usually pass comment or wonder why I am asking. Don't get me wrong I think every company; big or small should have a HR department. A great HR team is fundamental to every successful company but my roster and my holiday details are the business of my manager and I. Get rid of the middle man.

5. Time to be on Time

We all have great intentions. You all know that amazing feeling when you come out of a productive meeting feeling all motivated because you and your team brainstormed tons of great ideas that could really work. Then you look back on the minutes of the meeting a month or two later no progress has been made and most of the ideas have been tossed aside and forgotten about. Start tracking your projects. Once the whole team can see on a shared screen what needs to be done and who needs to do it, the project will be done in no time. Set a deadline, make a task list, assign responsibility and get on with it. A great idea should never be let slide.


I would love to know your tips too! Feel free to share



Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Labour Scheduling, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working, Working From Home, Rostering, Working Hours, Performance, Happy Workers, The Key To a Happy Workforce

How to create an effective Workforce Management strategy

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

If your organisation is attempting to function without an effective workforce management strategy, they will struggle to achieve the level of productivity, cost effectiveness, flexibility and agility required to compete and adapt to today’s marketplace.

Your workforce management strategy needs to focus on all the activities that are required to
manage and sustain a productive, cost-effective and happy workforce. This means consistent policies and procedures around managing employee time and attendance, scheduling and absences.

Time and attendance Strategy

In today’s highly regulated global economy this is no easy task. Areas such as compliance now extend far beyond local, state, and national borders. The job of ensuring compliance and keeping up to date with legislation and regulations has become increasingly difficult and complex. As more and more organisations are discovering, failure to comply is very serious and can result in hefty fines and legal implications, along with a fall in employee
morale and bad publicity.

It is for these reasons you need to ensure that your organisation has an effective strategy in place for workforce management that includes the areas of; time and attendance tracking, staff scheduling, absence and leave management, regulatory and legislative compliance.

In order to develop an effective workforce management strategy you need to include the following six areas.

1. Standardisation of processes and policies.
2. Automation of time and attendance tracking.
3. Automation of employee scheduling function.
4. Review employee/manager self service options
5. Implementation of proactive absence management procedures.
6. Formalisation of flexible, remote and mobile working strategy.

Let's look at each in a bit more detail.

1. Standardisation of processes & policies

First and foremost you need to standardise your rules and policies. Consistency and transparency is key when it comes to managing employee time and attendance, scheduling and leave. Employees need to clearly understand the processes and policies behind procedures, and be confident that they are being applied fairly across the organisation. Furthermore external organisations need verifiable proof including auditable trails that employers are implementing policies in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

2. Automation of time & attendance tracking

I can’t imagine that there is any organisation out there that wants their managers spending their time managing time sheets to the detriment of managing their team. Particularly, in industries such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare and services. In these technology driven times, it makes no sense not to automate time and attendance tracking. By doing this, you free up departments such as HR, Finance and Operations for more strategic tasks and give your line managers the time they need to manage their team. Furthermore you improve data accuracy, reduce payroll errors and control labour costs. Automating time tracking has been proven time and time again to bring significant and tangible benefits to an organisation.

3. Automation of employee scheduling function

One person too many on a schedule is a costly mistake and in many cases can mean the difference between profit and loss. With automated scheduling you can pre-plan your schedules to optimise your cost revenue ratios. They enable supervisors and managers to accurately create schedules that align labour with forecasted demand, while adhering to company policies and regulatory compliance. Depending on the requirements of your business, you can choose from an out of the box, quick to install web based scheduling solution, to a bespoke real time scheduling & optimisation system.

4. Review employee/manager self service options

If you offer managers and employees self-service facilities you can increase productivity across your entire organisation. Employee self-service enables employees to enter their leave and scheduling requests and then route these requests to the appropriate person for approval. This both empowers employees and gives them greater control over their hours, holidays, shift swap requests etc. Giving employees more control over their working lives, is a proven method of attracting, retaining and motivating them. Furthermore automation reduces the pressure on line managers and improves employee relations as it is viewed as a fair and just system.

5. Implement proactive absence management procedures

Absenteeism is not something that is confined to a few sectors of the economy. It is one of the most persistent obstacles to productivity, profitability and competitiveness. It causes overtime, late deliveries, dissatisfied customers and a decline in employee morale amongst workers who are expected to cover for an absent employee. The indirect costs often exceed the direct cost of absenteeism. In order to manage absenteeism effectively, you need to take a proactive approach. By using an automated solution to manage absence you ensure that you have procedures that are led by senior management, implemented by line managers and monitored throughout the process so that action can be taken at the earliest opportunity. Automated proactive absence management systems provide a solution for the entire workforce by providing real time analysis, streamlining and standardising internal processes and policies and ensuring your organisation is compliant with all relevant regulations and legislation.

6. Formalisation of flexible, remote and mobile working strategy

Businesses today need a flexible and agile workforce, ready to scale up and down as appropriate to cater for the demands of the marketplace. By the same hand employees today are looking for a better work life balance. The so called 9 to 5 or eight hour working day originated out of necessity during the Industrial Revolution in Britain in the 1800s. So much has changed since then in terms of how, when and where we do business, it makes you wonder why so many organisations are holding onto a working day that was created over 200 years ago. To Generation Y-ers, a 9-5 shift can seem like a prison sentence! Flexible working brings many benefits to an organisation including better retention rates, reduced costs and improved productivity. 

An effective Workforce Management strategy will assist you to operate more agilely and make more informed decisions based on actual real time data. Organisations that utilise the latest advances in workforce management technology and implement the tools and processes that assist them to better align employee schedules, activities, and costs with business goals and objectives will be the most likely to experience considerable and measurable gains.

Topics: Time & Attendance, Labour Scheduling, Absenteeism, Business Processes

Time to be On Time!

Posted by Nadine Walsh on Thu, Dec 4, 2014


Win an alarm clock!

1 in 5 people are late to work once a week. Are you?

It can be really difficult to monitor your staffs' comings and goings, but if you don't, those few minutes late for just one worker every day can lead to hours of work missed every month which you may be still paying for. On top of this, frequent lateness contributes to a negative working envoirnment, as other workers will notice the lack of discipline paid to the late comer. Research also highlights that late comers are more distracted and are far more likely to suffer from stress in the workplace. 

Softworks Time and Attendance system is an easy to use, powerful, automated time recording system that captures 100% of your organisation’s rules and work practices. With over 1,000 implementations across the UK, Ireland Canada and USA, Softworks Time and Attendance will help your organisation to build a clear picture of employee time through detailed dashboards, KPI’s, proactive alerts and reports on attendance, absenteeism, overtime, flexi-balances, scheduling and holiday leave. Our systems can shedule alerts to notify managers when an employee arrives late, and allows reporting on an employee's punctuality. 

If 9 - 5 if proving problematic in your envoirnment, Perhaps this be a good time of year to consider implementing flexitime in your workplace. Softworks Flexible Working can assist you to easily manage flexible working hours and family friendly policies, which will in turn assist you to attract, retain and motivate a talented workforce.

Join our #timetobeontime campaign this December to promote a timely workforce in your office. To celebrate we have really annoying alarm clocks to give away. Just register yourself or a collegue who you think needs one. We will also send you our expert tips on time management in your workplace. 


 Click here for more information! 



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Topics: Time & Attendance, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Labour Scheduling, Flexible Working, Working Hours

Rostering - Putting Skills in the Right Places

Posted by Nadine Walsh on Fri, Nov 28, 2014


Roster resized 600


Almost everyone’s heard of the saying ‘Right place, right time’ and when it comes to your workforce, a key element to the successful management of a business is ensuring that you have the right staff in the right place at the right time.

This often comes down to judgement, trusting your manager(s) to roster correctly and assess the possible requirements of their department within set constraints, be it contract terms, working hours, holiday leave, sick leave and so on. Whether it’s a shop floor, a manufacturing plant or a hospital, the demands on staff will change depending on various factors. Whilst these factors are more often than not outside of your control, you can plan effectively to deal with them based on historical data, local knowledge and general trends.

After all that, there is still a time consuming necessity to plan out the rosters based on the business requirements and the staff available. This can often be a frustrating and tedious task, which is subject to change at any given moment. Having an efficient and flexible rostering system can often save multiple hours every week/month as well as ensuring that all regulatory obligations are met. It can also be designed to factor in many of the aforementioned variables which aids in reducing the risk of under staffing at critical times, not to mention ensuring cost effectiveness by controlling resources when they are less needed.


Softworks offers a range of rostering & erostering solutions to make scheduling your workforce as easy and stress free as it should be. Click here for more details.


By Softworks' Head of Finance: Oliver Mitchell, ACA                    Oliver

Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Labour Scheduling, Rostering

Webinar - Fall in love again with your Time & Attendance System

Posted by Nadine Walsh on Tue, Nov 25, 2014


Retail 01ii


Do you find managing areas such as; employee attendance, absenteeism, overtime, flexible working, scheduling, leave, pay rules & policies, compliance etc. a nightmare? Does any of the following sound familiar…?

 You are still calculating your more complex pay rules by hand.
 Your system makes it difficult for managers to approve time.
 Your employees still contact HR to find out the status of their leave requests.
 Your current system is not able to grow with you.
 Your system was chosen without understanding your department’s “actual” needs. 
 You are not getting the benefits you originally expected – doesn’t do what it said on the tin!
 You have multiple locations but no visibility across them.

There is an easier way to work!  Join Andrew Ferguson, Softworks CEO for a live 45 minute webinar on Wednesday 10th December at 3pm GMT/10am EST*.  In this session Andrew will demonstrate what you should expect as standard from your Time & Attendance System.

*Not sure what time this is in you city? Click here to check

Can't attend? Click Here to Register anyway and we will send you on the recording.

Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Compliance, Labour Scheduling, Absenteeism, Absenteeism, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working, Working From Home

Meet the Softworks Team at the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition

Posted by Nadine Walsh on Tue, Nov 4, 2014

Softworks CIPD resized 600


The Softworks team are looking forward to exibiting at the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition this November 5th & 6th. 

Visit our stand to learn about how Softworks Time & Attendance, Scheduling and Absence Management solutions assist companies to organise the working day, in a way that makes them more productive, profitable and add value to their operations. Our highly qualified team will demonstrate how we enable organisations to drive efficiencies, ensure compliance and improve reporting – while promoting a safe, positive working environment.


You will find us at stand 588. Be sure to drop by if you are attending this event and our friendly team will be happy to answer any of your questions plus you'll be able to test-drive the very latest in Workforce Management Technology from Softworks.


We look forward to welcoming you to our stand and hope you enjoy the conference! 

Topics: Conferences, Workforce Solutions, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Labour Scheduling