Case Study: Noah's on the Beach Hotel

Quality Hotel NOAH'S on the Beach is a 90 room (and one suite) 4 star hotel with ocean and harbour views. It has an award winning restaurant: Jonah's On The Beach - open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner where it's possible to spot whales passing by while eating! Also a busy hotel for weddings, meetings and more in its 8 function rooms, this Newcastle hotel has recently been completely renovated.

Overview

Industry:

Hospitality

Number of employees

80-90

Location(s):

Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Ownership

Private

We spoke to:

Lynette Kaiser, Accounts Manager


Project Outline:

Were using: Spreadsheets for rosters (a separate roster prepared by each manager of each of the 8 operational departments). Any requests or changes to rosters written in a diary. Printed out timesheets signed by staff at the beginning and end of every shift (and checked every week by managers). Manual data entry for payroll transferring information. Costs only known after the fact, so no easy way to forecast.

Humanforce Solution

Results

  • Ability to handle staff absences during longer than planned renovation period easily.
  • Payroll processing now takes about an hour down from 5 hours (or 'considerably more some weeks').
  • Any anomalies in rosters and timesheets are flagged up so no mistakes or inaccuracies in payroll.
  • Cost control is real time, and easy to see so every department manager gets accurate information on their staffing costs before they issue a roster so they easily meet targets.
  • Managers feel more connected to their departments and in control of their results.
  • Requests for shift swaps and absence are easily handled by one system for both employees and managers, with instant communication of any changes.

The Full Story

TimeTarget had been making life easier for Noah's Newcastle Beach-based hotel and restaurant for a couple of months when a cyclone tore through the coastal town and damaged the hotel. It was during this period of definitely-not-business-as-usual that Noah's realised TimeTarget's value was even greater than it first appeared.

"We already had extensive renovations planned," explains Lynette Kaiser, Noah's Accounts Manager. "But when the storms hit, the area lost power, and we suffered storm damage inside, as well as outside the hotel." This region of New South Wales was placed into a state of emergency and the hotel closed completely.

"The storms added weeks to our closure period," she says. "Managing the employee repercussions of that would have been a nightmare without TimeTarget. It's been a godsend."

Noah's on the Beach Hotel

Saving hours on the payroll

When Noah's on the Beach, part of the Quality Hotel Group, isn't undergoing renovations it operates with 80-90 staff, most on a casual basis. Lynette was eager to find a way of moving away from the hotel's existing manual system.

"We divide the hotel into 8 operational departments (kitchen, laundry, cleaning etc)," she explains, "and each department has a manager who, pre-TimeTarget, would have to plan individual rosters on a spreadsheet. Timesheets were manual too, pre-printed for staff to physically sign at the start of a shift and again at the end. Then managers would review and sign-off each sheet at week end."

"All of that information was manually entered into our weekly payroll system, and as you can imagine that made things pretty time intensive. I'd say it took at least 3-5 hours to process – considerably more some weeks. Now it takes about an hour. All the data from the timesheets feeds the payroll automatically, we give it a check and rationalise any anomalies the system flags up – and it's done."

No more 'guess the cost'

"The biggest difference," Lynette tells us, "is the cost control. Before TimeTarget, department managers had to wait until the payroll was run for me to be able to tell them what they'd actually spent on staffing. So they were always working on educated guesswork during the week, and only getting the accurate information at a point when they weren't really in a position to do anything about it."

"Now our managers have all the information they need instantly, so they know where their departments are heading in relation to the week's staffing costs, and if necessary they can amend the rostering to bring themselves back on track, instead of finding out after the fact that they missed target."

"The system lets our managers feel more connected to their departments and have more control over the results they achieve."

Replicating rosters and coping with change

"Rostering is so much easier now," enthuses Lynette. "Quite a few of our rosters don't change that much over time, so it's great to be able to duplicate them. And if we do need to make changes, everything is so much more transparent."

"Previously, if staff were unavailable for a shift they'd need to tell us about it in a diary. Managers would check the diary before doing the roster to see who was available. That meant there was always potential to miss something – always the chance of a breakdown in communication."

"Now we feed the changes into the system, it updates immediately, and alerts the people who need to know."

"It's given us real control of our staff costs"

Business as usual

Noah's extended renovations have drastically reduced staffing temporarily, but Lynette knows that once the hotel is back to full capacity, TimeTarget will be ready to help support the relaunch.

"When we open again we'll be on new budgets for the new financial year. We had to cancel a lot of functions after what happened, so we need to rebuild and that means keeping our costs to a minimum."

"Our managers will be tracking progress using TimeTarget and TimeTarget will make that process easy."

TimeTarget. On time.

We looked at quite a few systems but almost none were compatible with Attaché, our payroll software, and we didn't want to have to relearn more systems than we needed," says Lynette. "But TimeTarget was compatible and when we saw it for the first time we were so impressed.

"We needed something that was easy, otherwise our managers wouldn't have used it – it would all have ended back with me. Our managers are experts at what they do but they're not IT specialists, so they needed to understand what they were seeing and doing."

"We first spoke to TimeTarget in December. They gave us a spreadsheet to refine and tailor the system to our needs and we gave that back to them in January. In February they showed the results of what they'd developed and we were live by March. That was completely in line with the timescales they gave us."