What is Workforce Management Software? (+Top Rated Solutions)

By Hotel Tech Report

Last updated October 28, 2022

5 min read


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Are you struggling to deliver five-star service with fewer employees than pre-pandemic? Are your labor costs rising faster than ever? You're certainly not alone; many hoteliers are facing labor shortages, high labor costs, and the pressure to do more with less. But it doesn’t have to be that way; workforce management software is the modern technology you need to help you optimize your scheduling process, reduce costly overtime hours, and increase productivity. 

In fact, hotels can expect to save between 3% and 5% on labor costs by using workforce management technology and employee scheduling automation tools.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the ins and outs of workforce management software - how it works, what features it offers, and what benefits it can provide. After reading this article, you’ll be able to make a well-informed decision about implementing workforce management software in your hotel to drive employee engagement, optimize time tracking without the need for timesheets and streamline manual workflows.

What is Workforce Management Software?

If you haven’t heard of workforce management software, maybe you’re familiar with labor management software. Both terms refer to a system that gives you the tools to staff your business effectively, from scheduling and forecasting to timekeeping and payroll. Over time, with inputs like occupancy levels and room night production, a workforce management system will provide staffing forecasts and recommendations that help you reduce labor costs, cut down on overtime, and avoid overstaffing while maintaining the same standard of guest experience.

Why is Workforce Management Software Necessary for Hotels?

Perhaps you or your managers have been setting schedules manually, and that process works decently well. Why should you consider making the switch to workforce management software now? The way people want to work today is very different than in the past, and workforce management software can help you stay relevant and competitive in the job market.

With the growth of the gig economy, many service workers have the option to set their own hours if they work as contractors of companies like Uber, Instacart, or DoorDash. Hospitality businesses must compete with these giants of the gig economy, and hospitality employees want more scheduling flexibility and work-life balance. Similarly, employee preferences have shifted toward instant pay - your staff members don’t want to wait a week or two for their paychecks. Workforce management software provides modern, flexible payroll options that give your employees more control over their finances.

In addition, many hospitality businesses are facing staff shortages and need to deliver the same guest experience with fewer employees. Hoteliers like you must schedule your staff effectively to maximize the skill sets you have working at any given moment. Workforce management software gives you the tools to not only schedule employees for shifts, but to also schedule employees with the best skills and experience for each unique shift.

Key Benefits of Workforce Management Software

Now that we understand why workforce management software is timely, and the benefits it brings to employees, you might be wondering what benefits it can bring to your hotel operations and your bottom line. This technology can add value in several ways:

  • Boost net operating income: Hotels can reduce labor costs by 3-5% by using workforce management software, and that reduction in costs leads to a boost in operating profits.

  • More efficient scheduling process: Managers can spend less time scheduling, since the workforce management software forecasts scheduling needs based on the labor standards you set and your forecasted occupancy.

  • Avoid staffing issues before they happen: Workforce management software can spot inefficiencies so you can address them before encountering an overstaffing situation or unnecessary extra labor costs.

  • Improve GOP and GOPPAR: Reducing overtime and strategically leveraging contractors can grow your gross operating profit per available room. 

  • Higher productivity: Workforce management software gives you insight into productivity metrics like minutes per room spent on cleans broken down by room type and clean type so you can find opportunities for your staff to be more efficient with their time. 

  • Higher net asset value: Any increases to net operating income in turn increase the net asset value of your hotel, a metric that owners and asset managers watch closely.

Features of Workforce Management Software

Workforce management software can deliver significant value to your hotel, but how does it do it? Here are the most critical features of workforce management software:

  • Labor standards: Similar to how your property management system can accommodate stay rules, like maximum occupancy and minimum lengths of stay, your workforce management software can work with your unique staffing requirements. The software usually makes it easy to add these requirements through a wizard-like menu.

  • Integration of operational data: In order to make accurate forecasts and schedules your workforce management software connects to external sources of business intelligence, like your property management system or your accounting software. This data ensures that software’s scheduling recommendations are most efficient and in line with your forecasted occupancy levels.

  • Daily overview of schedules: Managers can get a quick sense of staffing levels and schedules with just a glance thanks to the workforce management software’s dashboards - can easily make changes if needed. General managers, owners, or portfolio-level leaders can also manage dashboards of multiple hotels at once.

  • Timekeeping and payroll integration: Connecting your time and attendance system enables you to monitor overtime, absences, unpaired punches, and tardiness in real-time so you can take action right away.

  • Benchmarking: With comparisons to external data sources, you can contextualize your hotel’s performance with market averages and competitor trends. Similarly, managers working with a portfolio of hotels can compare performance between properties.

  • Mobile-friendliness: Working with your labor management software isn't confined to your desktop computer; most software is mobile-friendly so you can keep a pulse on your staffing levels and productivity even when you’re away from your desk or off-property. In addition, your employees can conveniently access their schedules and request time off from their mobile devices. Most modern workforce management solutions (wfm) will have a mobile app for human capital management on the go knowing that time clocks

  • Hotel-specific functionality: Using a system designed for hospitality businesses will speed up training, onboarding, and daily management.

Top Workforce Management Systems Used in Hospitality

Does a workforce management system seem right for your hotel? Not all systems are created equal, and some have more functionality (and a higher price tag) than others. Start your research process by looking into these top workforce management systems:

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THE PITCH
RATINGS BEST FOR
100 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
Learn More
Using Hotel Effectiveness you can reduce turnover, while getting all rooms available to sell, even in tight labor markets where team members are limited. Hotel Effectiveness® delivers smart labor solutions that counter the unprecedented labor shortage and skyrocketing wage rates.
Product logo
PerfectLabor™ (by Hotel Effectiveness) Scheduling & Labor Management
THE PITCH
RATINGS
100 HT Score
Using Hotel Effectiveness you can reduce turnover, while getting all rooms available to sell, even in tight labor markets where team members are limited. Hotel Effectiveness® delivers smart labor solutions that counter the unprecedented labor shortage and skyrocketing wage rates.
Learn More
Image
THE PITCH
RATINGS BEST FOR
82 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
Learn More
UniFocus is a well-established innovator in labor-management solutions, time and attendance systems, employee engagement and customer satisfaction. Our tools leverage UniFocus's deep well of industry expertise to make easy work of labor forecasting, budgeting, scheduling and compliance.
Product logo
UniFocus Scheduling & Labor Management
THE PITCH
RATINGS
82 HT Score
UniFocus is a well-established innovator in labor-management solutions, time and attendance systems, employee engagement and customer satisfaction. Our tools leverage UniFocus's deep well of industry expertise to make easy work of labor forecasting, budgeting, scheduling and compliance.
Learn More
Image
THE PITCH
RATINGS BEST FOR
96 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
Learn More
M3 Labor Management enables you to monitor daily labor costs with features like attendance tracking utilizing biometrics, and exclusive labor management reporting. You can design custom reports to manage hours and overtime. Oversee daily payroll transactions in real-time through PC and wall-mounted touch screens.
Product logo
M3 (Labor Management) Scheduling & Labor Management
THE PITCH
RATINGS
96 HT Score
M3 Labor Management enables you to monitor daily labor costs with features like attendance tracking utilizing biometrics, and exclusive labor management reporting. You can design custom reports to manage hours and overtime. Oversee daily payroll transactions in real-time through PC and wall-mounted touch screens.
Learn More

How to Choose a Workforce Management System

Before making the final decision on a workforce management system for your hotel, you’ll want to ask some high-impact questions and do a demo with a sales representative. Some systems also offer free trials, which is a great way to get a feel for how the system performs. During your research and selection process, keep these questions in mind:

  • What’s the setup process like? How long does it take, and how much work is required from you? There should be minimal implementation costs, and setup should be able to be completed within 30 days.

  • What training resources are available? Ideally, the system should provide on-demand, self-paced resources that you can use for the initial training and for future new hires.

  • Are there hospitality-specific labor templates available? Even if you choose a system that’s not designed specifically for the hotel industry, a generic workplace management system should have templates for a variety of different businesses, including hotels. These templates will save you time as you configure the system.

  • What reporting is provided? Administrators should be able to customize and schedule reports with real-time data.

Ready to decrease labor costs and increase operational efficiency all while improving the employee experience at your hotel? Workforce management software can be an excellent way to increase operating profit, boost productivity, and drive value for owners.