Starwood Hotels streamlines Workforce Management Processes with ComOps
2000 STAFF-10 PROPERTIES
Leading hotel group Starwood Hotels operates ten properties and employs more than 2000 staff around Australia. Under brands including Sheraton, Four Points,and Westin, the company provides accommodation, dining, and function facilities to tens of thousands of guests each year.
The group relies on ComOps WFM to manage its complex and ever-changing staff rosters and timesheets. With demands in the hospitality sector notoriously difficult to forecast, having a system in place that can deal with constantly shifting staffing requirements has been critical.
Eight Australian properties have adopted ComOps for their payroll and rostering management to a centralised office.
Prior to the roll-out of ComOps WFM across the group’s Australian properties, each hotel relied on a mix of paper-based and manual systems to track staff attendance and generate rosters. While this had worked relatively efficiently, as hotel numbers increased the group realised a better system was required.
After looking at a range of options, ComOps WFM was implemented and has been gradually enhanced through a series of upgrades ever since. Starwood’s Manager of Payroll Services, Geoff Rossiter, says the software has become a critical tool for the group. Linked to the central payroll system, it has streamlined timesheet processing and improved the accuracy of payments to employees.
“Previously we would receive time-sheet information from each property every fortnight,” he says. “We would then have to manually calculate things like award rates and overtime payments before running the payroll. It would take a significant amount of time and be open to unintended errors.”
With ComOps WFM in place, manual rostering and timesheet processes are now a thing of the past for Starwood Hotels. Employees clock on and off their shifts using a finger scanner and all attendance information is automatically integrated to the central payroll system.
ComOps WFM has also improved each hotel’s ability to update staff rosters. If a large number of rooms are suddenly booked, or an unexpected function is scheduled at the last minute, staff numbers can be changed to ensure customer demands are met.
As usage of the ComOps solution has increased throughout the group, the business benefits it delivers have become clear. Rossiter says the central payroll office now receives updated information from the attendance clocks into its time and attendance system every 15 minutes.
“We are essentially getting a picture of exactly what is happening in real time,” he says. “There is no delay in getting attendance details, and the work completed on each shift can be approved and processed as soon as that shift is completed.”
Similarly, once a person finishes their shift, the calculations are completed automatically.
“Previously I had three full-time and one part-time staff covering the processing for four hotels,” says Rossiter. “I now can cover eight hotels with one full-time and two part-time staff. That is a big difference for us when it comes to administrative costs – it’s a 50 percent reduction in full-time equivalent administration staff costs.”
Processing accuracy has also improved with the payroll office regularly reporting rates of 99 per cent. “When you are talking about eight properties and more than 2000 employees, that is pretty impressive,” he says. “While we can’t prevent human error like someone forgetting to clock in and out, we know that people are consistently being paid accurately and on time.”
Because much of the manual processing is now handled by ComOps WFM, payroll staff can spend their time checking for errors rather than entering information into the system. This helps to ensure consistency and keeps mistakes to a bare minimum.
The interface between ComOps WFM and Starwood’s payroll system has also streamlined the process of adding new staff. When a new person starts, their details are automatically captured by ComOps so they can be added to rosters and clock in and out as required.
“Also, each hotel has its own award or enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) in place,” says Rossiter. “This can make the calculation of wage payments even more complex however, ComOps handles it all with ease.”
ComOps has also streamlined the production of reports so senior management can see accurately how the staffing costs at each property are tracking.
“With wages representing one of the largest expenses for each property, proper monitoring is essential. ComOps WFM allows a clear picture to be produced at any point in time as well as forecasting of future spending levels.”
Rossiter says he is confident ComOps will continue to deliver the support required by Starwood as it grows its Australian operations.
“We will be able to bring more properties and staff on with no requirement for further payroll staff to undertake processing,” he says. “ComOps WFM will remain a critical tool for us as we strive to keep our operations as efficient as possible and our customer service at world-class levels.”