How an Automated Rota Management could have saved Ryanair

Louise McCosh | 10 October 2017

How an Automated Rota Management could have saved Ryanair

It can be said that rota management is one of the biggest headaches within the hospitality industry. Since Ryanair’s cancelled flights disaster, all eyes are on the UK’s hospitality industry to ensure that nothing of this scale arises anytime soon.

The key employment issues on the back of the Ryanair debacle are:

  • Employers must ensure they have enough resource in place to allow staff to take holidays – it is a statutory entitlement that all staff receive 5.6 week’s (28 days) worth of annual leave entitlement, and whilst Ryanair have offered bonuses and pay rises in return for flexibility, the easier approach is to ensure the resource is there in the first place, alongside management encouraging staff to take holidays throughout the year.
  • It's fair to say that Ryanair’s reputation with their customers has been hugely damaged, but in addition their employer brand has been severely dented – retention of staff over this period will be a sizeable issue for the airline and the attraction of new blood will be an even bigger challenge. Their reputation as an employer will not just impact on pilots, but also the many other staff involved in the successful operation of an airline. Employers should not underestimate the impact of employer brand and should endeavour to ensure the working experience for staff is a positive one.
  • There will be a lot of work needed to rebuild customer trust in Ryanair, and as a business based around customer service, employee engagement is going to be crucial to achieving this. Working to improve employee engagement is a worthwhile exercise for all businesses, but particularly in the customer service sector – your people are the face of your business and when they are happy it improves the overall customer experience and you can’t put a price on that. 

Whilst many will wonder how it got to the stage where 18,000 flights affecting 400,000 people had to be cancelled at an estimated cost of €25 million, employers should consider whether there are learnings for their business, especially for those in the hospitality industry. 

Most importantly, for companies who operate in shift patterns, for instance hotels, building a sustainable approach to rota management and holiday scheduling is crucial. Paper or spreadsheet rotas are predicated on your staffing level staying the same - natural attrition, sickness absence and holidays are all inevitable in any business regardless of industry. In addition, hospitality boasts some of the highest turnover rates out of every industry in the world, particularly within hotels and restaurants, therefore it is paramount that they have scheduling systems in place to effectively respond and monitor changes in employee numbers.

This is why automated rota management is the answer to simplifying complex and error-prone rota schedules. This allows managers to easily schedule shifts based on staff availability. Not only can this improve staff retention rates because managers will be ensuring staff are getting hours they want and will be a less scattergun approach, but we estimate this will save managers 50% of the time they currently spend a rota planning. Moving away from a manual process will help to mitigate human error and overall enhance business performance.

If you would like to find out more simply contact our specialist HR team and see how we can help.

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