Managing Labor Costs while Maintaining Quality of Service

Kfar Maccabiah – a natural environment for business and pleasure

Kfar Maccabiah is a unique complex combining a hotel and a convention and event center, which includes 6 event halls, 20 seminar rooms and indoor gardens, and one of the largest sports clubs in Israel. Extending across some 20 acres of lush greenery land, Kfar Maccabiah is located near Ramat Gan’s National Park, the second largest urban park in Israel.

In order to provide an outstanding service experience, the facility employs 570 people, of which 360 are employees, 100 are permanent sub contract workers, 40 are operational staff and 70 are freelance workers.

The Challenges

Like other organizations in the hospitality sector, labor costs are among the highest and most significant, leading to constant conflict between the need to control labor costs on the one hand and the commitment to maintain and improve the service quality which the guests expect on the other.
Labor demands in the hospitality industry are affected by seasonal demand – peak periods of tourism and vacations and the scheduling of parallel events. To anticipate and schedule effectively the staff needed at any given time, managers need to consider the demand for service and the labor costs involved in fulfilling the needs of the expected service. The issue of labor cost optimization is particularly important during the off-season, where intra-day mobility between departments is required.

At Kfar Maccabiah special importance is given to the management of labor costs in each department, and there is even an internal accounting system between departments.
Labor optimization is particularly challenging in departments such as the dining room that serves the hotel guests and caters events. The dining room is run by a professional chef, who puts emphasis on the quality of food and the guests’ service experience, and less importance on labor costs.
Therefore, one of the main challenges is to make the department
managers partners in sharing the responsibility for labor costs and

Another example is the need to calculate accurately the costs of a particular event, such as a conference of 1,000 guests, which takes place in 15 seminar rooms and event halls, includes refreshments during breaks and lunch in the dining room, and requires interdepartmental cooperation and the mobility of many employees from one department to another during the day.

Kfar Maccabiah’s management team acknowledges the impact that employee satisfaction has on guest satisfaction and therefore places importance issues such as employee availability and preferences, compliance with labor regulations and more.

The solution – Synerion Hospitality Suite

Synerion’s new solutions package for the hospitality industry

The new Synerion Hospitality Suite includes:

Scheduling based on staffing needs – Effective and qualitative planning to maintain profitability

“The move to the Synerion Hospitality Suite presented an opportunity to rethink every aspect of workforce management,” explains Sharon Hod, Human Resources Manager.

Most of the changes are due to the new work scheduling, which is based on actual occupancy from the hotel’s management system and planned events. Having all this in hand, you can place the right employee in the right place at the right time.

Using the Synerion Hospitality Suite, you can assign the right number of people to prevent over/under staffing, while loaning employees to other departments for a whole or part of a day. The system also recommends the best-fit employees to be assigned for shift, based on parameters such as employee availability and preferences, type of employee (regular or sub-contract), costs, seniority, monthly hours balance, vacation balance and more.

“Synerion’s new solution changed our mindset – from decisions made after the fact to proactive and reactive decisions.
Managers have become significant partners in decision-making processes – not only are they responsible for their workforce management, but they also share in the responsibility for labor costs and profitability.
The solutions have helped us to maximize our human resources vis-a-vis the tasks”.
Sharon Hod, Human Resources Manager, Kfar Maccabiah

Employees are paid according to a combination of actual attendance and the work schedule.

To comply with labor regulations and collective and individual agreements, Kfar Maccabiah blocked the possibility of scheduling workers other than in accordance with requirements, whether it is a matter of exceeding the number of hours allowed, the number of shifts, time intervals between shifts, the number of consecutive working days, and other parameters set by Kfar Maccabiah.

Using Synerion’s powerful scheduling alerts engine was an opportunity to maximize compliance with local labor laws and regulations for the hospitality market. One of the results was that the management decided to modify schedule to ensure evening workers would start and end their shifts earlier to stay in strict compliance. Consequently, when necessary, a worker may also be released earlier from an evening shift, so that he may be assigned to another shift the next morning. Finally, all managers have aligned with the practice.

A report is generated every day for work schedules – staffing needs – actual staffing, to ensure that the manager has prepared a complete work schedule.

All necessary information is available online, allowing for a real-time response as well as a quick and valid reaction to the changes required

All information needed for ongoing management is available on the manager’s desktop of Synerion Direct. Through the system, managers know who is in and who is absent and are able to respond immediately to the necessary changes. For example, if a replacement is required for an absent employee, the impact on their work schedule is reviewed and updated to ensure that it meets labor regulations.

Using the system, managers check their employees’ attendance sheets each day in order to approve reports and corrections (it is possible to alter and approve data only of the last three days). They are also responsible for ensuring that an employee has not exceeded the number of monthly hours, checking out the distribution of overtime and so on. This prevents “surprises” at the end of the month and enables responses in real time.

Proactive notifications on issues of under/over staffing, deviation from labor laws etc., draw the managers’ attention to issues that require handling and enable drill-down details, down to the level of a specific employee.

Using the system, managers can detect, at an early stage, the gaps between forecast and actual budgetary performance, identify trends in the department, such as overtime, absenteeism, etc., and optimally plan vacations and overtime.

Synerion Hospitality Suite

Every day benefits:

  • Ease of work – user friendly
  • Information availability – everything online
  • Control at the click of a button
  • Ability to observe immediately the impact of any change in the system
  • Push data – notifications of staffing needs versus actual assignment, alerts on under/over staffing, including drill-down capabilities
  • Reports on employees from different departments
  • Easy data retrieval
  • Transparency for employees – monthly reports distributed every month to employees and sub contract workers alike 
  • Time savings.

Organizational benefits:

  • Change in mindset – from making decisions in retrospect, to proactive and real-time reactive decisions
  • Managers become significant partners in decision-making – not only are they responsible for their workforce management, but they also share in the responsibility for labor costs and profitability
  • Optimize labor allocation according to planned tasks
  • Strategic management:
    • Basis for strategic decisions on issues such as additional hiring, overtime, etc.
    • Scenarios such as a balancing revenues and expenses
    • Maintain and understand cost implications to new compliance legislation (minimum wage, employment agreements, etc.)
    • Reviewing work procedures and work hours
    • Ability to track and report monthly expenses (changes / trends)
    • Accurate budgeting.