With its 22 rooms that can accommodate between 10 and 1500 guests, the Lévis Convention and Exhibition Centre is the 4th largest such establishment in the province. The adjacent Four Points Hotel by Sheraton is the perfect place to stay for business travelers.
Maggie Fournier, HR manager, recounts her experience managing some 150 mostly part-time employees.
The Variable Schedule Challenge
Businesses in the events industry have a rather unique challenge: their staffing requirements vary significantly on a day-to-day basis.
To reduce staff redundancies during idle periods, hiring an unusually high number of flexible employees is necessary. Which is exactly what the Lévis Convention and Exhibition Centre does; 70% of its workforce works part-time.
Employee flexibility often translates into irregular availability. Indeed, part-time employees often have a second job or other concerns, such as school. The result? Building the perfect schedule ahead of time is difficult, as there’s always a lot of back-and-forth between the employees and their managers.
Excel, that Outdated Management Solution
As many have before them, the Centre's managers elected to use the Excel spreadsheet as their schedule management tool. In one column, you’d have the employees’ names; in the other, their availability. The schedule was then build piece by piece, much like a jigsaw puzzle, based on staffing needs. Though at first glance a simple process, the initial version of the schedule alone would take more than three hours to create.
Excel isn’t exactly great for scheduling, the information is all cramped up, which makes it really easy to write something in the wrong place.
Various employee requests would then have to be processed throughout the week. Two, sometimes even three versions of the schedule had to be crafted to reflect the changes and mistake fixes made along the way. This process could take up to 8 hours a week, not counting schedule distribution.
Phone calls, emails, text messages, post-its, spoken words. With no streamlined way of communicating their needs, each employee did as they saw fit, which would necessarily lead to omissions and mistakes.
Back then, it was the managers who were responsible for reaching out to those concerned by schedule changes. Unfortunately, the schedule would sometimes be published late in the week, even on Sunday. This gave managers very little time to communicate the changes, which then had to be acknowledged by the employees themselves. Uncertainty prevailed.
Work Satisfaction Is Workforce Retention
In their search for a management solution to replace Excel, the Centre’s managers stumbled upon Agendrix in 2016. One demo later, they were ready to launch their free trial. After a short adjustment period, Maggie realized just how much Agendrix was about to transform their approach to management.
Nowadays, the Centre’s schedules are no longer handled by a single individual; instead, each supervisor is now responsible for their own section. Which makes sense, given that they better understand both their department and their employees’ needs. This is in fact how the company now manages with more flexibility without compromising its activities. Happier employees means less turnover.
Agendrix really lets us connect with our employees. And when we’re flexible with our schedules, they’re more inclined to give us more of their time in return.
Further, now that the employees can always access the latest schedule, there’s no confusion between the different versions anymore. Absenteeism is reduced, and employees no longer show up to work by mistake.
To Communicate Efficiently is to Manage Efficiently
“Are my employees aware of the latest changes?” This dreaded question which once haunted the Centre’s managers is no longer relevant. The moment a new schedule or message is published with Agendrix, the employees concerned are notified. The managers can then check who has seen the schedule or read the messages. No more endless double-checking and confirmation calls every week. And no more uncertainty.
What we like the most is getting to check who looked at their work shifts and messages. It's reassuring.
Employee requests, too, are now managed with Agendrix. On top of preventing omissions and mistakes, the managers are spared those unnecessary conversations. They can now simply verify and approve or decline the requests sent by the employees. Upon approval, the schedule automatically reflects the requested changes, and those concerned are automatically notified of the changes.
A Solid Hiring Argument
Since Agendrix is now part of everyone's day-to-day, Maggie always takes a few minutes to introduce it to new hires. She shows them the interface and explains how the app makes management more flexible. The employees then simply download the app, allowing them to access their schedule on their phone right away.
Reassuring people who aren’t quite used to technology is easy; I tell them even my grandma could figure out Agendrix!