The Bar Renard describes itself as a no-holds-barred venue where anything can happen. Yet this detached attitude conceals sound management principles put in place by a manager who truly cares about the well-being of his staff.
It's in fact through the company's former general manager, with whom he keeps in touch, that Étienne discovered Agendrix. Intimately aware of how the app would perfectly meet Étienne’s various management needs – variable schedules, multiple roles, peak hours, etc. – the ex-colleague didn’t hesitate to tell him that “you really need to see this.” Sure enough, it was love at first sight, and the Renard had implemented Agendrix overnight.
Small Management Problems Do Cost Big
As the new general manager, Étienne inherited many a responsibility for various aspects of the company, including personnel and stock management. Over time, he realized that his tools were not exactly adapted to his duties. Indeed, although the good old Excel spreadsheet did the job for the inventory, the same could not be said for scheduling.
The problem with using Excel for schedules is that it’s easy to make mistakes.
Even though the Renard only has twenty-odd employees, several factors make management rather challenging. Given the bar’s pretty busy nature, missing a single employee might overload the kitchen or the bar, for instance. Yet, Étienne’s Excel template had little in the way of error checking. Two extra chefs and a single waiter scheduled by accident? Oops. It’s going to be a long night.
The inconsistent way employee requests were managed only made things worse. Time off, replacement, and other requests were made verbally, by email, or on Facebook, so, misunderstandings happened.
Reply Hazy, Try Again
Due to Facebook's ubiquity, the Renard made it its communication platform of choice. Among other information, work schedules and messages intended for employees were published there. Facebook is no professional environment, however; irrelevant content would often clash with the information published by Étienne, causing omissions and lacking overall seriousness.
The few employees who did not have a Facebook account had to be contacted in some other way, such as by text message or by email. Since sending out the schedules was already time-consuming for Étienne, he could not afford to also communicate every single minute change.
Every Minute Wasted Is a Client That Ain’t
It was during his Agendrix trial that Étienne grasped just how much the app would help him with management. First realization: the latest version of the schedule is always online, and thus always accessible. Étienne can now make updates from anywhere, and even with his phone. His employees get these updates in real time. This newfound flexibility is particularly useful for quickly last-minute problems, whether he's home or on the subway.
If someone tells me we're missing a waiter, it’s easy for me to respond quickly. Everything is at my fingertips.
Second realization: Agendrix responsibilizes employees. Indeed, they’re now in charge of managing their own availabilities and time off or replacement requests using the app. Étienne then receives those requests and approves or declines them after verification. And since all the information is centralized, no more forgetting – and no more micromanagement.
Third realization: the app helps prevent mistakes. Now, it’s no longer possible for Étienne to put a given employee on the schedule twice during the same time period. The schedule overview lets him see at a glance whether his staffing requirements are met.
The employees take good care of Agendrix because they know that using it well benefits them, that they won't have any bad surprise.
Now We're Talking
Agendrix is now considered an essential work tool at the Renard. No need to explain why it's required either; the employees get it right away. They particularly like having access to a schedule they know is up to date and can integrate to Google Agenda or iCalendar. The managers, for their part, no longer have to respond to countless questions resulting from uncertainty.
Further, by managing all communications on a company-specific platform rather than on Facebook, work and personal life don’t overlap. Irrelevant messages and emails no longer compete with any important information shared by the managers. Everything is professional, everything is clear.
Agendrix, if I ever quit, I’m taking you with me.