5 ways to create a fair holiday schedule for your hotel staff
Keeping morale high among your hotel employees requires a lot of time, energy, and thought—however, during the holiday season, it can be especially tricky.
Not only are you experiencing a higher volume of guests than normal, but you also have to figure out whom you’re scheduling and when. Most people aren’t super enthusiastic about working on a holiday—and morale can drop with all the holiday craziness.
These five tips will help you create a fair schedule that’ll keep everyone happy.
1. Ask for Volunteers
First, ask your employees if anyone wants to work on Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year’s. Some people may not have any holiday plans and won’t mind being scheduled on these days.
Furthermore, while you’re not under any legal obligation to offer extra pay for working on holidays, doing so will definitely encourage volunteers.
2. Come Up with a System
If you’re using a policy to determine whose scheduled requests are honored first, make sure your team knows.
Many hotels go by seniority. Those who have been with the hotel the longest get to submit their vacation day choices first, while those who were hired most recently go last.
If most of your employees have been working for comparable lengths of time, consider trying a lottery system.
You could also give preference to the team members who volunteered to work on a holiday. For example, in exchange for working on Christmas, an employee can opt out of New Year’s.
3. Give a Vacation Day Deadline
To ensure that you don’t get any last-minute requests or changes, provide a firm due date for all vacation requests. You should tell your hotel staff that changes won’t be considered after this date. That’ll give you plenty of time to establish a schedule.
4. Honor Religious Conflicts
If an employee’s religion prohibits him or her from working on a holiday, you must accommodate that—unless doing so will cause your hotel “undue financial hardship.” That means it “requires more than ordinary administrative costs, diminishes efficiency in other jobs, infringes on other employees’ job rights or benefits, impairs workplace safety, causes co-workers to carry the accommodated employee’s share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work, or if the proposed accommodation conflicts with another law or regulation.”
In most cases, your hotel won’t undergo undue financial hardship by allowing an employee the day off, so we recommend honoring his or her request.
5. Distribute the Schedule Early
You want your hotel staff to have as much time as possible to make their plans, so as soon as you’ve finalized the schedule, share it with your team. There’s nothing worse than finding out you’re working at the last minute. Your team will definitely appreciate knowing far in advance!