Top 5 ways multiple HR systems kill your brand

June 24, 2012 | by Valerie Killifer

The top five ways the use of multiple HR systems negatively impacts restaurant chains is cost, compliance, efficiency, productivity and engagement.

Each five was discussed at length during the recent webinar, "Top 5 ways multiple HR systems are killing your brand," sponsored by and PeopleMatter.

Multiple HR solutions include the range of applicant tracking, labor scheduling and payroll software solutions, among others, that are available to restaurant operators.

"There’s been a big influx of software systems and solutions that are designed to help businesses automate and improve day-to-day operations like hiring, training and scheduling," said Kay Lucas, PeopleMatter's vice president of product development. "But when you’re using a bunch of different systems, nothing connects. So you’re automating your onboarding, and creating weekly schedules is easier, but you can’t share any of that data between those systems. It’s like a silo. Each system is operating separately and isolates all of that data."

What restaurants are seeing now, Lucas said, are all-in-one solutions called talent management platforms, which handle people, processes and paperwork all in one system.

"They’re built from the ground-up, so your hiring, training, scheduling and engagement systems all have the same infrastructure and design. It’s not going to look or work like five different systems because it’s one system," she said.

Cost, compliance and efficiency

In regard to the top five ways multiple systems are hurting brands, each one carries with it either a hard or soft cost, which can sometimes be difficult to quantify. "So, the real damage is how these systems start compounding all of these costs," Lucas said.

Bruce Dodge, regional human resources manager for Apple Sauce Inc., a 78-unit Applebee's franchise, said the company's use of multiple HR systems was a drain on operational and financial resources.

"It’s those soft costs that really start to hurt your brand," he said. "Efficiency, productivity, engagement — you can’t see a specific dollar amount, like a price tag or fine, so they’re a lot harder for employers to measure or quantify."

Compliance also is an ever-increasing issue in the restaurant industry given recent investigations into some major chains' hiring practices.

"It’s extremely difficult to ensure compliance if you’re using a bunch of different systems," Lucas said. "Then you’re also talking about things like a disgruntled team and brand damage. If you do end up having to let go a significant portion of your workforce, which was the case in several of these audits, the burden is going to fall on everyone who’s left. Managers are going to have to focus all of their time on hiring and training, and employees are stuck working a lot more hours, dealing with customers who are unhappy because they’re having to wait longer and service just isn’t as great as it was."

In regard to his Applebee's franchise locations, Dodge said the company has multiple locations in multiple states, which makes compliance even harder to keep track of. Regulations vary from state to state and multiple restaurant managers felt the burden of ensuring employee compliance.

"We just couldn’t guarantee compliance when we were using different systems and relying on managers to manually do this stuff," Dodge said. "The great thing about an integrated platform is we don’t have to worry about any of that now. I know my managers always have the most up-to-date forms and information and that they’re completing tasks the right way in the right timeframes. They’re not wasting time re-keying data from one system to the next, and I’m not spending time worrying that incorrect data entries are going to mess up our payroll or cost us a big fine if we get audited."

Dodge's concerns also crossed over into the area of efficiency.

With multiple systems, data can't be communicated across the entire system, which leads to a communication breakdown of staff.

"An integrated platform helps you connect all of that data, giving you visibility into overall effectiveness and efficiency … so you can see what’s working, what’s not and how everything works together," Lucas said. "Multiple systems also make it difficult to communicate a brand that’s going to appeal to today’s hourly worker. You’re going to have a harder time attracting and engaging Gen Y talent which is going to be the majority of your workforce soon, if it isn’t already."

Having a system that can access social media sites such as Facebook also is an important aspect of using a seamless software solution to appeal to tech-savvy employees.

"If they can’t find you on Facebook, check their schedule from their phone or apply online, you’ve already told them a lot about your brand, and probably even driven away some really good people because of it," Dodge said. "But if you’ve got technology in place that employees can relate to and that makes work more convenient for them, they’re going to feel like you respect and value them … and they’re going to be more engaged in your success."

Click here to download the webinar: Top 5 Ways Multiple HR are Killing Your Brand

Read more about restaurant staffing and training.

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability , Human Resources , Industry Services , Operations Management , Staffing & Training , Systems / Technology

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