Solution Review

Organization

Capitol Host
Washington, DC

Challenges

As Capitol Host expanded, daily employee scheduling became all-consuming for the staffing department, especially with new events emerging continuously. Union contract requirements only added to scheduling complexity

Solution

Celayix eTime Xpress, Voice Xpress and time clocks tie into the company’s proprietary catering software, eliminating duplicate data entry, expediting employee scheduling, and enabling phone-in schedule retrieval for employees.

Benefits

  • Scheduling efficiency saves one full work day each week.
  • Distributing schedules by phone reduced absenteeism from 20-30 percent to a rare occurrence
  • The company grew from $6 million to $10 million in annual revenue without adding to its staffing department
Exclusive Caterer to the U.S. House of Representatives

Located on Washington D.C.’s Capitol Hill, upscale event-planning and catering company Capitol Host has served presidents and heads of state. Whether it’s a casual breakfast buffet or a state dinner with the finest linens and china, Capitol Host is there with gourmet foods that delight both the eye and the palate.

For events to go smoothly, the company must have the right people in the right place at the right time. Yet, with 40 to 50 percent of all events categorized as “pop-ups”—with less than 48 hours notice—catering staff schedules’ are constantly changing.

As a union caterer, Capitol Host’s catering staff schedules also must comply with union rules regarding the types of employees that should fill each position and balancing the number of events worked.

When the company was small, manual employee scheduling and hand-delivering schedules were somewhat manageable. But as Capitol Host expanded to 100 employees, daily staff scheduling became all-consuming for the staffing department, especially with new events emerging continuously.

"We’ve grown from $6 to $10 million in revenue, and still have the same number of people in our staffing department. With Celayix, we can handle more capacity and have time to focus on other things besides scheduling."

Eric Conroy
Director of HR
An Affordable, Integrated Employee Scheduling Solution

The staffing department needed a way to streamline employee scheduling and the delivery of schedules, as well as verify that employees received their schedules. Conroy found Celayix on an online search. The combination of Celayix eTime Xpress, Voice Xpress and time clock solutions would automate employee scheduling, improve attendance, and eliminate the need to hand-deliver schedules. Employees can call anytime to hear real-time schedule information.

“Celayix gave us everything we needed—an affordable solution, the ability for employees to retrieve their own schedules, and integration with our proprietary catering software,” Conroy said.

Within just two weeks, Celayix solutions were up and running at Capitol Host. As event requests come in, the staffing department enters them in the company’s catering system. If the system indicates a need for four people for an event, with the click of a couple of buttons, those same staffing needs show up in eTime Xpress, eliminating double data entry.

In eTime Xpress, the staffing manager can easily see events and the required number of employees, ensuring he always assigns the right number of people.

The software also ensures that the company schedules union employees according to contract requirements. With the business rules engine in eTime Xpress, Capitol Host configured the software to support its specific requirements. For example, all bartender jobs must be assigned to union employees. And “A-list” employees get priority over “B-list” employees in job scheduling. Celayix tracks employee information relative to union contacts, and guides the staffing manager in creating compliant catering staff schedules.

Automated Employee Schedule Retrieval – By Phone

When the staffing manager schedules catering staff for events in Celayix, that information is immediately available for employees to retrieve by phone. With Voice Xpress, they simply call in each day to hear upcoming events for which they are assigned. By transferring schedule notification to employees, Capitol Host can make changes to staff schedules without having to redistribute revised paper schedules each time.

“We commit to employees that we’ll have the schedule ready by 5 p.m., and then it’s up to them to call in for it,” Conroy said. “We shifted the responsibility to them, so all we have to do is get it into the computer. It saves at least one full work day every week.”

eTime Xpress also gives the staffing department a record of when catering staff called for schedules and exactly what they listened to. That reduces disputes or attendance problems because employees can’t claim they didn’t know their assigned events.

Making employee schedules available by phone immediately improved attendance. Previously, the company experienced a no-show rate of about 20 to 30 percent. Now, no-shows are a rare occurrence. Conroy attributes that to complete clarity about staff schedules, and no room for complaints about not receiving schedules.

Time clocks in each Capitol Host building improve attendance tracking. The company has exact clock-in and clock-out times, removing the possibility of rounding up or down that was inherent in handwritten sign-in.

More Capacity with the Same Staff

When questions arise regarding union-compliant scheduling, Capitol Host has an accurate record in eTime Xpress to show that assignments were in accordance with the union contract. If employees file a grievance, the staffing department can print reports in Celayix to demonstrate compliance—critical backup documentation in such meetings.

Celayix reporting also enables Human Resources to pull up overtime, vacation, holiday pay and sick leave accruals that are needed for regular profit and loss (P&L) reports. That further supports union compliance and expedites the creation of P&L statements.

Most essentially, new efficiency with Celayix has enabled Capitol Host to manage employee scheduling and employee attendance for an ever-increasing number of staff without adding to its administrative department.

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