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    How to Take Managerial Favoritism Out of Play

  • A digital workplace could be the answer restaurants are looking for.

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    Digital workplaces have indirect effects that extend beyond convenience and efficiency.

    Like it or not, it pays for employees to be on their manager’s good side. Whether in the form of more or better shifts, higher schedule flexibility or just a more enjoyable working environment, being the “favorite” of a restaurant manager has major perks. Unfortunately, favoritism doesn’t always equate with efficiency and it exists in almost every workplace. However, emerging technology is helping level the playing field.

    This experience is common across industries, from retail to office jobs. But it’s particularly detrimental for hourly workers who rely on managers for even basic administrative functions like creating their work schedule. In these situations, managers’ power allows them to give more leniency or hand out benefits (consciously or unconsciously) to their favorites.

    Digital workplace software helps detach partiality from the scheduling process in the restaurant industry. Implementing these solutions companywide keeps employees from getting discouraged by unfair supervisors and gives them equal opportunity to take on the hours they need. Further, a fair workplace enables employers to optimize their people, empowering everyone to grow. Here are some of the major benefits of introducing a digital workplace within your organization:

    Removing Subjectivity

    A democratized, technology-based scheduling system withdraws human bias from the equation. Digital workplaces remove subjectivity, granting all employees equal opportunity to take on the hours they need. This move decentralizes scheduling capabilities by shifting power from managers to employees. The problem of bad bosses is common: 50 percent of U.S. adults have at some point left a job to get away from a manager. But software-based scheduling presents one simple solution. While supervisors may not jump at the idea of having less authority, digital workplaces contribute to better staff communication, ultimately freeing managers up for more productive tasks.

    Empowering Employees

    Relying on restaurant managers to assign preferred shifts creates a power dynamic that inevitably leads to negative outcomes for some workers. Digital scheduling tools let employees sign up for shifts that work best for them, helping minimize last-minute changes and frantic searches for shift replacements. Giving workers more freedom to set their own schedule enables them to create an environment in which they can feel comfortable and thrive—likely opening the door for better long-term relationships with managers and the organization as a whole. Further, scheduling rules ensure the right people have access to the right shifts, guaranteeing a knowledgeable roster.

    Improving Engagement

    Digital workplaces have indirect effects that extend beyond convenience and efficiency. In addition to neutralizing the impact of favoritism, they help employees become more invested in their roles. With easier communication amongst employees—as well as between workers, managers, and the corporate head—these solutions enable constant engagement. Digital workplaces increase staff knowledge of the organization, keep their interest and make them feel part of something bigger. The centralized communication hub also helps develop bonds between employees, leading to higher job satisfaction and giving individuals a support network that helps them thrive.

    Increasing Retention

    Strong intra-company communication helps mitigate the culture of bias in many workplaces. By circumventing managerial scheduling authority and creating a more well-connected staff, digital workplaces put everyone on equal ground. The communication channels opened up through this software initiate stronger workplace relationships, facilitating a camaraderie that cuts down on the impact of favoritism, and boosts job satisfaction. Additionally, when employees are kept in the loop, they are more invested in your organization and more likely to stick around. Digital communication platforms allow leaders to more regularly offer information and support to the entire organization, producing healthier relationships that pay off in increased company revenue.

    Don’t resign yourself to believing that workplace favoritism is unavoidable. Through predictive scheduling and improved communication, digital workplace platforms give restaurant employees more autonomy and help them avoid misguided bias—delivering additional benefits of higher employee satisfaction, more efficient operations, and sales growth along the way.

    Steven Kramer is the CEO at WorkJam. With 20 years of executive leadership experience driving business results and developing disruptive technologies for the retail industry. In 1999, Steven co-founded iCongo, a leading global software provider for omni-channel retail and B2B commerce solutions, which merged with hybris Software in 2011 and became the largest independent provider of e-commerce solutions with 27 offices worldwide, 1,000-plus employees and more than 600 customers. Steven was part of the Executive Management team and Board Member at hybris. hybris Software was purchased by SAP in 2013. Steven holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University. While innovating in omni-channel and the connected consumer, Steven identified a gap between traditional workforce management systems and how retailers actually hire, schedule and manage their hourly employees. With this in mind, Steven co-founded WorkJam and is responsible for the strategic direction of the company.