EP #13 – Accommodated Scheduling with Adam Peterson

Adam Peterson shares a different approach to scheduling with big benefits to the associates and management alike.Adam Peterson Picture

Does scheduling frustrate you? If you’ve ever wanted to find a way to make the entire system work for everyone – and make your staff happy in the process – then listen to this episode!

Creating the staffing schedule for your department can be challenging and often frustrating for everyone from management to team members.

Trying to match the availability of your business needs can sometimes leave you with coverage gaps or unhappy staff members, and sometimes both.

Adam is the Food & Beverage Manager at the Holiday Inn in downtown Saskatoon located in Saskatchewan, Canada. Faced with the challenge of finding and retaining the best talent in a locale where the competition to attract employees is tremendous, Adam created an “accommodated scheduling” technique that he uses as a value-added incentive, which can often be more appealing to a candidate than the higher wage another potential employer may be offering.

Listen to episode #13 to hear Adam explain the process and the benefits he and his staff have realized from accommodated scheduling.

Essential Learning Points From This Episode:

  • Why are the members of his staff called cast members?
  • What issues has he had with using accommodating scheduling over the last four years?
  • How does he help facilitate a good team dynamic?
  • What is their turnover rate?
  • Can an accommodating schedule work in any department and in any market?
  • Much, much more!

More About This Show

With more than 19 years in the hospitality industry under his belt, Adam Peterson has considerable experience with all aspects of front and back of the house operations. His career began in brew pubs where he worked FOH and BOH, eventually migrating to managerial roles. He took over as the general manager of different brew pubs and live music venues from there.

Going to work at a local Saskatoon casino he brought his food and beverage experience with him to be their food and beverage manager, before getting the unique opportunity to start working at a brand new Holiday Inn in 2011. He’s been there ever since.

One of the keys to his longevity in that position has been the use of something he calls the accommodating scheduling technique. This tool allows employees to essentially create their own schedule for the upcoming month.

It works like this: they fill out an entire month’s calendar with the shifts they are available for, and when they must have off. Each employee does this and then all those calendars are entered into a spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet then populates the availability of staff for the given month. Using this information, a schedule is then created based on the staff members’ preferences. Adam reviews it for coverage gaps and then has the cast members work out the remaining gaps among themselves, allowing them to take ownership of the process.

That ownership provides the team with a deeper bond than if management simply told them when to show up. Adam believes this accommodating scheduling is a valuable asset to his hotel, it has helped him recruit some of the best people available and then retain them.

In a town that has an unemployment rate of 3% that retention has been beneficial and shows just how powerful of a benefit the accommodating scheduling really is.

Adam says his staff loves to know they get to work when it works best for them if they are night people they work at night. If they are day time people they get to work during the day. And if they want to see their kids in the school play they get to say so, all of which makes everyone happier which makes the guests happier!

Cross-training has been vital to this process too. In fact, they don’t have a dedicated bartender! They rotate their FOH cast members through that role on a weekly basis, and they do the same for room service. He recommends doing the same and doing so early on the new hire’s training process.

Today’s episode with Adam is a fascinating look at this unique scheduling system, as well as why it will work in any market and in any department and why people are far more concerned with creating a work-life balance than making as much money as possible. Listen in for all of that and more on episode 13 of Hospitality Academy!

[ctt title=”If your cast members are happy the guests are happy too!” tweet=”If your cast members are happy the guests are happy too!” coverup=”84TuX”]

Important Links & Mentions From This Episode:


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