The Nowsta Blog

Management tips and labor market insights to help you run your business

The Caterer's Guide to Management: How to Promote Event Staff to Event Captain

By Roy Porter December 12, 2018

This is Part Four of a five-part series for caterers on hiring and managing part-time event staff. You can see the previous parts here: 

Caterers need part-time staff in positions like server, bartender, and event chef to ensure their events run smoothly. In my last three articles, I’ve given you my strategies to always be recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding people in these positions.

But there’s another crucial piece of the puzzle: The Event Captains who manage everyone in these roles. Where do they come from? Ideally, they work their way up from the event staff roles we’ve been discussing. The best caterers I’ve worked with tend to promote these folks from within for a few key reasons:

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How to Manage Part-time Staff with Family Obligations

By Josh Burnett December 7, 2018

Every employee needs something a little different to do their best work. That was our thesis when we broke part-time employees down into five categories and provided management tips for each, based on Federal Reserve survey data on why people say they work part-time as opposed to full-time. Over a series of posts, we’re going to take a deeper dive into each category and explore how managers can better manage, motivate, and accommodate each type of part-time employee. You can see our previous entry on managing underemployed part-time staff who want more hours here.

In this post, we’re going to cover staff who work part-time due to child care and other family obligations.

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Introducing Weekly View: Our New Scheduling Option for Non-Event Shifts

By Henry Updegrave December 4, 2018

At Nowsta, events are our bread and butter. Our scheduling tools are built to help you manage the constant week-to-week variation in shifts, roles, and venue locations that all event-based businesses are familiar with.

But just because you’re in the events industry doesn’t mean that every single shift you schedule is tied to an event. Caterers, for instance, often have staff in their kitchens, warehouses, and cafes who work roughly the same hours each week regardless of how many events are on the schedule. We want to help our customers manage those staff from the Nowsta platform as easily as they do their event staff. That’s why today, we’re excited to announce our newest scheduling tool: Weekly View.

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The Caterer's Guide to Onboarding New Event Staff

By Roy Porter December 12, 2018

This is Part Three of a five-part series for caterers on hiring and managing part-time event staff. You can read the other parts here: 

Caterers have to approach hiring for part-time event staff as a numbers game. It’s a bit like math class. In my first post, we went over addition, and looked at strategies to increase your number of job applicants. Last week, we got into subtraction and talked about how you can use the interview process to reduce your pool of applicants to the most qualified ones. This week is all about percentages. You want as many of your new hires as possible to make the transition from “new hire” to “go-to event teammate.” How do you do that? Onboarding.

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The Employee Handbook: Why You Need One and What to Include

By Stephanie Knapp November 30, 2018

Writing an employee handbook as a manager is a lot like eating vegetables as a kid. It’s good for you in the long run, but there are lots of other things you’d rather do. Your to-do list is probably a mile long and unforeseen challenges pop up every day. Time is at a premium, so it’s easy for something like an employee handbook to fall by the wayside.

But this is an investment in the future that’s worth making time for. The employee handbook is your chance to start every new hire off with a baseline understanding of your company’s culture, expectations, and operations. Below, we’re going to tell you how an employee handbook can help your business, show you what to include in yours, and provide a few examples you can look to as you write your own.  

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The Caterer's Guide to Interviewing Part-time Event Staff

By Roy Porter December 12, 2018

This is Part Two of a five-part series for caterers on hiring and managing part-time event staff. You can read the others here: 

As a caterer, you always need to be hiring more part-time event staff. These are high turnover positions, and seasonality means your needs are always changing -- the last thing you want is to find yourself scrambling for more staff at the last minute.

But at the same time, you can’t just hire anyone who walks through the door to be your next server, bartender, or hostess. These people interact directly with guests, which means they arguably have the biggest overall impact on client experience. You need to know you can trust them with that responsibility. That’s where the interview process comes in.

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Underemployed: How to Manage Part-time Staff Who Need More Hours

By Josh Burnett November 23, 2018

Every employee needs something a little different to do their best work. That was our thesis when we broke part-time employees down into five categories and provided management tips for each, based on Federal Reserve survey data on why people say they work part-time as opposed to full-time. Over a series of posts, we’re going to take a deeper dive into each category and explore how managers can better manage, motivate, and accommodate each type of part-time employee.

First up: Part-time-staff who need more hours, also known as the visibly underemployed.

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The Caterer's Guide to Hiring: 10 Steps to Get More Event Staff Applicants

By Roy Porter December 12, 2018

This is Part One of a five-part series for caterers on hiring and managing part-time event staff. You can the next parts here: 

Most catering companies depend on part-time staff to work their events as servers, bartenders, event chefs, and any other roles that only need to show up during the events themselves. While this arrangement clearly makes sense financially and logistically, it does mean that caterers always need to be in hiring mode for these positions. Part-time staff work other jobs and won’t always be available, so you need to constantly be adding to your pool of workers to ensure you can staff all your events -- especially during your busy season.

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How Paper Timesheets and Punch Cards Cost Your Small Business

By Henry Updegrave November 15, 2018

Every business owner and manager knows that manually tracking employees’ hours isn’t fun. If you use paper timesheets, you have to pester staff to sign in and out, decipher messy handwriting, and somehow get the data to your payroll provider. Physical timeclocks mitigate some of those issues, but you’re still stuck poring over a stack of paper time cards at the end of each pay period.

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How to Build a Shift Swap Policy that Works for Everyone

By Josh Burnett November 13, 2018

Scheduling hourly staff is a difficult balancing act for managers. On the one hand, you have to preserve margins by keeping the schedule lean and assigning only as many people as you need to meet customer demand. That means you sometimes need the flexibility to change the schedule in the days leading up to a shift. On the other hand, employees need flexibility too. Last minute scheduling changes make it harder for them to meet family obligations, work a second job, make it to class, or manage other aspects of their daily lives. But a reasonable shift swap policy can enable managers to meet the needs of both their business and their employees.

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Payroll Reconciliation: How to Do It in 6 Easy Steps

By Henry Updegrave November 8, 2018

Payroll reconciliation is the key to maintaining accurate records of employee wages, withholdings, and other key pieces of tax information. Like many finance-related tasks, it’s a tedious yet crucial part of running a small business. In this post, we’re going to lessen the burden for you by breaking the process down into six simple steps.

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Why Your Business Needs an SOP for Everything

By Henry Updegrave November 7, 2018

Imagine you manage a restaurant and a new employee starts. You begin their first day by asking them to clean up all the cutting boards and cooking utensils in the kitchen. That may sound like a simple task, but as any food services professional will tell you, there’s a specific process to cleaning any food contact surfaces. By sending your new employee in blind, you’re risking your customers’ health, and you could fail your next health inspection. Worst of all, you could’ve eliminated those risks if you’d taken the time to write a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

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Managing Millennials: 3 Solutions to Your Biggest Complaints

By Josh Burnett November 1, 2018

Everyone has heard the stereotypes about millennials. They’re lazy, entitled, addicted to their phones -- the list goes on and on. But as a business owner or manager, the first thing you need to understand about millennials is that they’re here to stay. They became a majority of the workforce in 2015, and more are joining every year. Chances are that millennials already make up a significant portion of your staff.

So, whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to learn how to work with them. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this post, we’re going to offer some solutions to some of the common issues employers have when it comes to managing millennials. And who knows? We may even find a few silver linings to some of their supposedly negatively traits.

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15 Team Building Games Your Employees Will Actually Like

By Stephanie Knapp November 6, 2018

If you’ve ever led or participated in a team building game, then you know that they can often cause eye rolls. It’s not that employees don’t want to have fun and become closer to their coworkers. It’s more likely that they’ve encountered team building games that have been uncomfortable, boring, or just plain corny.

You’ve probably experienced this yourself, which may leave you wondering why you’d even bother with team building games in the first place. Here's why: A staggering 68% of U.S. employees are disengaged at work, and just over half are looking for a new job. So, if your business resembles the rest of the workforce, that means more than two-thirds of your employees simply don't care enough to give their best effort. Does that sound like a recipe for success? Of course not. The data backs it up too, as a study by IBM’s Kenexa found that companies in the top quartile of employee engagement have double the net income as companies in the bottom quartile.

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What Motivates Your Part-time Employees?

By Henry Updegrave November 9, 2018

Many businesses rely on part-time workers as a cost-effective, flexible source of labor. But some managers complain that part-timers aren't committed enough -- without the full schedule and benefits that full-time staff get, they worry there simply isn’t enough there to motivate part-time staff to put forth their best effort.

We think that’s a cop out.

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The Future of the Gig Economy: 5 Jobs that Could Be Next

By Henry Updegrave October 15, 2018

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen more and more people participate in the gig economy, taking non-permanent, freelance jobs often facilitated over the internet. While it’s hard to pin down exact numbers, a review of several existing studies conducted by Nation1099 suggests that 11% of the U.S. workforce counts freelance jobs as their primary source of income, while an additional 25-39% have freelanced in the last year for supplementary income. Research from McKinsey suggests that many more workers want to join them and experience the independence that comes from being one’s own boss.

But when most people think of the gig economy, they think of apps like Uber, AirBnb, or TaskRabbit. Nearly all of the jobs available on these apps are one-off, transactional deals conducted between individuals. The work isn’t consistent or high-paying enough to replace a full-time job, which is why companies like Uber say more than half of its drivers work 15 or fewer hours per week.

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How to Do Payroll Manually Versus With Software

By Henry Updegrave November 14, 2018

Let’s face it. Doing payroll is nobody’s idea of fun. Whether you’re a business owner or a manager, you probably aren’t looking forward to the process of calculating wages, withholding taxes, and filling out IRS forms.

But, as is the case for many tedious but necessary business processes, technology can automate parts of the payroll process for you. How much can it take off your plate? That depends on the software you’re willing to invest in. You have three options:

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The Dreaded No Call, No Show: How to Respond as an Employer

By Josh Burnett November 2, 2018

Workplace absenteeism is a significant problem across the entire economy, and an expensive one at that -- experts estimate it costs businesses more than $84 billion a year in lost productivity. Sometimes, of course, employees simply can’t help but miss work: We all have to call out of work sometimes due to family crises, health problems, car trouble, and other unavoidable issues.

But what employers can’t afford to excuse is the dreaded “no call, no show.” We’ve all the experience of a team member -- whether a peer, subordinate, or supervisor -- not showing up for work without letting anyone know beforehand. It throws the entire shift into disarray. After all, managers don’t build the daily roster with extra fat to cut. They schedule exactly as many people as the business needs, and no more. When a shift starts without someone who was scheduled, managers have to scramble to reallocate jobs and every coworker has to pick up the slack.

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What Do Retirees Stand to Gain from the Gig Economy?

By Henry Updegrave October 23, 2018

Most people picture retirement as their Golden Years: a time when they can kick back, relax, and lead the lifestyle of their choosing. The ability to realize that dream, however, is largely dependent on one’s financial situation.

Unfortunately, that situation is bleak for many. In a recent study on retirement readiness, Northwestern Mutual found that 67% of Americans expect to outlive their retirement savings. It’s becoming increasingly clear that many will need to earn supplemental income during retirement to maintain their current lifestyle.

But financially tenuous retirees may have a savior: the gig economy. Millions of Americans are supporting themselves by taking on a steady flow of short-term jobs that allow them set their own schedule and be their own boss. You’ve likely heard of this in the context of apps like Uber and Airbnb. However more traditional jobs in retail and food service, as well as a plethora of opportunities in professional and consulting work, are increasingly being outsourced to independent workers. 

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What is Workforce Management?

By Henry Updegrave September 28, 2018

One of the most difficult parts of running a business is managing your employees, and I don’t mean in the traditional sense of motivating or coaching them (though these are difficult, crucial undertakings in their own right). I’m talking about basic logistics like getting them in the right place at the right time and making sure they get paid.

In many ways, these are bare minimums to operate as a business. But to consistently grow and thrive, you need to do more than the bare minimum -- you need to solve these problems more efficiently than the competition. That’s where workforce management comes into play. Workforce management is the set of tools and processes businesses use to deploy their employees efficiently, keep labor costs in check, and track staff performance.

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Introducing the New and Improved Nowsta Blog

By Henry Updegrave October 23, 2018

We’re excited to announce that we’ve re-launched the Nowsta blog! Every week, we’ll be bringing you day-to-day workforce management tips, labor market insights, and all the latest news on Nowsta. We also plan to roll out analytical white papers, longform guides, and free business diagnostic tools to help you be a more effective manager. 

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Helping you become a better manager.