LAMM, Inc. operates five Little Caesars franchisee locations in the Great Lakes region of Ontario, Canada. Its managers follow strict labor percentage guidelines in order to strike just the right balance between costs and sales. They use When I Work’s labor management software to carefully build team schedules, ensuring that the right people are on the right shifts to open the store, make fresh dough daily, run a busy lunch, and then get the restaurant ready for its evening Hot-N-Ready® rush. Staffing around these tight parameters is one of the most complex challenges the group’s managers face.
“If an employee calls in sick or is running late, we need to get backup into the store quickly. But without a great way to communicate with my team, I used to waste time sending group texts or making phone calls and just hoping to hear back,” remembers Julie Dobson, a general manager at three LAMM, Inc. locations. “This took me away from my job on the store floor until I could get shifts covered, and I was only able to find coverage 85 percent of the time.”
Julie decided she needed to complement When I Work with a mobile-friendly communications tool that could better engage her mostly teenage workforce. She found Crew three years ago and started using its app to get in touch with employees, share information, and motivate them. Now, these two best-in-class solutions are seamlessly integrated: Crew automatically posts store schedules from When I Work so everyone knows right away when a new schedule is out.
Teams quickly caught on, with 99% adopting Crew in the first few months, and today, the company mandates app downloads for both When I Work and Crew during all new employee orientations. Julie also created dedicated messaging groups in Crew – for each store team, for all openers and closers, and for managers only – so people are empowered to interact. They simply reach out if they’re running late, looking for shift coverage, or wanting to restock a product, troubleshoot issues, or swap best practices.
“One of my mottos is ‘communication is your key to freedom,’ and Crew has absolutely been a game changer for us when it comes to this. Instead of taking four hours to find a shift cover, I can instantly notify the whole team at once, and usually get a response in a half-hour. As a result, we’ve boosted our staffing coverage to 95 percent.”
Over the years, Crew has helped Julie optimize her approach to staffing, while saving her 10 hours weekly. “Rather than people getting their schedules and then telling me, ‘Oh, I can’t work that day,’ I now have a better handle on my employees’ availability ahead of time,” noted Dobson. “I use Crew nonstop, and because it’s so easy for my team to communicate with me, they’re actually leading the way with things like this. I place them in spots where I know they can work, and then fine-tune the schedule around what I need for the store, our customer demographics, and even the weather.”
LAMM’s managers can blast out a quick group message if they’re busy and need the next shift to come early, or if the current shift is slow because of a snowstorm. When Julie sends a request, everyone receives a notification right on their phones, and she sees exactly who opened it. This gives her peace of mind and more time for training, monitoring work quality, and improving customer service.
Crew also helps the organization maintain high team morale and employee satisfaction because managers use the app to give credit where credit is due. “Positive communications impacts how people feel about going to work and motivates them to give customers a great experience,” commented Dobson. “I want to be the best first boss a kid has, and Crew helps me do that by staying connected and encouraging them to have fun at their jobs.”
For example, Julie and her assistant managers often post shout outs at the end of a busy shift, or award specific team members with Crew Gold Stars that include a comment about their outstanding work. This demonstrates that the managers know what’s going on and are rooting for the team, even though they can’t be in every store every day. Finally, Crew helps Julie keep her employees on the same page when corporate has limited time offers or changes to pizza-making procedures. She can update every single person at the same time, send out videos, and make sure anyone who needs individual training gets it.
The biggest value Crew added for LAMM’s business was slashing manager effort around getting shifts covered. By shortening that cycle by 88 percent, Crew freed up 25 percent of managers’ overall time to focus on more strategic tasks. Meanwhile, Crew helped increase shift coverage from 85 to 95 percent, keeping frontline teams fully staffed so they can do their best work and satisfy customers.