New Shift- And Vacation-Bidding Technology Improves Employee Satisfaction Levels
Rather than driving, and in some cases flying, to a specific airport on a certain day at a certain time to enter shift and vacation bids, airline, airport and ground-handling employees can now enter their bids remotely via Sabre® AirCentre™ Bid Connect. Among many benefits to aviation companies, Bid Connect lowers employee-related costs, increases employee efficiency and heightens employee satisfaction.
It is 8 a.m. at Los Angeles International Airport. You are a ramp agent and have been racing through rush-hour traffic to get to a small office on the tarmac to bid on your work schedule for the next six months. You have a small window of opportunity between 8:25 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to choose which line on the scheduling roster you want.
You have been researching the new schedules and penciling in your preferences ever since they were released two weeks ago. While waiting for the employee bus, you anxiously check your watch. If you are late, you will lose your time slot and probably not get the schedule you desire.
Finally, you arrive at the terminal, proceed down stairs and into the office. You search through 20 sheets of paper taped to the wall for that perfect schedule. Luckily, it is still open and you sign your name on the line. You are finally done. However, it is 8:30 a.m., and your shift that day doesn’t start until 12:15 p.m. You can either wait around for several hours until your shift starts or drive all the way home just to turn around and come back to work in a couple of hours.
If this employee experience sounds antiquated and inconvenient, it is. Unfortunately, airline employees have been repeating this exercise for decades as they prepare for shift and vacation bids. Depending on company or union rules, this might occur once a year, biannually or even more frequently. With modern-day technology that supports online shopping and even provides the ability to control home thermostats from smartphones, airline employees are sure to wonder why their shift- and vacation-bid processes are decades behind.
Powerful, Scalable Bidding Solution
Bid Connect offers a centralized administrative solution that is powerful and scalable to handle a wide range of workforces, from small to very large sizes. It gives managers robust visibility into the bidding process and overall bid status while significantly reducing the administrative man hours required to conduct a bid.
Life Made Easier
Sabre Airline Solutions® has made the aforementioned scene one for the history books with the recent launch of Bid Connect, which automates the bidding process for employees and administrators by shifting the entire range of activities (such as conducting the bid and awarding shifts and vacations) required in a bid to an easy-to-use, Web-based portal.
A key objective of the automation provided through Bid Connect focuses on enhancing the employee experience and overall satisfaction, which enables employees at all levels to spend more time on other, more critical work activities.
During the development of Bid Connect, Sabre Airline Solutions worked with thought leaders in the airline, airport and ground-handling industries to ensure the solution’s features and functionalities are tailored to the needs of the marketplace. As a result, airlines using the new technology can expect to achieve maximum return on investment through streamlined bid processing, improved employee satisfaction, and reduction of errors and fines related to manual bid administration.
Bid Connect is the only online solution available to the travel industry that provides a truly configurable, user-controlled platform for setting bidding policies, managing the bid process and empowering employees to better manage their bid actions. Users have access anytime and anywhere to a continuous, real-time solution. The ability to bid on schedules is one of the most important benefits for employees, so ensuring the process is fair and accurate is crucial.
Inconsistent bidding policies cause confusion, lead to inequities and impact morale. Users of Bid Connect have a configurable application that aligns to the unique policies in place at their companies. The solution’s employee-bid portal provides a gateway to a complete view of the employee’s leave and shift options, bids, and awards. Moreover, managers have access to the complete history of the development, execution and award of each bid, while employees can view attributes of the award process as permitted by their companies.
How Bid Connect Works
Some unique characteristics of the system include:
- The ability to see one’s selections in terms of the number of positions or vacation slots available within a particular roster line or block of vacation weeks,
- Search mechanisms to find what other employees are bidding on,
- A comprehensive filtering tool that facilitates submission of bids based on saved employee preferences.
By providing employees with schedule choices and allowing the system to assign shifts in accordance with seniority or other ranking rules, Bid Connect removes any potentially questionable scheduling practices while bringing consistency, transparency and fairness into the shift- and vacation-assignment process.
For administrators, Bid Connect provides the bid manager with full control over the configuration of the shift and vacation bids to support local policy, seniority or other award rules; vacation thresholds; vacation-day balances; employee labor pools; bidding windows; and more. It can be utilized as a stand-alone solution through Web services; however, for existing users of Sabre® AirCentre™ Airport, it can be integrated with Sabre® AirCentre™ Staff Admin.
Published rosters can be extracted from Staff Admin to active bids in Bid Connect, while employee information and criteria key for the bidding processes are continually updated. After the bidding process has concluded, rosters will be exported to Staff Admin, complete with employee names attached to rosters and vacation days listed. At this point, an airline has a complete, assigned roster.
Managing the schedule of employees on a daily basis is one of the most critical tasks for airlines. Therefore, the market demand for an automated bidding system is significant. Bid Connect closes the resource-planning loop and helps lower employee-related costs, improve employee efficiency and increase employee satisfaction.
More Benefits To Come
Following the initial release of Bid Connect, Sabre Airline Solutions will also invest in advanced solution features such as:
- Access through a dedicated, responsive mobile website designed for a variety of smartphones and tablet devices,
- Platforms for deployment in multiple languages,
- Email notifications and alerts.
The automation provided through Bid Connect is an essential step for airlines, airports and ground handlers in their efforts to reduce manual, intensive processes while improving employee morale.