Time & Attendance
The people of Winnipeg had their NHL team ripped away in 1996. A few months later, hockey returned to the city with the arrival of the Manitoba Moose, an AHL team relocated from Minnesota by a local ownership group – but they weren't stopping there. Fifteen years later, True North Sports + Entertainment succeeded in bringing the Jets back to Winnipeg.
“There were parties in the streets when it happened,” reflects Kristin LaCroix, True North’s Director of Technology Services. As a Winnipeg native, LaCroix deeply understands what hockey means to one of the NHL’s smallest market cities. “Being involved in the National Hockey League gives us a big audience throughout North America. We want to represent the city in a way that everyone can feel proud of.”
Now owning and operating a wide range of entities including Canada Life Centre, the Burton Cummings Theatre, and the True North Youth Foundation, True North has firmly established itself within the local community – and at the heart of it all are the Winnipeg Jets and the Manitoba Moose.
“We want to make sure that we are ingrained in the community and are listening to what it needs … nobody wants to go through the heartbreak of losing a team again," LaCroix says adamantly.
As the Jets’ success and expansion on and off the ice continued, frontline managers for customer service, usher, and maintenance staff struggled to keep up with the sheer amount of administrative work they faced. Managing the labor of a 1,300-strong workforce is no easy task – especially when done entirely manually.
Managers poured hours into building out schedules from scratch on spreadsheets. “There's a lot of different things our managers could be doing other than playing with Excel for hours every week,” says LaCroix ruefully. But building schedules was only half of the battle. Last-minute call-outs occurred regularly, requiring managers to call, text, and email dozens of employees to find replacements.
Time tracking was also done manually through a complex pen and paper process. “It was very laborious,” shares LaCroix. “Managers would write down an employee’s name, their start and end time … someone would then take that timesheet and type it into a database."
This method was not only slow but prone to error. Non-standardized rounding habits across teams lowered timesheet accuracy, leading to more mistakes and wasted labor costs. With operations becoming increasingly complex, Jets management realized a change was needed to maintain a high standard of employee and guest satisfaction.
The Jets decided to ditch their manual processes and partner with Workforce.com to automate their workforce management. They needed a cloud-based system to sync scheduling and time clocks, accessible on both mobile and desktop devices. It needed to optimize scheduling, streamline shift replacements, and record time accurately with no data entry required.
Doing all of this would not only make work easier for both managers and employees, but it would also enable staff to serve fans better on game day. “We want to make sure that every touch point of the guest journey is frictionless and welcoming,” LaCroix says. “Making these adjustments will help us continuously improve our efficiency in delivering this kind of experience.”
Since teaming up with Workforce.com, The Jets have given time back to managers and reinvigorated employee experience, resulting in better service for the people of Winnipeg.
“Workforce.com has unleashed our management team from their traditional manual methods – it has really given them the freedom to create a better experience for our guests,” says LaCroix.
Here are some of the ways the Jets have improved operations with Workfore.com:
Managers build schedules much faster now using 27 different templates in Workforce.com. After publishing the shifts they need, managers can automatically fill each one based on team and unavailability while avoiding overtime conflicts and validating minimum time between shifts. On average, the Jets fill 119 open shifts per day.
“Workforce.com is definitely a time-saver,” says a relieved LaCroix. “It used to take most managers around two hours to make a schedule, and now it takes less than 30 minutes.”
The Jets replace employee call-outs and no-shows much more effectively now, with an average of 80 replacements occurring per week. Whenever someone can’t make it to work, managers can alert staff to an open shift and get it covered quickly. And the best part? It all happens over a single, centralized app – no calling, emailing, or texting.
“With Workforce.com, switching shifts is so much easier. I don’t know anyone who’s not using it,” says LaCroix. “Everyone got on board with it pretty quickly.”
The Jets can set their own time clock rounding rules with Workforce.com. All clock-ins and clock-outs are automatically adjusted in the same way for every employee, no matter their team or location, improving timesheet accuracy and reducing the need to go back and edit errors.
“Some people were rounding time in ways we didn’t even know about,” LaCroix reflects. “Now, Workforce.com standardizes how time is recorded – we're definitely seeing it look a little more accurate."
Through the Workforce.com app, employees get access to everything they need for work. They can check their schedule, clock-in, review timesheets, request time off, pick up shifts, and update personal details all in one place without going through HR. This self-service dramatically improves employee satisfaction and frees up time for managers.
“It's taking time and effort off of the managers and handing a little bit of it to the employees,” LaCroix says. “I think they really appreciate feeling more in control.”
It is now much easier for managers to break down wage costs by week, day, and individual shift. Moreover, every request for coverage on the schedule displays potential overtime and wage cost variance, helping managers make smarter decisions about where and when employees should work.
“Workforce.com is preparing us to become a little bit more strategic in how we schedule,” shares LaCroix. “It helps us move staff to different times if we see inefficiencies, helping us provide a better experience to our guests.”
With their workforce management now centralized and automated, Jets management can focus on continuing the team’s success on the ice and, most importantly, delivering an outstanding fan experience.
“Winnipeggers survive some pretty tough winters,” LaCroix proudly states. “We really band together a lot of the time and help each other out.”
This sense of duty is precisely what ties the Jets to the people of Winnipeg. Backed by their fans, the team never fails to showcase what a thriving hockey culture should look like in a city.
“Easy to indicate unavailability, schedules are simple to read and, and shift swapping is quick. Brilliant!”
"It makes signing into work a lot easier…everything is laid out for you; it’s amazing!”
“Great user interface.”
“I like that I can keep track of my hours and see which days I work.”