Running a hotel is no easy task. It involves having an excellent grasp of multi-tasking, and even if you designate the work, it still requires constant monitoring.
As with any business, the hotel industry is not devoid of challenges. Many outsiders think the primary focus of attention for most hotels is marketing to increase bookings. However, one forgets that the internal functioning of the establishment is equally prone to stressful nights for owners and managers.
Among the most prevalent issues faced by the hotel industry is staff retention. Many employees regularly leave or shift from one place to another in this business. Talented people are as it is hard to find. Keeping them loyal to your hotel is even more challenging.
Who is included in the hotel’s staff?
The staff diversity in any hotel makes it problematic to handle turnover issues. Typically, even the most basic of hotels will have to hire employees for the following;
- Reception/Front Office
- Sales & Marketing
What is the need for staff retention in the hotel industry?
People leave and join workplaces regularly in every business. But why does it have a significantly negative effect on the hotel industry?
For starters, this being a service industry, new employees need training, which requires time.
Similarly, integrating someone fresh into your business structure needs resources (training staff and equipment), which are not always present, especially for smaller properties.
Thus, in the long run, it is worth investing in retaining good staff rather than repeatedly going through the hiring process.
Reasons why employees leave?
There can be numerous reasons for an employee to leave their workplace. While some are personal, others are under the control of the hotel management.
Hotel owners need to be aware of these reasons if they want to work towards staff retention.
Among the more common reasons for staff to leave are;
- Poor work conditions
- Lack of career growth
- Average pay
- Lack of recognition
- High employee or employer expectations
Navigating the challenges of staff retention in the hotel industry
So, how does one create a working culture that helps with staff retention?
The answer lies in a number of factors. Some are easy to implement, while others may require structural changes in the management style of your hotel.
Hire the right person
First and foremost, do not be in a hurry to hire someone. The time you spend initially can help you find the right long-term employee.
When interviewing prospective new staff, do the following;
- Spend time on the interview, understanding their life goals and making your expectations clear from the start.
- It’s also important to check if their values and work ethic meet your standards.
- Try to determine if the staff member will gel with your work culture and other employees. Often, people cannot form a bond with co-workers in the organization, leading to them leaving.
- See if the staff member has a history of leapfrogging. An employee with impressive recommendations who regularly changes jobs might not always be the best fit.
Create a positive work environment
More often than not, an employee will continue to work at a place, even if it pays slightly less, but where the job is satisfying.
To achieve this, hotel owners should create a positive environment for the staff where they are proud to work for the brand.
Listen to your staff
In business or life, one-way conversations are a sure-shot way to spoil relationships. The same holds when it comes to staff retention in hotels.
You must allow open conversation between the staff and management as an owner. Employees should feel safe and confident talking about any issues they are facing.
It is equally important that you act on what the staff suggests or wants to nourish an atmosphere where everyone feels trusted, safe, and acknowledged.
Many hotels have started outsourcing tasks to navigate the challenges of staff retention.
Having on-site staff with a passion for work to help with everyday operations is undoubtedly important. However, there are specific tasks that hotel owners can outsource to reduce pressure and simultaneously gain expertise.
For example, a small hotel will hardly ever have the budget to employ multiple individuals to run various marketing verticals.
In such a case, hiring a professional hotel marketing agency that can handle all sales, marketing, and promotional aspects, from website design and influencer management to email marketing and SEO, is forever recommended.
Do not micro-manage
A great way to retain staff is to involve them in the hotel’s running. You show trust in staff by giving them responsibility and not micro-managing their every move.
As the staff member connects more with the hotel’s day-to-day operations, they feel a sense of pride in their job and are more likely to stay longer.
Provide job stability
Challenges of staff retention primarily arise due to job security. If the staff feels expendable, they will always look for something else, worrying about future earnings.
Providing job security, letting your employees know how the business is performing, and convincing them that they will always have some work available are ways to keep them invested in the work and not worry about losing their jobs.
One of the biggest mistakes hotel owners make is hiring good talent and then expecting them to do everything. This is more common in smaller hotels where sometimes there is no budget to employ multiple people.
For instance, a great front-of-house staff shouldn’t automatically become the person handling your customer care.
Therefore, it is crucial to automate tasks to help your staff. Having a chatbot on the website to answer common queries is a great start, something your hotel website team can easily handle.
Similarly, don’t expect your reception staff to take care of email marketing. For something this specialized, work with a hotel marketing agency with the expertise to guide you in the right direction.
Invest in your staff
A work culture that encourages employees to enhance their education has a positive impact on them.
Sending staff to industry seminars and courses leads to better service and reinforcement.
Employees know that when a hotel manager invests in them, they are valued and an essential part of the organization. Consequently, they are less likely to leave the job.
Care for your staff’s well-being
In some countries, labor laws require that you provide health and medical benefits to your employees.
Even if it is not compulsory, one of the ways to retain staff is to care for their well-being.
You can also include their family members in insurance and health plans to entice them further.
Give competitive salaries
Offering salaries as per market standards is the very basic you can do when wanting to retain staff.
However, it is equally important that you acknowledge talent by paying them more.
Again, good staff is hard to come about in the hospitality business. As a result, you are more likely to save money by retaining who you have rather than spending time, energy, and money on finding new staff.
Provide growth opportunities
One of the best ways to retain talent within your organization is to offer growth opportunities.
Whenever a new position opens up, offer it to the present staff first before you look for it outside.
As a result, your staff knows that even if they start at entry level, they will have chances of rising in management.
Moreover, hiring a staff member who already knows the workings of the hotel saves you time training someone new.
Promote work-life balance
To retain their employees, hotel owners or managers should act as mentors, encouraging a healthy lifestyle and genuinely caring for them.
Therefore, they should promote a work-life balance among the staff, done via different methods;
- Include mandatory rest time in their daily work schedule.
- Encourage them to take at least one paid vacation during the year.
- Organize staff bonding escapes that help create a positive working environment.
- Plan casual monthly get-togethers where staff members and their families can mingle with each other.
One of the best ways to navigate the challenges of hotel staff retention is to show appreciation.
You’ll notice across the hospitality and service industry that most companies celebrate an “employee of the month.” This evokes a sense of pride in the staff and encourages others to do better.
However, to have maximum effect, do not just stick to recognition and a thank you. Offering monetary bonuses and physical rewards to employees going above and beyond their work is an excellent way to motivate them.
Life can be unpredictable, for your staff just like it can be for you.
Allowing them flexible working hours permits the staff to handle unforeseen personal problems and plan their life beyond the workplace.
An employee with a flexible work schedule will likely be happier than one without.
Offer workplace perks
Sometimes, the most basic workplace perks can be a good reason for a staff member to stay.
Free food during work hours, possible living arrangements, medical benefits, and complimentary transportation are all perks that allow employees to save money, leading them to continue working.
What should hotel owners do to retain staff?
As an owner of a hotel, do not get stressed about having to put all of the above into practice simultaneously. Each hotel set-up is different, as is the personality of the hotel owner.
Ultimately, the aim should be to create a progressive and happy environment that doesn’t just focus on your guests but also on developing a workplace conducive to the staff and their needs.
Remember that if your staff is happy, it pours over to the overall guest experience, leading to a win-win situation for you, your brand, and your business on the whole.