Despite being one of the largest employers in the world, the hospitality industry faces dramatically high turnover rates at around 75% when compared to the average of 10 to 15%.
For an industry where success is so driven by guest experience, a turnover this high is not only extremely expensive for hotels but concerning for end product; an ever-churning workforce means constant training of new staff and quality control to make sure they are ready to meet deliver on guest expectations. This inevitably results in lower investments in areas that could use improvement and big challenges for human resources, made worse by the use of temporary or seasonally-based staff.
The reasons behind this turnover are many and can range from the (perceived or real) lack of career potential though to inefficient working conditions and lack of recognition. There are, however, ways for hotels to tackle this problem and most of them rely on innovation, both technologically and at a human resources level.
Company culture is more than just a fancy hashtag.
A hotel’s most valuable resource when it comes to customer experience is its staff and creating the right working conditions can truly make a difference when it comes to giving your guests a stay to remember.
A high-pressure work environment such as the hospitality industry takes its toll on its employees and that greatly contributes towards high turnover. While it’s imperative to guarantee the work environment isn’t toxic, it’s equally important to make sure your staff wants to be a part of it and that goes far beyond just having a positive atmosphere.
Motivation, being able to pursue a career or having a clear job description are major factors that can leave an employee feeling valued. For an industry heavily reliant on reviews, having untrained or unhappy staff tending to your guests can have damaging repercussions for your business. A survey of 2,000 employees by Better Buys (The Impact of Professional Development) has concluded that policies as simple as providing personal development for your staff can increase employee retention by up to 35%.
Another factor that, rather ironically, often goes “unnoticed” is recognition. Much of the work provided by some of the staff (maintenance technicians, for example) can at best be invisible, even when some of it is so key to providing your guests with a perfect stay. Having ways that allow your management or department heads to track, evaluate and then recognise this work can not only provide a major boost to your customer experience and quality standards but also provide much-needed motivation for your staff and praise for a job well done.
While comprehensive and customised training costs time and money and is often easier said than done, having to continuously replace your workforce can have severe consequences for your business, financially and culturally. Retaining trained staff who already know your hotel’s routines and are aligned with your mission and goals can greatly contribute towards work efficiency, cost-saving and, perhaps most importantly, help you become a reference in service excellence.
Technology as an enabler for both your staff and your customer experience.
In addition to having a company culture that enables your staff to be better and motivated, technology can also be a great aid in increasing the efficiency of your operations and task management for your staff.
With new cloud-based SaaS tech becoming more widely available to hotels, technology has become much more cost-efficient without the need for the huge upfront fees required to own the software.
With the right CMMS, for example, you can optimise task distribution and make sure your entire staff’s time and energy is being channeled towards your immediate or most relevant necessities. It can also improve communication by providing a centralised digital platform, reducing the amount of time spent filling out reports or making phone calls. Validating task completion and providing accurate and frequent (or even live) updates to tasks can bridge the gap between management and the rest of the staff, increasing recognition and reducing response time.
Tools that can reduce bureaucracy and increase automation are not just helpful to increase working conditions but a growing necessity in any modern business and industry. Reducing turnover can make the difference between happy and unhappy customers or guests and almost entirely dictate the degree of your operation’s efficiency.