Keeping Your Top Employees from Checking Out

By Jason Ferrara Vice President, Corporate Marketing, CareerBuilder | December 15, 2009

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, by 2010, there will be a shortage of over 10 million workers. This amplifies the tough recruitment market we saw in 2000 when there was a shortage of more than 4 million workers.

Over the last ten years, employment in the hospitality industry has grown by more than 1.6 million. With hospitality workers making up 10 percent of all workers in the U.S. and the hospitality industry continuing to see an upward trend in hiring, the competition for attracting and retaining qualified employees is already becoming more intense.

According to a recent nationwide survey from, nearly six-in-ten hospitality workers say they plan to leave their current jobs in pursuit of better opportunities by the end of 2005. To better understand the impetus behind this wake-up call for employers, let's take a closer look at what factors are driving dissatisfaction with their current positions.

And the Survey Says...

Among the industries that surveys, hospitality ranks among the highest in the number of employees planning to change jobs. According to the survey, forty-one percent of hospitality workers have changed jobs 5 times or more and nineteen percent have changed jobs more than 10 times. Fifteen percent of workers said they are looking for new jobs on a daily basis.

When evaluating factors of job mobility, hospitality workers pointed to feeling overworked and underpaid. Forty-two percent spend in excess of 40 hours a week at work, and forty-four percent characterize their workloads as too heavy with more than half reporting an increase over the last six months.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.