How Hotel Operators Can Keep Their Employees From Burning Out

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson President, Matuson Consulting | August 01, 2013

There are few businesses where employees are expected to be "on" 24/7 and to always have a smile on their face regardless of how they are feeling. But this is exactly what is required of those who work in hotels. Some say that if you can't stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen. That old saying may have worked well for other generations. But what happens when the next generation isn't as tolerant or committed as the one that came before them? Will you be able to compete for talent with the 9-5 industries and if so, will you still be able to create a five-star experience with employees who resemble characters out of the Zombie movie, The Night of the Living Dead? Here are some steps you can take to prevent this nightmare from happening in your hotel.

Frequently monitor your staffing levels and adjust accordingly

It's always great to be able to do more with less, but at what cost? There is only so long that a person can comfortably handle doing the work of two or more people. In the end, something has to give. An overworked and overtired employee will either be fired for substandard performance or will walk away if they are unable to personally manage the situation.

Pay attention to signs that may indicate it's time to bring staffing levels up to where they were pre-recession. This includes, employees falling asleep on the job; a sudden increase in employee absenteeism; a spike in employee turnover; pleasant employees becoming irritable.

Move employees around

Some jobs are more stressful than others. Identify which jobs fall into this category and then consider cycling these people into less stressful positions at similar pay rates.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.