3 Most Effective Ways to Retain Your Hotel Employees

By Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight | November 11, 2018

There is an adage in business that it's five times more expensive to find a new client than it is to keep a current customer. The same concept can be applied to employee relations, as hotels and hospitality tech companies spend thousands of dollars in hard costs and man hours recruiting a new hire. A 2013 study found that "costs [associated] with recruiting, selecting, and training new employees often exceeds 100% of the annual salary for the vacated positions." Those costs compound when issues like the seniority of a role or the need to onboard employees are factored into the equation.

However, increasing employee retention rates is easier said than done, and can require a number of efforts and initiatives. While some may be simple and largely inexpensive to implement, there are also efforts that require top-down buy-in from senior leadership in a hotel or tech company.

There are three general categories that retention efforts and benefits can fall into. Growth, Financial and Perks.

Growth Opportunities

Employee and career growth are critical in retaining quality employees, and this is true of all levels. Frontline employees at a property are more likely to stay in a company if they believe or have been presented a real-life of sight into how their career opportunities can improve. This also goes beyond the front desk of a property. Regional managers should be aware of what their next steps might be, as should employees in corporate settings.

Creating employee growth paths and opportunities can, on occasion lead to short-term concerns for hotel leaders. For instance, if a standout employee is promoted to another team or property, it can leave their former team short-handed. Many hotel leaders tend to get paralyzed by this fear. Instead, however, they should consider that the qualities that made the employee stand out will remain with the company, as will that person's institutional knowledge. Who better to train a replacement than the person who did the job so well they got promoted? As an ancillary benefit, the new hire, in this case, will onboard with the understanding that they have growth opportunities as well; their trainer is a walking demonstration of upward mobility in the hotel or tech company's business.

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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.