Human Resources: Strategies to Find and Keep the Best Employees

The hotel industry is notoriously rife with employee issues and human resource professionals are typically charged with the task of solving them. These issues can often seem daunting, given the myriad of problems HR departments encounter every day. Increasingly, issues such as workplace violence, workplace safety, workforce diversity, drug and alcohol abuse, labor shortages, inter-departmental conflicts, and compliance with all legal, employment and government regulations have become more prevalent in recent years. However, according to a recent survey, the biggest challenges human resource professionals face involves recruiting, training, retaining and rewarding employees. More than one-half (59%) of HR professionals believe that recruiting, training and rewarding their best employees, and developing the next generation of corporate leaders, will be their greatest challenges. About one-third (34%) predict the challenges will be creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees, and finding people with the specialized skills the organization requires. Of course, all of these efforts are part of a strategy to reduce employee turnover - an issue that continues to plague the industry. An average hotel spends 33 percent of its revenues on labor costs, but employee turnover in the industry can be as high as 31 percent. A high rate of turnover dramatically disrupts operations and profitability, and it falls to HR professionals to address and resolve this area of concern. The March Hotel Business Review will document some of the biggest challenges HR professionals are currently facing, and will report on some of the best practices they are employing to achieve their goals.

Library Archives

Steven Belmonte

To establish a good relationship you must first understand the foundation on which the relationship is built. For example, one of the greatest personal debates we face in the franchisor-franchisee relationship centers on character. Do you believe that it's possible for a person to possess both a public and a private character, even if very different? What you do in private is your own business, as long as it doesn't affect your public performance, right? Not necessarily - especially when your individual personal performance impacts your business performance. Those who build a business relationship on character will be those who swim upstream. READ MORE

Shayne Paddock

It's easier to keep a guest smiling if you know a little something about them. Would you buy a gift for somebody without knowing anything about them? Of course not. So why try to service a guest that way if you don't have to. Collecting guest data is on the minds of many marketing and revenue manager these days. Not a day goes by that the term "Big Data" isn't mentioned in one of the many hospitality blogs or press releases. But what does it all really mean? But you don't have to have a data analyst on staff to make these simple things a reality. READ MORE

Steve Curtin

Twenty years ago, I read a story in a book by Peter Glen titled the story made such an impression on me in 1996 that I can still recall it vividly today: A customer became frustrated when he was unable to locate a salesperson at a hardware store and decided to resolve the situation by, at the top of his lungs, yelling a single word - “HELP!” - just once. Suddenly people appeared from remote corners of the store: salespeople, managers, maintenance workers, and even customers responded. Glen's story exposes the frustration that we, feel whenever we can't locate an employee to assist us. READ MORE

Sapna Mehta Mangal

The interruption cultural norm makes its way to the workplace and causes a string of adverse issues. It can have a mammoth consequence on the hospitality industry where the human element is status quo and interruptions unavoidable. With the ubiquitous presence of technology, non-job related interruptions have been rampant. On the job task interruptions from within, like wavering of a thought or a preoccupied mind cannot be dismissed either. Bottom line - if one is allowing the undesirable interruption culture to seep through the organization there is an undesirable impact to one's profits. So why permit such ethos to churn within the enterprise? READ MORE

Frank Speranza

Many individuals and companies might not realize this, but social media is changing the face of recruitment in many ways, including a company's ability to secure the best talent. They are doing this by utilizing social media to provide incredible insights into candidates' backgrounds, personalities, the company they keep, and what their personal life looks like. Employers are looking at social media sites more and more as they check candidates to find out who they may know in common. READ MORE

Bernadette Scott

In-line with other global sectors, the International Hospitality Industry (IHI) is witnessing a growing surge of Millennials joining the workforce. These Generation Y employees (born between 1979 and 1999) have great potential to fulfil in terms of contribution to organisational success, which in turn impacts on sector performance as a whole. Research shows (CIPD, 2015) that organisations still have problems defining and implementing approaches to talent and consequently, there can never emerge a strategy to effectively attract and retain the human resources for future needs and to fill emerging skills gaps. So, the key question is if Millennials are the life-blood of the IHI industry - why do we hemorrhage Generation- Y talent? READ MORE

Giselle Kovary

Organizations are interested in recruiting and retaining top talent to ensure high levels of performance. This requires the ability to tap into the motivations of your workforce, which is increasingly becoming more diverse. So, what motivates employees? The answer depends on who you are trying to engage and the process to do so. Employees are either intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, or may be driven by a blend of both factors. This article explores how workforce demographics are impacting employee motivation; what factors HR leaders need to address; and provides leadership tips to spark intrinsic motivators, specifically for different generations. READ MORE

Paul Feeney

The perception used to be that the purpose of a first interview is to get invited back for a second interview. This is because the decision for next steps then rests solely on the shoulders of the candidate, and options are limitless. But does every candidate who interviews with your organization want to be invited back for a second interview? If not, consider the possibility that although the interviewing process is designed to both screen as well as sell, there are ways to maximize the odds of candidates craving an invitation to return. READ MORE

Beverly Crowell

Just how energetic are you today? Enthusiastic about life and work? Feeling happy, satisfied and full of promise? Or, is the opposite true? A little lethargic, sluggish or lifeless? Careers and life are never static. They languish when we lose focus, lack plans, become bored and forget to live in the present. It happens when we lose PEP … and not just the feeling. And, when we lose PEP, our guests lose too. Guest satisfaction is directly tied to just how engaged we are in the hospitality industry. If we want to engage our guests, we have to engage the “hearts and minds” of everyone they encounter during a stay. READ MORE

Frank Reid

Bertha is director of information technology at XYZ International Hotel Corp., a multinational hospitality company - and she has a BIG problem. Over the past several years, Bertha established herself as one of the best team leaders in the company. People liked working for her, and her teams always produced high-quality solutions, delivered on-time and under budget. READ MORE

Erik Van Slyke

Conflict can catch us by surprise. On the surface, we work for congenial organizations where people are polite, friendly and rarely disagree. But try to create change and we can be met with resistance, delays, confusion, or even sabotage. One minute, we leave a meeting room with heads nodding in agreement. The next, somewhere on the way to implementing the plan, colleagues push back in ways we didn't anticipate and the conflict digresses quickly from a focus on the business issues to a focus on personalities and relationships. READ MORE

Sherri Merbach

The single greatest step to improve employee retention is to ask first-line managers to achieve a retention goal and then hold them accountable for doing so. This sounds like a foreign language to CEOs and HR executives who continue to ask what more they can give employees such as more money, better healthcare, improved newsletters, or a new career development program. But our research along with the research of other companies proves this is true. Our path is to first place a dollar value on turnover in order to grab their attention to take action. READ MORE

Liz Moughan

Leaders in the hotel and lodging industries know that employee engagement is intricately linked to guest satisfaction and loyalty, as how guests feel about their experiences is significantly impacted by their interactions with hotel staff. Underscoring the importance of guest experience is the fact that nearly 80% of guests delighted with their stay are certain to recommend a hotel compared to only 2% of disappointed guests. While it's widely known and accepted that happier, more engaged employees have a positive effect on guest service, productivity, and retention, translating to competitive advantage, leadership often grapples with how to improve employee engagement and where to begin. READ MORE

Arte Nathan

I spent more than 30 years practicing Human Resources, most of it as Chief Human Resources Officer for Golden Nugget and its successor companies, Mirage Resorts and Wynn Resorts. I still get asked what it was like to hire, train and manage the more than 125,000 people I hired at places like the Mirage, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Wynn Macau. Here's my answer. READ MORE

Ranney Pageler

Hotels can be ripe environments for workplace injuries, which is why hotel owners and managers need to be able to distinguish between legitimate work-related injuries and potentially fraudulent attempts to claim workers' compensation insurance benefits. To protect their businesses, hotel owners and managers need to understand the types of workers' compensation fraud as well as the red flag indicators that could signal a fraudulent claim. READ MORE

Eugenio Pirri

In the service sector people are not a business' greatest asset. People are the lynchpin of its success or failure. People are our staff; our customers; the travel agents and tourist boards that encourage clients to stay with us or eat with us; our suppliers; the people who recommend us through word of mouth; our communities; our critics and defenders; our lifeblood. Yet, in terms of business, the idea of a company - in the hospitality sector or otherwise - having a ‘people strategy' is a relatively new concept. It has evolved out of cold employee welfare and industrial relations, through the ‘tissues and issues' phase of inward looking personnel departments and through the pseudo-strategic business focused phase of HR in the 1990s and 2000s. READ MORE

Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.