How Many of Your Employees Will Be Checking Out Early?

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson President, Matuson Consulting | June 01, 2011

Another day, another survey. Yet employers are still in denial. This just in. Employees have their bags packed and are ready to check out the moment a better offer comes along. MetLife's 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefit Trends is one of the big, well-known and highly regarded benchmark surveys. The issue of employee retention and the disconnect between employee and employer is so compelling, that MetLife chose to begin the executive summary of their benefits survey with the following statement:

"The 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends delivers a clear message to employers: Reprioritize employee loyalty and satisfaction, or economic recovery may arrive with unanticipated setbacks for retention and productivity."

This year's findings reveal a workforce that has grown more dissatisfied and disloyal, to the point where one in three employees hopes to be working elsewhere in the next 12 months. Yet employers go about their daily lives as if nothing has changed. This is particularly troublesome in industries like hospitality, where increased turnover can cause small profit margins to disappear overnight.

Many organizations continue to focus on the challenging economic climate and assume employees will stay because they are happy to have a job. In some cases, that may be. However, it's important not to confuse "happy to have a job" with "happy to be in one's job". A loyal and engaged workforce is the foundation of business growth and keeps customers returning. Should this foundation crumble, employers will be left to pick up the pieces of an organization that will see their guests taking their business across the street.

Hello? Hello?

Employees are talking, but is anyone listening? The MetLife survey is about benefit trends, but the biggest trend of all is the huge disconnect between employers and their workforce. The results of the survey indicate that employee loyalty has been slipping - from 59 percent who said they have "a very strong sense of loyalty to their employer" in 2008 down to 47 percent in 2010. In addition, the percentage of employees who say that "their company has a very strong sense of loyalty to them" has also declined from 41 percent three years ago to only 33 percent last year. As troubling is the fact that the survey shows that employers are clueless of this drop in employee loyalty. The percentage of employers who say that "employees have a strong sense of loyalty to the company" has gone up a bit since 2008 - from 50 to 51 percent.

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.