Recruiting and Retention: Nine Tips For the Hotel Profession

By Bill Catlette Co-Founder, Contented Cow Partners, LLC | June 26, 2011

Co-authored by Richard Hadden - Co-Founder, Contented Cow Partners

With the economy on a slow but determined path to improvement, the equation, with respect to the balance of supply and demand for labor is, once again, shifting. Over the last three to four years, employers in most industries, certainly to include hospitality, have enjoyed relatively stable teams, and an abundance of available talent.

Hotel executives who have been in the business for a few years will remember that it wasn't always that way. Taking the good with the bad, most executives we know are happy to welcome the higher occupancy rates in exchange for a tougher labor market. Those who are adept at navigating the dynamics of the changing workforce scene will enjoy the benefit of those fuller houses more, and be in a much better position to serve the guests who are slowly, but surely, returning.

If there's been one benefit from the economic downturn, it's been a return to better service practices in just about every service profession. Hungry employees, less confident of their ability to seek greener pastures, have put a little more bounce in their steps, smiles on their faces, and willingness in their attitudes. Guests have noticed, and having tasted a little better service, will be loath to accept less as conditions improve.

So, the two-headed beast of Recruiting and Retention rears its ugly, hibernating head. Nearly two decades of research by our firm leads us to the strong opinion that employers, especially those in the service sector, who learn to tame this beast, will enjoy better results, and suffer far fewer headaches along the way. Here are some ideas:

First things first – retaining the people you've got:

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.