With most COVID restrictions in the rearview mirror, travel demand is once again soaring, flights are sold out and many hotels find themselves at capacity. The need for high performing staff has never been greater. However, many hotels are dealing with staffing shortages and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find and retain people for these critical roles. A recent survey from the AHLA found that nearly 87% of hotels are experiencing staffing shortages and 36% of those hotels say the shortage is “severe.”
Hoteliers are rightly focused on recruiting new staff. But it’s also important for hotels to be thinking about ways to engage and retain existing staff. Keeping existing staff members happy and engaged will help improve their overall performance, keep them employed with you longer and perhaps most importantly – have a direct and positive impact on a hotel’s bottom line.
As the values of the next generation of the workforce shift to focus more on flexibility, purpose and meaning and better working environments, here are some things to consider to help your employees feel empowered and engaged.
Employees often want to feel as though they are able to continue to grow their career in their current role. If not, you run the risk of them starting to look for other opportunities elsewhere and this could lead to them making the decision to take up a role at another company.
One way to do this is to offer hotel staff access to professional development opportunities such as workshops, seminars, online courses and certifications related to their job role. This can help them stay up-to-date on industry trends and sharpen their skills. For example, The American Hotel and Lodging Institution offers a wide range of courses that can even be custom tailored to a specific hotel needs. Cornell University offers a complete online hospitably management course to help hotel managers build a loyal guest base, manage a hotel’s finances and build successful teams.
Offering professional development not only helps employees feel engaged and that they are growing their career, but also these skills will immediately be put to work in their current role – making them better at the job they are currently doing.
People want to feel that their work has meaning and that when it is done well, it will be noticed and recognized. A personal thank you from the executive team goes a long way, but there is truth in the old adage, “Praise publicly, criticize privately” and being recognized in front of their peers is powerful.
Recognition programs can come in many shapes – from shoutouts on the company messaging app or all-staff meetings, to tangible rewards like recognition certificates, gift cards, or other prizes. The most effective programs use a combination of rewards and acknowledge staff members for their hard work and for work done exceptionally well or above and beyond their job description.
If you really want to drive employee engagement beyond just the individual level, consider implementing a ‘peer-bonus’ program, where team members can nominate other team members for something they did that really helped the broader team out. For example, someone at the front desk could nominate someone from housekeeping that postponed their break to help get a room ready for an unhappy customer.
Most of the time in situations like this, a manager doesn’t have the chance to see the meaningful way teams help each other out but peers often do. This is a nice way for an individual’s contribution to be recognized by someone on their team other than their manager. In the end it will foster a greater sense of team.
2022, Eagle Hill Consulting
A sense of belonging is really important for employee retention. When people truly enjoy working with their team of colleagues, they are more likely to stay in their role. It is important to encourage cross-functional collaborations between different departments within the hotel. The right technology can really help with this. It’s important for the staff to have a way to communicate with each other so that everyone feels included. No one wants to feel like they are the last one to find out about an important announcement or if the team is gathering to celebrate someone’s birthday. Incorporating technology that has group messaging features is critical in helping teams function and foster a sense of belonging.
Another thing to consider are ways to bring various cross-functional teams together to gather business input and voice ideas of ways to improve the hotel. For example, asking a housekeeping staff member to be included in the planning of a special event taking place in the hotel in order to provide insights on cleaning needs and requirements. This will help ensure that the staff feels as though their opinion is valid and foster a sense of teamwork.
Employees should want to come to work and it is important that people feel included. Naturally, some days will be better than others but overall they should enjoy the teams that they are a part of. Managers should lead this initiative by making sure they celebrate their team’s success, showing the team that they trust them and ensuring that they can all have a little fun once in a while.
For newer employees, consider implementing a buddy system where they are partnered with someone who has been in the role for a bit longer. The working buddies can have lunch together once a week or go on a coffee break together to help foster a new working relationship and builds trust amongst each other. After a busy week or tough event, find a way to celebrate as a team such as ordering pizza or gathering for a drink.
Even consider posting messages celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries to help people feel noticed and seen. The best hotel staff collaboration tools automate this capability.
When feedback is done well, it can be hugely beneficial. Most people associate feedback with something being negative, when in fact it also includes calling out when people do things really well. There are two types of feedback, reinforcing feedback (or positive feedback) and redirecting feedback (or constructive feedback). Both have benefits because it offers guidance to employees on the things they are doing really well and suggestions on what they can improve upon to have an even greater impact. In fact, 63% of employees claimed that they want more frequent immediate “in the moment” feedback on their work performance and 82% of workers say they feel valued when someone takes time to provide feedback
The best feedback is data-driven. When selecting the hotel operations and collaboration platform for your hotel, take the time to review the staff performance insights and reports that it provides. By tracking a wide range of performance metrics, you’ll have extra information at hand to identify areas of strength and potential areas for improvement.
According to Harvard Business Review, the main reasons attributed to job satisfaction include achievement, recognition, responsibility, growth, and other matters associated with the motivation of the individual in their job. By implementing a robust employee retention program, all of these factors can be addressed and supported with the right technology and software in place. When employees are empowered and engaged they are less likely to leave their employer having a direct impact on a hotel’s overall performance.