3 ways to retain employees in the hospitality industry
The Hospitality Industry is commonly grouped into the ‘high turnover’ category. I remember my professors in college continually mentioning the statistics regarding turnover in the industry. I simply accepted the statistics and moved on.
As a freshman and sophomore, I wasn’t really concerned about the frequency of people in the industry (in which I had already committed my career) being fired or voluntarily leaving their jobs. However, it all started to sink in once I started working, and it became even more of a concern once I took my first management position. I then became keenly aware of how costly employee turnover can be.
Rather than be scared of having high turnover, I took it head on and made it my mission to keep team members as happy as possible. I quickly realized that there were at least three main reasons why turnover was so high in the industry.
Many employees left because they simply didn’t seem valued. Others left because they felt that they were underpaid. Finally, I noticed that many were leaving due to the nature of the industry in general. Many left work each day feeling empty and unfulfilled.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid having your employees being another statistic that continues to support the notion that the hospitality industry has one of the highest turnover percentages. I found three key ways to not only beat the industry averages, but to help change the way the industry is viewed as a whole.
1. Create a culture
When I arrived at the second hotel I led, it was clear what was happening. The hotel had gone through three general managers in a little over a year. There was a culture that existed, but not one that was defined by a leader, but rather by the employees. The employees felt as if they ran the hotel and could dictate how things operated. They were so used to poor leadership or no leadership presence at all, that they were forced to develop their own way of doing things. While some of the aspects of their culture were not wrong, they all needed to be changed a bit. For example, the employees used to come into the hotel through the front door, instead of the employee entrance. I made sure that employees came in through the employee entrance and were prepared for work prior to being in the presence of a guest. I had to quickly create a culture that put the guest first. I met with the department heads and explained that we would now refer to the employees as team members, and they would all be called leaders. It was astonishing to see how quickly the team members began to act like they were a part of a team, rather than working as individuals.
We then created a set of goals for the hotel to achieve. We posted the goals and involved every team member in creating the goals. The team members now understood that they played a key part in helping the hotel meet specific goals. We made sure to make the goals SMART (Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely).
We were also sure to celebrate and incent the team members for reaching the goals. Finally, we started nominating team members for awards. The hotel had never won an award prior to my arrival. It wasn’t because they didn’t have stars on the team; it was because no one took the time to tell others about the stars. By the time I left the hotel, the hotel had won twenty five awards in a little over 2 years!
By creating a culture, the team members had a sense of ownership, rather than feeling like they were just coming to work. With engaged team members and leaders, we noticed that our turnover percentage began to stabilize rather than continually increase.
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