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The Importance of Employee Retention in the Hospitality Industry: Strategies for HR Professionals

May 25, 2023
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Widespread employee turnover is a costly problem for employers in the hospitality industry. This guide will provide you with strategies to improve the working environment and dedication of staff, helping you retain your workforce.

The term "employee retention" refers to the ability of a business to work with the same set of employees for an extended time. The opposite term, "employee turnover," describes the rate at which employees leave a place of work. The hospitality sector has an annual turnover rate of 73.8%, with over 6% of staff leaving posts every month. Many business owners and managers encourage employee retention by creating a comfortable work environment that shows employees they are valued. 

The high demands of the hospitality industry make employee retention crucial. This industry includes restaurants, hotels, resorts, and other service-oriented places of work.  They require high levels of expertise to perform labor-intensive jobs and deliver high-quality customer service. If a business has a high employee turnover rate, it can disrupt the flow of operations and leave customers feeling dissatisfied. 

When a business in the hospitality industry has strategies in place to encourage employee retention, they are more likely to be successful in creating a workforce that delivers exceptional customer service every time. Check out our employee app for your worker engagement.


Employee Retention Strategies

Implementing strategies for employee retention is critical for business success in the hospitality industry. Let's talk about practical ways HR professionals can encourage an environment conducive to employee retention

Competitive Benefits and Compensation

If you want top talent for your hospitality business, you must offer employees the maximum benefits and compensation. When an employer provides competitive wages and benefits, they are likely to see a higher retention rate in their employees. These benefits include health insurance, paid time off from work, or help later in retirement. To create a competitive benefits package and ensure you offer wages above the market standard for your employees, conduct regular research on the current averages. 

Growth Opportunities for Employees

The hospitality industry has plenty of room for growth for employees. A company should always offer training and skill advancement opportunities to encourage them to learn and grow professionally. Furthermore, when employees have a clear path to career advancement, they are more likely to set personal goals and work harder to climb their career ladder. Someone is more likely to continue working for you when they know their career development is supported and encouraged.

HR professionals can suggest educational courses for career advancement through hospitality graduate programs to encourage employee retention. Businesses can establish partnerships with institutions to provide employees with access to these educational opportunities. When managers demonstrate care for their employee’s success, they are more likely to stay employed with them.

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Having a Positive Work Environment

A positive hospitality workplace that fosters engagement will encourage employee retention. This business should have an environment that promotes teamwork and an internal communication system. Regular team-building exercises are an excellent way to promote a culture of transparency and communication with teammates. It is essential for employees to feel their work is valued and that their opinions matter. Our solution, Workmates, offers positive team engagement for simplified communication across your team.

Staff Communication

Open communication channels allow employees to express areas of concern and seek clarification from team members. When HR professionals encourage a culture that is feedback friendly, they are also encouraging employee retention. Employees should always feel more than comfortable expressing opinions without fear of retaliation. When HR professionals address concerns in the workplace promptly, they are less likely to escalate, and employees will be left feeling that their concerns are valued.

Employee Recognition

Recognizing the efforts and contributions hospitality workers make to their place of work will boost overall employee morale, motivation to work, and satisfaction in their job. Recognizing employees' efforts helps create a positive hospitality workplace, as employees feel appreciated for their work in more ways than just a paycheck. Recognition programs are a great way to ensure employees have the opportunity to feel recognized. These programs can include an employee of the month or peer-to-peer recognition programs.  

Building a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

A hospitality workplace that is both diverse and inclusive is crucial to keeping employees in the business. One way to do this is by creating policies and initiatives encouraging a respectful culture. Job postings should always be free of bias to promote diversity in the recruitment process. Employees of all cultures and backgrounds should feel they belong in their place of work.

Employee Feedback

If you are looking for a tool to understand your employee’s needs in the workplace, conduct regular employee surveys. Surveys can find out about various aspects of working with a business. HR professionals can analyze this data to recognize any trends in responses and take action from there. Taking action can help to increase the survey response rate and employee retention

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Challenges of Employee Retention in the Hospitality Industry

High Turnover Rate

Unfortunately, the hospitality industry has an exceedingly high employee turnover rate. Employees working in businesses like restaurants and hotels often face long work hours, highly demanding schedules, and stressful environments that require labor-intensive tasks. These factors can lead to workers feeling burnt out from fatigue and a higher loss of employees.

A high turnover rate can significantly impact the satisfaction of your customers as they lose service from employees who are highly knowledgeable about the business and its processes. The relation can directly show a decline in service quality and satisfaction of customers. 

Intense Talent Competition

In the hospitality industry, there is always intense competition between nearby businesses providing the same services, especially those in densely populated areas. Frequently, the supply of skilled hospitality workers with knowledge of hotel operations systems, booking engines, and foreign languages exceeds the demand of the market. This need for more available workers can be particularly noticeable in job openings for chefs, managers, and front-line staff. Remote and rural areas may also find hiring qualified candidates with specialized skills and experience challenging. 

The hospitality industry often favors bilingual employees, as their businesses often serve customers from various countries and language backgrounds. Someone who is multilingual may find they have better job opportunities. 

HR professionals should implement strategies to attract and retain a high-quality set of employees, thus contributing to the success of their hospitality establishments.   

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Seasonal and Temporary Employment 

Businesses operating in tourist areas may need help with seasonal and temporary employment. Many companies like hotels and restaurants see various fluctuations in business throughout the year, which can require periods where the hiring team must expand the workforce. Seasonal jobs can create uncertainty for the employees employed for only the off-season, causing them to seek more stable job options elsewhere.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the summer months are busier for hospitality businesses. Many individuals can be hesitant to commit to only seasonal work, as they would rather have a career with rewards and growth opportunities. 

A high employee turnover rate during peak seasons can cause businesses to spend a lot of time and money recruiting and hiring.  HR professionals should be clear to seasonal employees about the expectations of their position and provide an incentive for them to return for the following peak season. 

Success Through Retention: Concluding Thoughts 

Implementing effective strategies is crucial for successful business in the hospitality industry. This industry relies on highly skilled and experienced workers as a sure way to deliver excellent service to their customers. 

A higher employee turnover rate can benefit a business, leading to higher costs related to recruitment and training, a lower rate of guest satisfaction, and significant disruptions to the flow of operations. 

By recognizing the challenges and importance of employee retention in the hospitality industry, HR professionals can lower the employee turnover rate and improve their workforce's loyalty. 

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Author Bio:

This article is written by a marketing team member at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of proven HR solutions, including recruiting software, onboarding, employee communications & engagement, and rewards & recognition. Our user-friendly software increases employee productivity, delivers time and cost savings, and minimizes compliance risk.

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