As with many businesses in the hospitality industry, a hotel’s staff directly relates to the success of the business, making it critical to recruit and retain top talent. Getting the right people and keeping them is a challenge, and turnover can equal high costs and a lot of time and energy. It’s important for hotel ownership and management to understand that talent is not a commodity—it’s an investment.
Many hospitality employees begin working in the field while they’re finishing a degree or working another job and don’t intend on staying long term. For this reason, it’s critical to engage with employees, let them know what’s expected, and inform them of available opportunities. It’s possible they aren’t aware of the long-term career potential in the business. Employees want to know what’s expected of them and are happier and perform better when they do. Communication should be done by the management, not trickle down from employees.
Below are some topics to keep in mind when recruiting and retaining talent in your hotel business.
In order to recruit the Millennial and Gen Z candidates, it’s critical to view opportunities from their mindset. This group doesn’t value job security in the same way as previous generations. It’s not that they don’t value jobs at all, but they value them for different reasons. They value regular feedback, motivation, quick progression in their careers, and experiences. In short, they expect a lot. It may take a shift in perspective, but it’s not impossible to meet the needs of these employees while also meeting business needs. Some benefits that are especially important to provide when possible are:
Frequent managerial support
Rewards and recognition—it doesn’t have to be extravagant; it’s often the feeling of being appreciated that is most valued
Skill and career development
Unconventional work culture
Change often needs to come from the top to start bringing in and keeping the talent your hotel needs. Recognition and happiness are not always financially motivated. Frequent motivation and feedback are often more valuable to employees. Allowing a more flexible work environment, loosening up on some outdated etiquette requirements, and allowing self-expression can draw in a more robust talent pool. Additionally, don’t forget how important it is to foster good relationships among staff. Younger people are more likely to want relationships with their coworkers, whereas many older employees have families outside work and don’t desire a social circle of colleagues. Allow for team-building activities and create a fun yet professional work environment.
Use Social Media
Starting a social media campaign to show what it’s like to work at the hotel using current employees is a good way to display the culture and fun aspects of the workplace. Many companies are using social media as a recruitment tool. If you're not, you’ll be left behind with second-pick candidates. Social media is also a great tool to foster employee engagement, sense of community, and loyalty. People are often more attached to the people they work with than the company.
It’s important to have a clear vision for the results and expectations of the company. Additionally, it’s important for not only the management but all the hotel staff to understand the impact of those results. Both management and employees need to know what knowledge, skills, and abilities are needed to achieve the expected results.
The goal results need to be kept in mind when interviewing for talent. Interview questions should be tailored to address the skills and abilities needed to achieve the desired results.
Training and Recognition
Establish a strong training program and review employee performance regularly. Keep employees motivated with continuous training. When you have standout employees, recognize them. Reward entrepreneurial and innovative attitudes with projects and opportunities for independence. Have non-monetary reward and recognition programs available and be sure to promote deserving employees as much as possible. Look at employees with potential for bigger roles and let them know early of the prospects they have.
Finally, accept that people will leave, and it’s unavoidable at times. Many positions in the hotel industry are entry-level jobs, and people are often working them while pursuing another career path. While people in some positions are easily substituted, it’s important to establish consistent practices to recruit, train, and retain high-level employees to reflect the expectations of the business.