Hanging onto Talent in Hospitality
By Caroline Cooper
I was at hoteliers' meeting recently, where one of the topics of conversation was finding good quality staff, in particular chefs. We already know that there is a lack of new talent entering the industry so it's important that we hang on to our best people. The hospitality industry has always had one of the highest labor turnover rates in all sectors of the economy, so are we just deluding ourselves if we think we can beat that trend?
Why do they quit?
Staff turnover can be infectious, the more people come and go, the easier it is for others to make the decision to leave. Unless we understand why staff leave, it's unlikely we'll reverse the trend.
In an ideal world, some kind of confidential exit interview should be conducted and wherever possible this is best done by someone other than a line manager. Let's face it, if the reason is it's poor management or leadership that has prompted the move, it's unlikely that you're going to learn the whole truth if the line manager is asking the question! The saying goes people don't quit jobs they quit bosses.
But even if your staff structure doesn't allow for this, it is important to find out as much as possible about people's motives for leaving.
What if you are the problem?
We may not want to admit it, but you or your management team may be the reason that people leave. Rather than hide your head in the sand, reflect on what you need to do to change. Find out what are the things that people find difficult or frustrating about working for you or with you, and then figure out a way to change your approach before others decide to jump ship.
How much direction do you provide? Do people know exactly what's expected of them, and have the tools, time and resources to deliver? Lead by example so there are no mixed messages.
Ensure that you and your management team are approachable. Provide support when it's needed, and be receptive to when this is required. Not everyone will be confident enough to ask for help. Consult staff and listen to their ideas; they may be able to offer better ways of doing things.
Take time to talk to staff to build relationships and show an interest in them as individuals. Listen to and act quickly on any concerns. Identify what's important to them recognising that with the varied cultures and backgrounds of your staff that their values and priorities may sometimes be different to your own.
They say that "people don't leave their jobs, they leave their managers." Can you really afford to let that happen?
About the Author
Caroline Cooper's new online leadership coaching program which includes more help and guidance on a range of leadership topics is being launched in September.
Caroline Cooper is a business coach with over 25 years in business and management development. She is the founder of Zeal Coaching, specialising in working with hospitality businesses, and is author of the 'Hotel Success Handbook.'