What Do Hospitality Job Seekers Really Want From Their Employer?
Building a successful employer brand that attracts quality candidates and retains them through a long-term career lifecycle is top of mind for most hospitality employers today, especially considering that the unemployment rate in the United States is at its lowest level in decades and many sectors are experiencing a higher-than-normal turnover rate for employees (over 70% for the hospitality industry in 2017).
In order to boost your retention levels and build stronger internal teams that are high-performing and committed to their own personal growth and the growth of your organization, make these employee concerns a prioritiy in your recruitment and professional development strategies:
Research overwhelmingly shows across industries that happy workers are more productive, more engaged, and more committed to their employers. While happiness is certainly subjective, by making this a targeted outcome for your employees and a cornerstone of any recruitment or development strategy, you'll create a people-driven culture where true employee satisfaction is an organizational-wide priority.
A Roadmap for Advancement
One of the most attractive qualities of the hospitality industry is that for many the barrier to entry is quite attainable as many entry-level positions don't require degrees or years of experience but do offer fairly quick opportunities for advancement and pathways to management. These pathways need to be clearly communicated to employees and potential employees so that they understand the true long-term value of an entry-level job and have a strong sense of where they can go from there.
Provide them with the support they need not only to define this career path but also to reach these goals and work their way up. Demonstrate to them how they can build a career not just a job, even from an entry-level position.
According to the AHLA, from 2005-2015 the hotel industry increased wages by 300%, and the majority of hotels pay a starting rate that is above minimum wage for at least 90% of their entry-level employees.
A successful recruiement and retention strategy will effectively communicate these attritubtes to job candidates and employees, emphasizing also the opportunity to advance quickly that comes with most entry-level hospitality roles.
It's a well-known stat that millennial workers in particular place a high value on workplace flexibility, the ability to work remotely part or all of the time, or the chance to have more autonomy over their own schedules. Meeting this need can be difficult or nearly impossible for many roles in the hospitality industry that require on-site interactions. Chefs don't work remotely.
So how can hospitality employers meet the growing demand of workplace flexibility? For one, allowing employees some flexibility in their hours or scheduling can allow for a greater sense of work/life balance and opportunity to care for children or family members. Adopting an approach where you support and encourage attendance rather than manage or punish absences can also create a culture where employees feel empowered to manage their own schedules responsiblity and more likely to remain loyal and motivated over the long-haul.
Perks & Benefits
Among the 5 hotel companies that made Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" 2018 list, benefits and perks were one of the strongest common denominators in why employees reported such high satisfaction rates with these employers.
From discounts, incentives, PTO, office perks, paid parental leave, travel opportunities and offers, or generous health coverage... perks and benefits for the hospitality industry can come in many shapes and forms, but it's clear that these are highly valuable and desirable offerings that job candidates care about and should be an intergral part of an employer brand.
Incentivizing high performing employees and rewarding their successes is one of the best ways to inspire loyalt and create a staff that is committed to growing their career within your organization. Not only do they need to see a clear roadmap for how they can advance, but they also need to be rewarded along the way as they work toward their goals.
Employees who regularly receive positive feeback (whether verbally, through monetary rewards or other perks, or by being recognized publicly) feel like valuable members of the organization, which translates to higher morale levels and increased productivity.
Training should not end after onboarding, nor should it happen once a year. The most effective approaches to retention offer regular, even on-going training that is highly accessible for employees at every level.
On-going professional development signals to staff that they're working towards growth (as well as a higher position, better salary, more benefits, etc.), and motivates them to experience that growth with your company, rather than a competitor.