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How to Invest in Your Hotel’s Workforce to Ensure Heightened Loyalty, Productivity and Business Success

By Rachel Lahr 27. March 2024

Three women working in hospitality smiling at computer. The hospitality industry is recognized for its dynamic and vibrant nature, yet it faces significant challenges in recruiting and retaining a dedicated workforce.  82 percent of hotels report staffing shortages while the industry as a whole continues to suffer from a 84.9 turnover rate. Despite these issues, it is clear that maintaining a productive and reliable workforce is essential to operating a successful hotel business in an era where achieving guest satisfaction is paramount and based on ever-increasing standards.

With the stakes being high and as regional markets become more competitive in their attempts to attract guests, developing a workplace environment able to draw and retain skilled talent is no longer just a goal; it's a business necessity. Yet for today’s hoteliers to achieve results in building a knowledgeable, productive and loyal workforce, success is ultimately proving to lie through a combination of restructuring operations and mindsets while leveraging new technologies.


Recruitment Strategies for Hotels

It’s often mentioned that many hospitality-based employees left the industry during the height of Covid-19 for other professions and have not returned. In the quest for quality talent, hotels must ultimately refine their approach to stand out in a competitive job market that increasingly also means competing with other industries.

The first step in attracting the right candidates is to post clear and comprehensive job descriptions. This not only ensures that those with the necessary skillsets apply, but also assists with setting employee expectations for the type of experience that a job role offers- increasing the likelihood of remaining in the role as a result.  

Another essential recruitment strategy revolves around employer branding and promoting a hotel’s values and culture. Businesses undoubtedly should always try to put their best foot forward when competing against other organizations to attract talent. By placing a spotlight on their ethics and the type of workplace environment they aim to provide, hoteliers can enhance their ability to resonate with candidates who share similar ideals. This provides the benefit of attracting diverse employees who have the best chance of succeeding within an environment that matches their own beliefs. At the same time, such employees can reinforce a hotel’s workplace culture and values which only increases the ability to live up to organizational goals, standards and reputations.      


Structuring Operations for Positive Work Environments

As with any type of business, the day-to-day flow of operations and tasks can make or break a hotel’s ability to earn the loyalty of their employee teams. As an industry with one of the highest turnover rates, hospitality-based businesses unfortunately have a reputation for being high stress environments where the ever-growing number of responsibilities can lead to a greater risk of burnout. With as many as 80.3 percent of employees indicating that they have experienced burnout by their workload, hospitality professionals have an urgent need to implement an effective solution if they wish to retain their staff, maintain a positive work ethic and consistently ensure high quality guest service.

Fortunately, the industry now has access to new technologies and staff management strategies that are able to significantly reduce the pressure placed on employees while boosting operational efficiency. Examples include IoT and cloud-based operation systems that are able to maintain instant communication with employees and real-time awareness over which tasks need to be prioritized. Using a modern cloud-based access management system, for instance, property staff no longer have to lose time being chained to a desk and can instead access and oversee the system from virtually any device connected to the internet. Without having to sacrifice their attention on other tasks or frantically search for the nearest stationary terminal, employees utilizing a cloud-based access management system can always stay on top of security access needs requiring a swift response.    

Another increasingly essential tool in minimizing the pressure on staff while further boosting productivity are location-based solutions. Initially gaining industry attention as an effective means of providing hotel staff with immediate assistance in the event of a threat to their safety, hospitality-based businesses are discovering more use cases for the technology that can reduce stress and task completion times. For example, properties are increasingly adopting asset management platforms that can identify the precise location of amenities, inventory, tools and much more in real-time. For employees juggling multiple guest requests and responsibilities, the ability to sidestep time-consuming searches for the right item can make a tremendous difference in minimizing feelings of being overwhelmed.

In addition to adopting efficiency-enhancing technologies, hoteliers aiming to develop a positive work environment should also consider modern employee expectations for a fair work-life balance. With many staff members often having to manage several outside of work responsibilities such as childcare, study or another job, inflexible schedules are simply at odds for hotels that wish to attract and retain skilled employees. While managers may understandably be distracted by the need to fill shifts, the reality is that the number of employees assigned to work a shift often does not equate to service demand levels- with slow periods frequently being overstaffed while peak demand periods find themselves perilously understaffed. To counter such issues, more robust scheduling tools now exist that can take fluctuating service demand levels into account. Such platforms can ensure that shifts are always staffed adequately while also providing team members with options to pick up shifts based on both their personal needs as well as the needs of a business.          

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Fostering Professional Development

In the struggle to gain the loyalty of skilled employees, more hospitality-based businesses are recognizing the value of addressing growing staff demands for empowerment and engagement. More than ever and regardless of profession, today’s workforce desires to feel valued, heard and that their efforts contribute to an organization’s success. Property managers can effectively cater to such expectations by providing staff with the ability to voice their opinions, recommendations and concerns using surveys or via email, for example. As frontline employees that directly interact with guests, providing a hotel’s staff with this ability not only allows them to experience a greater sense of investment in the success of a business- it can also uncover opportunities to improve service quality, eliminate inefficiencies and enhance the rates of guest satisfaction.

In today’s workforce market, employees also desire job roles that lead to the learning of new skills and professional growth. To prevent their staff from looking for such opportunities elsewhere, hoteliers should seek out opportunities to clearly promote career pathways. From catering to a housekeeper’s desire to learn front desk operations to providing maintenance personnel with options to earn new certifications, hotel businesses should investigate any avenues they may have at their disposal to demonstrate to their employees that they have a future within the organization.  


Leveraging the Benefits of a Loyal Workforce

The recruitment and retention of skilled and dedicated employees is pivotal to the success of any hospitality business, with the advantages of a loyal workforce able to extend far beyond staff satisfaction. By implementing effective recruitment strategies and investing in creating a positive work environment where each team member feels valued, hoteliers can ultimately gain the loyal workforce they need to maintain a competitive business, increase profitability and minimize expenses that are otherwise inevitable when dealing with high turnover rates.  

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By: Rachel Lahr

Rachel Lahr serves as VP & Head of Key Accounts for Hospitality at ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions. Holding more than 20 years of commercial experience, Rachel is tasked with forging and strengthening relationships with customers from hospitality markets around the world. With her expertise in building high performance teams and overseeing commercial negotiations, Rachel also plays a key role in aligning company solutions and go-to-market strategies with customer needs in order to maintain sustainable organizational growth. Based in Richardson, Texas, Rachel holds a Master and Bachelor of business administration from Western Michigan University.

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