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5 Strategies for Reducing Turnover in Your Hotel

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5 Strategies for Reducing Turnover in Your Hotel

  1. 1. The international association, Consultants of Hospitality Administrators, states,“…the only way to put the customer first in the hospitality industry is by putting the employee first.” But finding and keeping the right employees has been a struggle throughout the industry. According to Deloitte’s Hospitality 2015 – Game Changers or Spectators report hotel operators spend an average of 45% of operating expenses and 33% of their annual revenue on labor costs. Despite this, the industry is still plagued by high turnover with approximately 50% of non-management and 25% of management employees expected to change jobs by the end of the year. While some reasons for turnover may be out of hotel management control, there are some steps you can take to possibly increase employee retention: 1) Create a blueprint of your ideal candidate Developing an understanding of the specific talents and “soft skills” job candidates need is an essential part of successful recruitment and reducing hotel employee turnover. Soft skills are defined as attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people, also known as people skills. However, most recruiters can tell you it can be difficult to measure these skills during the interview phase. Houston Chronicle writer, Rose Johnson recommends the following steps to ascertain the skills you are seeking: • Write down the most important personality traits needed for the job position. Consider the importance of a candidate’s temperament, motivation, attitude and initiative. Hotel employees need personality skills and attributes that will facilitate their interactions with customers, employees and managers on a daily basis.. • Create a job posting targeting a select group of job seekers. List the most important hard skills needed for the job. Work experience, qualification and education are examples of hard skills. Listing specific hard skills in a posting allows you to avoid the job seekers who are unqualified for the position because they are not likely to apply. • Provide job candidates with a personality assessment to identify soft skills. Look for an assessment tailored for the hotel industry. Match the candidate’s personality traits
  2. 2. against a benchmark profile to eliminate candidates who do not possess the necessary soft skills. 2) Use technology to find the best candidates Finding the right candidate no longer means weeding through a mound of applications and resumes, wrangling multiple job postings, or spending valuable hours on interviews. Hoteliers can utilize an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), like GetHired.com, to streamline their recruitment efforts into one central location. ATSs are built to better assist management of resumes and applicant information.
  3. 3. Features such as video and voice prescreening and prequalification questionnaires allow hotel employers to only focus on the most promising candidates. An added benefit of using an ATS is the ability to post to multiple channels including social media, classifieds and job boards. Most job and resume boards have agreements with ATS providers to allow parsing support and ease of data migration between systems.
  4. 4. 3) Offer competitive pay and attainable recognition Studies have shown that one of the top reasons hospitality workers leave a job is inadequate compensation for jobs that deal so closely with customer service. In order to be successful hotel operators must recognize the value of their employees.
  5. 5. In a recent interview on yourBusiness Channel, Lionel Benjamin, Director-Hotels for the Topland Group of Companies noted, “Without them we are nothing. Our team members are probably the most important component of our business.” As Benjamin goes on to illuminate, guest service is largely dependent on how on team members are treated. When it comes to compensations, he recommends paying staff a competitive wage. “Once you start paying people a little bit more, you don’t lose profit from the bottom line. You actually gain significant uplift on the bottom line,” he said. Additionally, hoteliers have strengthened employee retention through employee recognition programs. One such hotel group, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, has developed a “Service Plus” principle to recognize employee performance. With their “Star of the Month” program, each of Fairmont’s properties recognizes three employees a month for outstanding service. Winners are chosen in three separate categories: front-of-house, heart-of-house (departments without immediate guest contact) and manager. Winners are honored at a formal reception and receive an awards package that includes a thank-you letter from the General Manager, an inscribed plaque, a “Service Plus” pin, a watch and a gift. All award items carry the Service Plus logo, further publicizing the recognition program among staff. The effects of the program are evident by the numerous travel awards and recognition the Fairmont properties receive. 4) Educate employees during the onboarding process In an article for Hotelexecutive.com, Joyce Gioia, CEO, Employer of Choice Inc. states “The onboarding period presents one of the best opportunities for hotel human resource professionals to begin their process of connecting and engaging the new employee, so that s/he will stay.” In fact, an employee can decide within the first 30 days if they feel welcomed at a company and will stay at a company. An effective onboarding process lays out the framework of our company, including mission, goals and values. Prior to day one, have new hires complete all paperwork to ensure that the orientation process is not wasted. Doug Krey, Senior Vice President of Human Resources Systems and Services for Hilton Worldwide recommends the following “eight vital elements” in an effective orientation:
  6. 6. i. Resell the company. The applicant was sold on the property when he or she said "yes" to your job offer, but how long ago was that? Even if the interview was the previous day, a lot can happen in the life of an applicant. He may have seen another newspaper ad that looked interesting. (The innocent applicant doesn't know that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.) Or she may have received a call back from another interview offering a comparable job. The orientation is your renewed opportunity to answer the often heard question, "Why should I work for you?" ii. Explain and quantify the benefits. Here's your chance to communicate how much your hotel invests in all those employee benefits. Most new employees-most all employees for that matter-haven't a clue what the real costs are. Health and major medical insurance benefits are too often taken for granted. You're likely to be paying more than employees think you are. What does the 401(k) cost the company every year? What are those stock options really worth? iii. Give employees something of value. Give employees something of value to them during the orientation-something that makes them feel like they invested their time well. Sure, you should pay them for their time, but help them to feel that they actually learned something. Perhaps it's something about goal setting or time management or stress reduction or software. Whatever you choose, make sure it has a high perceived value for the new employees. Otherwise, you're wasting your time and the company's money, and what's worse, you're distancing the new employees you want to connect with. iv. Tell your success stories. Present people who have risen through the ranks so your new employees can see that advancement is possible. People identify with success stories. They say to themselves, "If she can do it, so can I!" Give your new employees an understanding of the various career paths that are open to them if they meet or exceed company expectations. They should sense, "This hotel helps people grow, and since I want to grow, this is a good place for me right now". Please take notice of the "right now". Understand that today's employees feel they must maintain control of their own careers. They've seen friends, relatives, and acquaintances get laid off from long-term jobs, so to them, corporate loyalty to employees is virtually dead. They know that they must be responsible for continuing to be marketable, which leads us to our next point. v. Provide a mentor or coach. Be sure your orientation covers the fact that new employees will receive a mentor or coach. These very important people will help new employees develop the career plans they want and need. Sometimes, the mentor is the person's supervisor or manager. It doesn't matter who-just make sure those counselors are taught how to effectively mentor or coach.
  7. 7. vi. Clarify expectations. Let employees know what the company will do for each of them and what will be expected from them as well. Clear expectations make better relationships. Unrealistic expectations that subsequently go unfulfilled are a recipe for high turnover. 5) Provide training and opportunities for advancement A strong contributor to employee retention is development opportunities which gives staff the opportunities to expand their skills. Supporting employee development sends the message that they are valued team members and the company is committed to their success and career growth. Staff training provides numerous opportunities for Return On Investment (ROI), as outline in a recent article on www.go2hr.ca Some of the reasons to take on development initiatives: • Training helps your business run better. Trained employees will be better equipped to handle customer inquiries, make a sale or use computer systems. • Training is a recruiting tool. Today's young workers want more than a pay check. They are geared toward seeking employment that allows them to learn new skills. You are more likely to attract and keep good employees if you can offer development opportunities. • Training promotes job satisfaction. Nurturing employees to develop more rounded skill sets will help them contribute to the company. The more engaged and involved they are in working for your success, the better your rewards. • Training is a retention tool, instilling loyalty and commitment from good workers. Staff looking for the next challenge will be more likely to stay if you offer ways for them to learn and grow while at your company. Don't give them a reason to move on by letting them stagnate once they've mastered initial tasks. • Training adds flexibility and efficiency. You can cross-train employees to be capable in more than one aspect of the business. Teach them to be competent in sales, customer service, administration and operations. This will help keep them interested and will be enormously helpful to you when setting schedules or filling in for absences. Cross- training also fosters team spirit, as employees appreciate the challenges faced by co- workers.
  8. 8. • Training is essential for knowledge transfer. It's very important to share knowledge among your staff. If only one person has special skills, you'll have a tough time recouping their knowledge if they suddenly leave the company. Spread knowledge around — it's like diversifying your investments. • Training gives seasonal workers a reason to return. Let seasonal employees know there are more ways than one to contribute. Instead of hiring someone new, offer them a chance to learn new skills and benefit from their experience. When hotel groups such as Hyatt Corporation invest in training on all levels the turnover rates for non-management level employees reduces drastically. With “Changing the Conversation” training initiative, Hyatt saw an increase in housekeeper tenure to more than 12 years, over 3 years more than industry norms.

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