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Video Podcast: Hospitality Trends During Pandemic Recovery

Video Podcast: Hospitality Trends During Pandemic Recovery

We sat down with Karla Dougherty, SVP of Strategic Accounts at HSS to get her expert take on what she’s hearing from clients and how HSS is serving their evolving needs during this uncertain recovery period.

Highlight: Flexibility in the Hospitality Industry is Vital During COVID Recovery

One thing that I see as a common theme from our clients is that they know that this period is not over. So, everybody’s sure that uncertainty, unfortunately, is something that we will have to continue to deal with moving forward. But what we are seeing more consistent is from them a shift in being more open and more flexible. And those that are actually making that shift quicker and faster, we see that they are able to solve some of the problems or at least talking about them with us. There is not a quick solution for anything. But we do see that trend, if you will, within some of our markets more than others.

With the changes that we’ve had within the last year, we’ve seen some of our partners be more open to the idea to become flexible in the shift that we’re going to offer to our associates, or they’re going to be more flexible in the protocols that they need to be applying when they’re being onboarded or cleaning the hotel rooms. And indeed, the adjustment that we had to had in terms of the mindset with the labor pools, with compensation. So, we do have some clients that are very in sync with what is happening in the market, very understanding, and who are working with us to be flexible and ahead of the curve, if you will, with the wages and the compensations. And we’ve seen some of them that are still having a little bit of a resistance to it. And obviously those, you know, get on board later on. It just takes them a little bit of more time. So, the key right now that we’ve seen is that flexibility when it comes to what’s happening locally in that market and when having to change the logic that we had six months ago.

Highlight:  We Never Stopped Recruiting

[HSS is] working with our current partners to be more flexible in the ways that we are recruiting, to still have a very good grassroots recruiting in each of the markets, to improve the communication with the candidate pool, to ensure that we’re not only telling them that wages are going to be different but also that the flexibility is going to be there, and also to ensure that we make these new roles or these roles that we’re offering in hospitality attractive for them and that they are still very mindful of the workload that they will have to have when they join the hotels. So, having those conversations and still being strategic about that. As a company, we never stop recruiting, not even during the pandemic, which I think has been a competitive edge for HSS because we were able to see firsthand some of that shifting the pools from the hotels to other industries. So that actually has helped us to inform and educate our clients of those trends and then have some collaborative approach on how do we bring back some of those associates to the hospitality industry.

Highlight: Trends Beyond COVID

One of them is related to changes in assets from one management company to the other. So we’ve seen a lot of merging from companies and acquisitions within different portfolios. And with that, it has come also a big awareness at the level of the decision making for new services.

The Full Conversation

James Krouse [00:00:05] Hi, my name is James Krouse, I’m the senior vice president of marketing at Hospitality Staffing Solutions or HSS, a KBS company. Hosting the HSS Hospitality Trends podcast together with Carla Dougherty, who is the SVP of Strategic Accounts at HSS. Today we’re going to be talking about trends and strategies in the hospitality industry moving ahead. Karla, welcome.

Karla Dougherty [00:00:35] Thanks, James.

James Krouse [00:00:37] So first, Karla, can you just describe your role at HSS and also the SAM program overall and how that works?

Karla Dougherty [00:00:47] Sure, our SAM program is part of an alignment strategy that we had as a company after being acquired early last year by KBS. And the main goal of the program is to ensure that we can provide support to our nationwide customers and ensure that we are acting more as a strategic partner for them and adding value based on the services that we currently offer by keeping them informed not only on that, but also on the trends that are happening within the services that we provide.

James Krouse [00:01:21] And, you know, in that role of working strategically with clients, I’m sure that you are involved in discussions and have insight into how hospitality leaders are really dealing with this recovery period that we’re in right now in hospitality and in the economy overall.

Karla Dougherty [00:01:41] Yes, absolutely, and to say that changes happened very quickly is an understatement. So currently, the way that we have seen some of the leaders in the industry acting is by being very open to what is going on, changing not only their standards and protocols and how they do business right now within the industry, but also partnering with us in new ways, venues and ideas to be able to help them with the resources that they need, which in this case, you know, staffing being one of the most critical.

James Krouse [00:02:16] And what about the uncertainty of the period that we’re in right now? How are your clients dealing with that? And do you have any insight into how to deal with that uncertainty?

Karla Dougherty [00:02:28] Yes. And will it have been different for everybody, James. Obviously, we’ve seen some companies that have taken a little bit longer to realize the quick changes that we’re witnessing in the industry. And again, it has been very challenging for everybody. But for the most part, the one thing that I see as a common theme from our clients is that they know that this period is not over. So, everybody’s sure that uncertainty, unfortunately, is something that we will have to continue to deal with moving forward. But what we are seeing more consistent is from them a shift in being more open and more flexible. And those that are actually making that shift quicker and faster, we see that they are able to solve some of the problems or at least talking about them with us. There is not a quick solution for anything. But we do see that trend, if you will, within some of our markets more than others.

James Krouse [00:03:33] Could you just elaborate on when you say quicker and more flexible? Are there some examples you can give?

Karla Dougherty [00:03:38] Yeah, absolutely. So, for instance, we all know that the hospitality industry was very set in its ways in the days prior to the pandemic – from the cleaning protocols to the way that we would recruit and hire and onboard. With the changes that we’ve had within the last year, we’ve seen some of our partners be more open to the idea to become flexible in the shift that we’re going to offer to our associates, or they’re going to be more flexible in the protocols that they need to be applying when they’re being onboarded or cleaning the hotel rooms. And indeed, the adjustment that we had to had in terms of the mindset with the labor pools, with compensation. So, we do have some clients that are very in sync with what is happening in the market, very understanding, and who are working with us to be flexible and ahead of the curve, if you will, with the wages and the compensations. And we’ve seen some of them that are still having a little bit of a resistance to it. And obviously those, you know, get on board later on. It just takes them a little bit of more time. So, the key right now that we’ve seen is that flexibility when it comes to what’s happening locally in that market and when having to change the logic that we had six months ago.

James Krouse [00:05:00] Well, let’s talk a little bit about the current labor situation, because that’s on everyone’s mind right now. What are some strategies that are working in the hospitality industry in tackling the labor shortage that we are facing right now?

Karla Dougherty [00:05:18] Absolutely. Well, let’s start with there’s no magic pill to fix this situation. But with that said, we are working with our current partners to be more flexible in the ways that we are recruiting, to still have a very good grassroots recruiting in each of the markets, to improve the communication with the candidate pool, to ensure that we’re not only telling them that wages are going to be different but also that the flexibility is going to be there, and also to ensure that we make these new roles or these roles that we’re offering in hospitality attractive for them and that they are still very mindful of the workload that they will have to have when they join the hotels. So, having those conversations and still being strategic about that. As a company, we never stop recruiting, not even during the pandemic, which I think has been a competitive edge for HSS because we were able to see firsthand some of that shifting the pools from the hotels to other industries. So that actually has helped us to inform and educate our clients of those trends and then have some collaborative approach on how do we bring back some of those associates to the hospitality industry.

James Krouse [00:06:40] And I know it’s hard to get to look beyond the pandemic, but I wondered if you’re seeing in your conversations with clients longer term trends that that are impacting hospitality good and bad.

Karla Dougherty [00:06:58] Yes, we’ve seen some of these trends. For instance, one of them is related to changes in assets from one management company to the other. So we’ve seen a lot of merging from companies and acquisitions within different portfolios. And with that, it has come also a big awareness at the level of the decision making for new services. In the past, we did notice that general managers at a proper level will have the buying decision. But right now, because of the costs associated with it and obviously the financial stress that the industry has, we see more involvement of their management company, their corporate offices, and indeed the ownerships in the decision process. So in the end, we do see that little by little there will be more opportunities for consolidation of some of these vendors or strategic partners, especially at a nationwide perspective, because they are looking more at the opportunities of having a better deal or improving their service quality and their standards and probably lower their cost. We are having these open conversations with them in order to help them where they need suport.

James Krouse [00:08:15] And that ties into HSS now being a KBS company. You mentioned that at the at the top. You want to just talk a little bit about that acquisition and also the benefits that it’s bringing to a lot of HSS clients.

Karla Dougherty [00:08:33] Yes, absolutely. So for instance, as part of our offer, SAM program last year I mentioned after the acquisition – our company has been very well known for thirty five plus years as a leader in the industry on the staffing side, as we have specialized mostly in that vertical, but with the acquisition of our company, now we have additional services that are critical as well for the facility management of the hotel and their operations. So now, instead of just being one of these two strategic partners for our clients, where we can offer only the labor force, the staffing side, we’re able to bundle some additional services that are also alleviating some of that shortage. For instance, of janitorial services, cleaning their kitchen and their public areas, their restaurants, as they are being open and back online, as well as some of the services involving the maintenance of the exterior, anything from their landscaping of the property, which again, taking consideration that some properties were close for a long time. So, getting these back online is attractive for their guests or keeping that in good shape as well as the parking lot maintenance or even the snow removal services in season.

James Krouse [00:09:51] Great. Well, Karla, that’s all the time we have. I’m sure we’re going to be talking again soon. I’m James Krouse with Hospitality Staffing Solutions. We’ve been talking to Carla Dougherty, who is the SVP of the Strategic Account Program there at HSS. And this has been the Hospitality Trends podcast. Thanks for watching and listening.

Karla Dougherty [00:10:13] Thank you, James.

 

 

 

 

Five Solutions for Labor Shortages in Hospitality

Five Solutions for Labor Shortages in Hospitality

Solutions for Hospitality Labor Challenges in 2021

The HSS team is working closely with its parent company, KBS, to offer hotels, resorts, casinos, and restaurants a truly comprehensive set of facility services solutions.  This combination can help properties address shortages in labor during this critical time of recovery for the hospitality industry.  KBS has just published Five Solutions for the Labor Shortages in Hospitality.  The piece looks at how the combination ofLabor Shortage in Hospitality services can be combined to address labor shortages with:

  • Supplemental Staffing
  • Outsourced Cleaning
  • Recruiting Assistance
  • Full Departmental Outsourcing
  • Bundled Facility Services

From the post:

As hospitality venues re-open and see increased demand from customers and guests, it’s clear: labor shortages could slow the recovery, hampering businesses trying to capitalize on the booming consumer demand. From kitchen staff to waitstaff to housekeepers to front desk managers, the hospitality industry is faced with one of the tightest labor markets in years amid an economic recovery from one of the worst crises in living memory.

As the hotels, resorts, and restaurants recover from what was arguably one of its worst years for hospitality, the labor shortage brings an additional challenge. With tight budgets coming out of a catastrophic 2020, it may be tempting to reduce outsource solutions. But this strategy will worsen the problem. Now is the time to bring new solutions to bear on tight labor markets that may ultimately lead to long term changes to how the industry addresses healthy operations. The industry may have been hit hard by the pandemic, but, with the right partnerships, there are strong opportunities ahead.

You can read the full post here:  https://www.kbs-services.com/insights/five-solutions-for-the-labor-shortages-in-hospitality/

Kellermeyer Bergensons Services, LLC (“KBS”), is a trusted partner to leading operations and facility managers across 75,000 client locations throughout North America.

The Annual Housekeeper Survey: Download Here

The Annual Housekeeper Survey: Download Here

Survey of More Than 10,000 HSS Workers Shows Impact of COVID-19 and Eagerness to Return to Hospitality

Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS), the largest hospitality staffing firm in the United States, has released the initial 2020 results of its annual Survey of Hospitality Staff. The survey includes key findings around the impact of COVID and workforce inclination to returning to work safely during a long recovery ahead.

The survey was initially conducted among deployed HSS staff prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then updated in October 2020 to measure the impact of COVID-19. The survey includes responses from more than 10,000 back-of-house HSS employees surveyed across North America — primarily housekeepers, food service employees and janitorial staff.

Hospitality Staffing Solutions Releases Key Findings from 2nd Annual Housekeeper Survey

Hospitality Staffing Solutions Releases Key Findings from 2nd Annual Housekeeper Survey

Survey of More Than 10,000 HSS Workers Shows Impact of COVID-19 and Eagerness to Return to Hospitality

ATLANTA (November 20, 2020) — Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS), the largest hospitality staffing firm in the United States, has released the initial 2020 results of its annual Survey of Hospitality Staff. The survey includes key findings around the impact of COVID and workforce inclination to returning to work safely during a long recovery ahead.
The survey was initially conducted among deployed HSS staff prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then updated in October 2020 to measure the impact of COVID-19. The survey includes responses from more than 10,000 back-of-house HSS employees surveyed across North America — primarily housekeepers, food service employees and janitorial staff.

“This survey reveals both the resilience of the hospitality workforce and their stated desire to return to the industry during the recovery period,” said Tim McPherson, President of HSS. “Throughout the pandemic, HSS has maintained and even grown its pool of workers and continues to employ people through a mix of hospitality and other sectors. Listening closely to this team and answering their needs will be an important factor moving ahead as the hotel industry continues its recovery in 2021.”

Some of the key findings from the report related to the huge impact that the global pandemic has had on the hospitality industry:

● 68% said that they saw a reduction or elimination of hours
● 45% said they found work in other industry sectors

The survey also shows that hospitality workers strongly align their career aspirations with the hotel industry and are very much looking forward to returning to work:

● 87% of respondents said they would like to return to work in a hotel or resort
● 81% said they would feel safe returning to work in a hotel
HSS workers still employed in hospitality, generally feel safe in their day-to-day work at hotels and resorts:
● 91% said that they have received adequate training to work safely.
● 90% said they have the supplies needed to perform their jobs safely and effectively

HSS worked with with ClearlyRated to compile the data for this study. ClearlyRated (formerly known as Inavero) administers more staffing agency client and talent satisfaction surveys than any other firm in the world, reporting on more than 1.2 million satisfaction surveys from staffing agency clients and job seekers each year.
The complete survey and analysis covering job satisfaction, pay, and other factors will be will be made available later in Q4 of 2020.
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About Hospitality Staffing Solutions
Founded in 1990 in Atlanta, Hospitality Staffing Solutions, LLC (“HSS”) proudly claims a leading market share at the world’s leading hotel brands and management companies, and looks to continue its expansion into new geographies through organic expansion of its branch office network, strategic acquisitions, and further development of its service capabilities. Hospitality Staffing Solutions earned the 2019 & 2020 Best of Staffing Client Award for service excellence based on client ratings. Learn more about Hospitality Staffing Solutions at www.hssstaffing.com.

HSS was acquired in 2020 by Kellermeyer Bergensons Services, LLC (“KBS”) KBS is a trusted partner to leading operations and facility managers across 75,000 client locations throughout North America. We provide essential facility services that deliver healthy operations to businesses through scalable solutions customized to meet client-specific requirements. Our expertise and technology enable our teams to anticipate issues, ensure quality, and maximize efficiency. With decades of experience in facility hygiene, including being on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 crisis, KBS is committed to partnering with clients to Stay Ahead of the Curve™ with the latest advances for maintaining healthy operations. For more information, visit www.kbs-services.com.

Determining Hotel Staff Payrates

Determining Hotel Staff Payrates

2019 Pay rate Guide: HSS Western Region

Finding competitive pay rates is one of the most challenging aspects of maintaining an effective workforce. HSS is here to help with a guide that helps determine payrates in your state, region, and city.

How do we determine pay rates?

Pay rates can vary greatly in the same region for different industries. It’s important to consider this factor in determining pay rates for hospitality.

HSS consults with different sources and also relies on its field organization to determine competitive pay rates. Looking at sources such as Payscale and CareerBuilder, we combine research with actual pay in our markets. With more that 80 locations nationwide HSS has a live database to enhance existing data and determine what will be effective in the markets we serve. In addition, we have a dedicated corporate team tasked with investigating federal, state, and local laws and provide information on minimum wage increases.

Factors for Effective Calculations

There are many factors that impact pay rates and many factors particular to the hospitality industry. A few of these factors include:

  • Experience
  • Service Offering of Hotels
  • Turnover Rate
  • Geography
  • Available Transportation

Many of these factors are particularly meaningful in California where regulations can often change the landscape of pay dramatically between local municipalities.

Big Players, Big Changes

When a large scale employers increases pay, this can have a dramatic impact on prevailing wages.  For example, when Amazon increased its minimum wage to $15 an hour nationwide, the impact on many markets large and small was significant.

Many hotels and resorts require housekeepers and other staff that have experience. This can increase pay rates depending on the number of year’s of experience a worker has.

The Cost of Poor Wage Calculations

While increased wages can seem like a challenge to keep up with, there is a silver lining.  Information can help determine an effective wage, reduce turnover and increase productivity.  Many of these factors are more costly to solve in turnover, loss of efficiency and low quality scores.  HSS recognizes the need for accurate pay rates in markets and uses this information to work with clients to supply the right level of staff at the right experience levels.

Strategies for Rising Hospitality Wages

Strategies for Rising Hospitality Wages

Rising Payrates Lead to Effective Strategy from Hospitality Staffing Solutions

 

Michelle Sims, VP of Hospitality Staffing Solutions Southwestern Division, speaks about her team’s strategy for responding to rising wages in Denver and Beyond

 

Michelle Sims is the VP of Hospitality Staffing Solutions’ Southwestern Division.  Sims’ team has worked with hotels, resorts and casinos in Denver for the last two years to smoothly navigate through minimum wage hikes that began to take effect in 2016.   

With the passage of Amendment 70, effective January 1, 2017, Colorado’s minimum wage increased to $9.30 per hour and will increase annually by $0.90 each January 1 until it reaches $12 per hour effective January 2020.

Sims shares her insights into how the market reacted and outlines some strategies that can be implemented anywhere to prepare for increases imminent throughout the U.S.

Minimum wage was first raised to $9.30 an hour effective on January 1, 2017.  What was the market reaction in Colorado?

In 2017, we saw that employers throughout many sectors including food service, hospitality, and retail, were raising their payrates beyond the minimum wage.  And they were doing this prior to the wage increases were mandated to go up.  I think that took many hotels off guard.  They were looking at a new minimum wage as a cost increase which was predictable and more or less an accounting issue.  Instead it turned out to be a disruptive influence on the marketplace causing people to look at other places of work or across different industries.   Many businesses took advantage of this pool of workers suddenly looking around at their options and were using higher

Michelle Sims is VP for the Southwestern Division of Hospitality Staffing Solutions wages to attract new employees.

Why do you think that the hike in minimum wage caused people to look for work?

I think it’s one of the unintended consequences of this kind of legislation.  Pay is suddenly being discussed in a public way and it’s natural for people look around for opportunities to get ahead.  With this legislation, Individuals seeking work have more options to increase their income and feel a sense of empowerment to ‘shop’ around and consider their options in an already tight labor market.

How have you worked with your clients to use this knowledge for future hikes?

We work with our clients throughout the year to prepare for the next year’s minimum wage increases.  Getting ahead of those rates and beginning to offer valued employees an increase in pay mid-year heads off the large scale movement of workers at the beginning of the year.  We provide them with details on pay trends in the market and work out plans for raising payrates while we also work out scheduling, volume of workers needed and employee retention activities.

Do you think this exercise is unique to the Denver market?

There are many places throughout the U.S. that are experiencing similar stepped increase to the minimum wage and many more are considering similar legislation.  With unemployment low virtually everywhere in the U.S., it’s hard to imagine a market that is not experiencing some competition for employees.  When a market raises its minimum wage, it intensifies that competition but it’s always there.  Wages are increasing as employers compete for a shrinking pool of qualified employees.  A minimum wage hike due to legislation just makes that increase more clear-cut.

What lessons can you share from your experience in Denver?

First, you have to get ahead of the curve when it comes to raising your rates.  Do it in advance of the deadline and consider raising rates above the minimum.  When the deadline hits, you’ll have a lot more employers flooding the market looking to fill open position and a lot more employers offering higher wages to fill much needed positions to run their business.   Timing is everything and I would say that it’s never too soon to start mapping out a strategy.

Also, employers should look at their total package when it comes to what they offer employees.  There are many things that workers value beyond a larger paycheck.  But don’t lose sight that in the Denver market, the pay rate is the foundation for recruiting and the additional benefits and the environment, along with their pay rate, is the foundation for employee retention.

What are some of the actions employers can take to retain and attract employees?

Flexibility in scheduling and time off can have a huge influence on whether an employee stays or not.  When it comes to coordinating child care or the care of an elderly adult, which is on the rise, that scheduling is often worth more than more money in a pay check.  Also, predictability when it comes to scheduling is another major factor.

Why do you think that’s so important?

In an on-demand culture, we forget that other obligations in life are not on-demand.  For example, it is easier for an employee to plan their personal obligations around a predictable work schedule that remains consistent month after month, or at minimum, each week.  On-demand is fine where it’s appropriate, but it comes at a cost which is often reflected in the hourly wage.

What are some other factors that HSS works with its clients on?

HSS very much keeps the fair and ethical treatment of employees’ front and center.  We have very thorough and stringent policies regarding pay, fair treatment, and safety.  We believe these are factors in reducing turnover because employees know they are treated well by HSS.  But we also work with our customers to further enhance the employee experience.  Our employees need to feel that they are part of the team.  HSS helps by contributing to and participating in team building activities at the property and attending regular weekly department meetings.

Staffing agencies doesn’t always have the best reputation when it comes to employee satisfaction.  At HSS we strive to not only find talented and reliable employees, but work with our employees to keep them on assignment at a hotel or resort.  Anything that might result in higher turnover is a red flag for us.  Often times this has to do with wages, scheduling, other incentives, but sometimes there are issues with the treatment or inclusion of contract employees.  In these cases, we have to be very careful but have frank conversations with employers about suggested changes to mitigate and reduce turnover.

What advice do you have for hotels across the country about the future of wages increases?

We’re at a unique time in history when you have low unemployment combined with legislation from state to state and city to city about wage increases.  It’s important to get ahead of that conversation and find out where wages are moving organically in your region.

HSS has payrate research that we share with our clients.  This research looks at a comprehensive snap shot of a region to see what the entire spectrum of employment looks like for lower wage hourly workers.  We’ve found that clients that are not moving their payrates are seeing the market move around them and they are missing a competitive edge.  So what was an attractive wage a year or two ago is now in the bottom 10th percentile of pay and our pay rate reports show our clients the raw data to assist in decision making.  Without reacting positively, the result is higher turnover, lower quality and an overall less efficiency.

How can payrate impact efficiency?

Time and money is spent on recruiting and training.  If you’re in the lower percentiles of pay rates, you are probably going to have increased turnover.  That means more time and money spent on recruiting and training and probably increased overtime.  You’re also putting additional stress on your current employees which might lead to increased turnover for them.   Looking at pay rates as a competitive strategy long-term is the best approach.  While Denver provides an example of what happens in one market with new legislation, the rules apply across the entire country.  We’re encouraging our clients to look, in many cases, 6 months ahead.  This forward looking strategy helps them compete more effectively for a pool of workers and ultimately sets up a hotel for success in staffing and really, its entire business.  With the competition in the hospitality industry overall, and the decreasing supply of talent, we believe our clients can’t afford not to engage in pay rate discussions and react in advance.

Are you looking for a staffing agency that is looking out for you?  HSS works with its clients to determine competitive payrates and recruit the qualified candidates you need to build business.  Click here to contact us for more information.

 

 

hospitality wages