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Six Strategies to Attract and Retain Hotel Staff

Labor challenges have put a crunch on hotels.  With occupancy rates on the rise across the U.S. – hotels need strategies to find and keep hotel staff.  Here are six strategies for how to do just that. 

  1. Staff Up
    This may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to keep staff is by ensuring that you are fully staffed. Turnover increases when overtime occurs and employees are stressed over too many hours and too little time to do their jobs correctly.   
  2. Define (and stick to) Role Assignment
    Hotel staff are like a well-run team.  If everyone knows their positions and the overall strategy, they function much more effectively. Hotel staff members who are performing many different functions and overly multitasking can often lead to frustration, inefficiency, higher turnover, and lower guest satisfaction. Many hotels were forced to operate this way during the pandemic and subsequent labor shortages but it’s not a long term labor strategy.  Hotel News Now recently noted that  “hotel brand CEOs are paying closer attention to what both hotel-level employees and corporate teams need in order to succeed at their jobs.” 
  3. Contingent Labor and Outsourcing
    Contingent labor can help alleviate many of the issues with staffing on a short and long term basis.   Many HSS clients leverage contingent labor as part of their routine staffing strategy.  This gives them a partner for recruiting during peak seasons and unexpected surges in demand – while minimizing their exposure to downturns.  These long term relationships also help with last minute needs or unexpected changes in personnel. Creating this capacity helps reduce both overtime and turnover.
  4. Be Flexible
    Scheduling around family and personal needs is hugely valuable to workers.  Being more flexible with hours and scheduling can help retain employees and is an additional factor to consider beyond hourly rates. In a summary of March’s “C-Suite Conversations” panel at the 2022 Hunter Hotel Investment Conference, Hotel News Now reports that “George Limbert, president of Red Roof, said in today’s day and age, giving employees some flexibility and power to take control of their schedules helps solve childcare issues.”
  5. Approach Wages Intelligently
    Get background on the true hiring wages in your area.  Often wages are determined by intuition or by historical data that may be inaccurate or simply out of date.  HSS works with third party research firms to pull wage data for clients. This provides the most accurate information possible on prevailing wages in hospitality and industries. On average, hospitality wages are forecast to rise five to seven percent across the U.S. in 2022.
  6. Create a Positive Work Environment
    Engaging with employees at morning meetings, offering prizes, lunches – or even just recognition – can go a long way.  Often we think that employees are only driven by the number on their paycheck.  But that is only one factor.  “People do not view this as the easiest place to work, the best place to work necessarily. It was an issue before we came into this pandemic,” said Geoff Ballotti, President and CEO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Treating workers with respect, recognizing great performance and providing opportunities for advancement help foster a positive work environment.

The hospitality industry is on the rebound. Maximizing profitability, ensuring smooth operations, and earning high guest satisfaction scores is all dependent on staffing. These six strategies can help attract and retain the staff your hotel demands.

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