Our recent article, Tackling Staff Shortages In Hospitality, discussed how hotels and resorts could tackle staff shortages in the sector as employees pivot away from the industry.
But what about those employees who remain committed to hospitality? A recent blog from Medallia highlighted how the employee experience is also being affected by these labor shortages. And, as travel demand surges, hospitality workers are under more strain than ever.
Medallia’s survey uncovered that 38 per cent of global hospitality workers are considering or planning to leave the industry by the end of 2021. They also report that:
- 61 per cent of hospitality workers have to do more with less;
- 59 per cent say their company has fewer staff members than before the pandemic; and
- 24 per cent admit they are less engaged.
As the industry rebounds and guest experience expectations remain high, hotels and resorts can’t risk losing employees. Medallia’s research identified key findings for the upcoming travel season:
- 67 per cent of workers report their organization is experiencing increased guest activity;
- Nearly half (48 per cent) say their employers’ handling of it has been “Just OK”; and
- 68 per cent of US hospitality workers say their organization is working with fewer employees now than before the pandemic.
And the result of increased demand, staff shortages and poor employee experience is that the guest experience is negatively impacted. Indeed, 27 per cent of travel and hospitality workers acknowledge that the overall guest experience has suffered.
Leaders and business owners know that the employee and customer experience are intimately linked. So, they must develop strategies to support employees during this challenging time as the industry returns to pre-pandemic travel rates.
Medallia’s survey highlighted some key strategies to reduce stress and burnout and improve the employee experience. After all, everyone benefits from engaged and satisfied employees – including customers and managers.
And the results confirm this importance*:
- Happy employees are 37 per cent more productive and three times more creative;
- Happy employees lead to a 12 per cent increase in profitability; and
- Hotels with a positive culture experience 24 per cent less staff turnover.
What the experts say
Bob Kobek, CEO of CustomerCount, customer and employee feedback specialists:
As businesses search for some semblance of “normal” we tend to forget why we have a perceived labor shortage. The operative word here is “why”.
As such, we spend time talking to ourselves to install what we believe to be solutions. Pay more, offer more benefits – all the normal and usual actions that used to work. But to our surprise, they don’t work in the post-pandemic life. They aren’t attracting new employees and they aren’t retaining existing employees.
We are facing what I call “work preference”. Employees choose to work for you or not to work for you.
Just as we measure guest experience to determine Key Performance Indicators to influence how we can enhance the guest stay, we should also measure the employee experience – for the same reasons. The KPI’s are different:
- Does my supervisor listen to me?
- Is my supervisor accessible?
- Is there a path to career growth?
Measure to manage goes all the way into your entire infrastructure – don’t forget to ask.
Find out more about CustomerCount in their IHS Supplier Directory Listing.
How to improve employee experience in hospitality
1 Improved communication tools
Hospitality workers must meet the high expectations of both guests and their managers. One way to meet these expectations is by using modern communication tools. Employees need access to information in real-time, and phone calls and emails can no longer keep up.
There is better communication technology available such as text messaging platforms which alleviates friction, speeds up communication times and allows staff to feel more connected to their teams. This is so important when:
- 85 per cent of employees lose one to two hours of productivity per week searching for information;
- 80 per cent of employees feel stressed due to ineffective communication;
- 36 per cent of employees don’t know where to find information;
- 63 per cent of employees are frustrated by their company’s communication that they want to quit; and
- 41 per cent of hospitality employees say automating guest interactions make their job easier.
With tools available to give employees instant access to their schedules, training materials and much more, it is no surprise that today 42 per cent of IT and HR managers are considering new technology to support employee engagement.
2 Increase communication
Medallia reports that increased communication creates a more engaged workforce and a better guest experience.
Indeed, surveys show that 80 per cent of employees feel stressed due to ineffective communication. And that 52 per cent of employees have witnessed poor financial outcomes (like a damaged company reputation) due to ineffective communication.
Deploying new communication technology alleviates barriers to information. This results in:
- Help employees better connect with their teams and leadership
- Reduce unnecessary workflow burdens
- Increase productivity
- Creates an engaged workforce
- Creates a positive and memorable guest experience
Connecteam has identified other simple ways to improve the employee experience for hospitality workers.
3 Keep the atmosphere fun
Create a company culture and work environment where employees enjoy working with each other. And it’s not just parties. Why not try team lunches, happy hour and team-building games?
4 Offer recognition and rewards
Appreciated employees are more productive in their roles. So let them know they are valued and celebrate their achievements. This can be as simple as a social media post, hosting a team lunch, or a free Netflix month subscription.
5 Offer support
Ensure your employees know they can come to managers with their concerns with an open-door policy. Offer regular interaction with management, check-ins, one-on-one meetings, evaluations and additional training.
6 Opportunities to move up
Knowing that there is the opportunity to advance within the organization helps motivate and retain your employees. Make it clear that advancement is possible and what they need to improve to get there.
7 Ensure schedules are available
Within the hospitality sector, where properties need to be staffed at all times, make sure your employees know well in advance when they are working. This helps them personally and creates happy staff and improved efficiency.
8 Don’t micromanage
If your employees feel they need to run every decision by a manager, they will feel dissatisfied. Instead, train your staff correctly from the start to manage situations without management input. This leads to improved performance, satisfaction, morale and productivity.
9 Ask for feedback
Regularly ask your employees for feedback as part of your employee engagement strategy. This is especially important as 65 per cent of employees think their company is behind the curve, and 82 per cent have ideas to improve things, but no one is listening.
IHS Supplier Network partner, CustomerCount, can assist with regular employee feedback surveys.
10 Focus on training
Training is essential for happy, motivated and better performing employees. People learn in different ways, so find new ways of explaining what they need to do and how to handle situations such as quizzes, videos and guides. And don’t forget to train them on company culture, values and standards.
When employee retention within the hospitality sector is struggling, employee satisfaction is more important than ever. Implementing some of these techniques could help retain and motivate your staff and prevent them from leaving your employment – and the industry.
Do you have any suggestions on improving the employee experience? We’d love to hear from you. Just send us an email at email@example.com with your thoughts and we’ll add them to our website.
*Data from Connecteam