In any hospitality business, your human resources are more often than not your number one asset. Your team is on the front lines of guest experience, interacting with guests throughout their stays. Browse through any review site and you will see that a good interpersonal experience can make a mediocre hotel stand out, and even the most bedazzling facilities can be clouded over by bad service.
Your staff are also the people that make the magic happen behind the scenes – cleaning staff, whom guests might never even see, are almost solely responsible for guests' first impressions of their rooms, and chefs and kitchen staff out of sight make meals to be remembered or leave guests with empty stomachs and bad moods.
This month we take a look at some of the current trends in hospitality HR, and find out how to hire the right people, empower them to do the right things, and train them in the right way.
Attracting the right talent is vital in to the success of a business, especially in hospitality. However, there is a something of a stigma surrounding employment in hospitality, with associations of poor pay and servitude.
“The industry needs to redefine its value proposition for young talent seeking a rewarding lifetime career with unlimited potential for personal and professional development.” – Georgetown University
Skift gets a few expert opinions from Georgetown University on what hospitality businesses need to be doing in order to attract and cultivate the right people to the industry.
With so many demands on their wallets, it can be difficult for hoteliers to decide where to spend their stretched-out budgets. Beekeeper suggests that investing in keeping staff happy and well-trained may provide a sound return on investment in the hospitality industry.
“A positive guest experience in hospitality is won or lost based on your staff’s attitude and aptitude. From check-in to check-out, guests evaluate their experience based on how they are treated, so it’s important to lead by example.” – Andreas Slotosch, Beekeeper
Treating your human resources as valuable by helping them to grow as professionals and hone their skills, as well as keeping them happy in their careers will ensure that they maintain the skills and positive attitude necessary treat your customers as valuable.
According to a Cornell study, improvisation seems to be directly correlated with higher guest satisfaction, particularly at lower-tier hotels. Empowering staff to depart from standard operating procedures in order to solve guests’ problems and improve their experiences may be a key way to differentiate your hotel from competitors.
“One particularly interesting finding was that managers seem not to be aware of how often their employees are departing from the script, so to speak. The managers’ estimate of the extent to which their employees used improvisation was lower than the levels of improvisation that the employees reported on our survey.” – Rohit Verma, executive director of the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures
According to the study, it would be advantageous for hospitality business owners and managers to encourage employees to be spontaneous and creative with the resources at hand when dealing with problems and empower them with the authority and training to do so.
With Millennials now entering the workforce and establishing their careers, while Baby Boomers begin to retire, employers need to know how to attract, retain and manage this new generation of workers. The AHLA and WageWatch, Inc. surveyed millennials in the hospitality industry across the United States to find out what keeps millennials satisfied and productive.
“On-the-job training, workforce development and fast-track promotional opportunities are some of the most effective and appealing qualities to attract and retain millennials in the hotel industry.” – American Hotel & Lodging Association
Millennials, it seems, value an organisation’s culture above all else. They expect to be compensated fairly for their work, but they also value benefits packages and flexible work schedules, the opportunity for growth in their careers, and working for an organisation with values that align with their own.
Recruiting is an expensive and time-consuming endeavour, and while hotels may be able to find plenty of cheap labour, talented employees are a scarce commodity. The Best Practice Institute outlines a few ways to curb employee turnover, and nurture the top talent from within your organisation.
“With the cutthroat competition in the hospitality industry, a well-thought-out talent management strategy has the power to dramatically improve customer service levels, along with employee engagement, and significantly lower the employee turnover rate. The result is a more competitive, agile organization, where each member of the workforce has a clear idea of what is recognized as accomplishments and how they can achieve rewards.” – Louis Carter, Founder, Best Practice Institute
The Best Practice Institute suggests, among other things, that team members should be trained and mentored so that promotions can take place from within the organisation, the organisation should have a clear value proposition for staff members to work to fulfil, and employees should be empowered to do so creatively.