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Mitigate Staff Turnover in Hotels: 5 Proven Strategies

In an ideal world, staff turnover in hotels would be low, and it wouldn't be one of the challenges plaguing hoteliers. In reality, it’s one of the most prevalent hurdles the industry is tackling today, with a whopping 50% increase in turnover since 2019. The consequences of labor shortages extend far beyond operational challenges, impacting guest experiences and, ultimately, the bottom line.

The expense of replacing an employee can potentially reach up to 30% of an individual’s annual compensation, especially considering recruitment costs, training time, and productivity. There are ways to mitigate turnover and ensure your staff feels supported and empowered to succeed long-term. In this article, you’ll gain 5 valuable strategies to prevent staff turnover in hotels and promote a positive working environment at your properties.

5 Strategies to Mitigate Turnover

Work-Life Balance Expectations

It’s no secret that the nature of working in hospitality can be demanding. From long hours to extended periods on your feet to engaging with guests and managing multiple tasks simultaneously, it can be a challenging and equally exhausting role. Ensuring that staff and management are on the same page regarding work-life balance is crucial in any industry, especially in hospitality!

Giving your staff a sense of ownership of their work schedule can go a long way in creating a positive work environment and ensuring they maintain a healthy balance. Implement a flexible scheduling policy with CoverageFinder to accommodate staff availability and to attract those who can work at irregular times. It’s also beneficial to consider moving away from the standard fixed 8-hour schedule blocks to give your staff more flexibility and ownership over their shifts.

Take it a step further and ditch the printed “hard-copy” schedule distribution approach and utilize an app-based scheduling and communication tool. Rolling out an app-based scheduling tool allows employees to quickly check their schedules, swap shifts with co-workers, or pick up shifts at sister hotels in your portfolio. This is a much more productive way of communicating as hotels are phasing out personal phone numbers, and it can be challenging to reach leaders outside of work. You can even incentivize cross-training for your other properties nearby within your portfolio to improve company engagement and add to your coverage options.

Skill and Career Development

Staff turnover in hotels can be significantly impacted by how employees perceive their growth opportunities and success in their roles.

To ensure that employees are confident about the trajectory of their careers, create structured training programs and direct pathways for growth within each hotel in your portfolio. As hotel management can get hectic, ensure that there are processes in place to regularly check in on individual performance and feedback that could positively impact the progression of your staff’s goals. Additionally, add online career development options that employees can utilize on their own schedule, such as the AHLEI certificates.

If such programs are not in place, work with the AHLA Foundation on Apprenticeship and Career Development Programs. For instance, a medium-sized management company has had success with the Lodging Management Apprenticeship Program, which enrolled participants, promoted 41 employees, and appointed 15 GMs over a two-year period.

Employee Well-Being

You cannot afford to get this wrong. Show your employees that you care!

Don’t overthink acts of appreciation and small gestures for your team. In an interview with hospitality expert Anthony Melchiorri, he shared a story about a housekeeper who had been working at a hotel for 30 years and never had the opportunity to eat at the hotel restaurant. Something as simple as hosting a team lunch goes a long way.

Source: American Hotel & Lodging Association

Some management companies offer online mental health support services and wellness programs such as discounted or complimentary memberships for services at their property, like massages, facials, group fitness classes, etc. Another way to encourage self-care is by offering additional benefits, such as reimbursing a portion of vacation days, as many employees save days but end up skipping them and working instead.

Don’t overlook the well-being of your leadership team! Most operations leaders are “on” 24/7. General and Assistant General Managers have the highest turnover rates, especially within the first 30 days. It is crucial to prioritize retention strategies for these groups to ensure they feel supported and integrated into the organization. You can utilize managers on duty and other business managers to allow each leader to disconnect and be off-call at least once per month.

Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Ensuring that your staff is fairly compensated and has access to the necessary benefits for themselves and their families is crucial for reducing turnover. Regularly evaluate and adjust compensation to align with industry standards, and utilize wage benchmarking to position yourself competitively in the market. Many hoteliers turn to PerfectWage because it automatically tracks risks and delivers a retention action plan, ensuring you don't lose valuable employees.

With that in mind, consider exploring payroll and tipping solutions that allow associates to access their earned wages before payday. Another creative approach is to host a monthly raffle where the Employee of the Month receives an entry into the annual company-wide drawing for a significant bonus or a substantial prize such as “free rent.”

Company Culture and Engagement

Fostering company culture and engaging your employees can sometimes seem like another task on the to-do list, but having a strong employer brand can retain your staff. You should develop a unique company engagement program that fits your business to achieve this. The program can include various components, such as rewards and bonuses, recognition from colleagues and management, team-building activities, empowerment tools, and more. PerfectEngage is a fast and easy way to engage with employees to share updates, news, birthdays, work anniversaries, individual recognition, and safety information. Here at Actabl, we use the platform Motivosity, which has made a significant impact in recognizing the dedication and achievements of individual team members.

You should be able to clearly answer the question, “What makes potential team members in a market want to work with us, not someone else?”.

Get Back to the Special Moments of Hospitality

In the dynamic world of hospitality, where the demands on staff are high and the stakes even higher, reducing staff turnover is of utmost importance for hoteliers. As we've explored, high turnover disrupts operations and imposes a significant financial burden, with costs soaring as high as 30% of an employee's annual compensation. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to mitigating staff turnover in hotels, rolling out 1 or all 5 of the above strategies can get you close to creating a positive working environment for your staff.

At Actabl, we are dedicated to providing you with the necessary tools to minimize turnover and streamline your operations, allowing you to focus on creating more memorable moments for your guests. To stay up-to-date with the latest labor insights and recommendations for improving business operations, download our whitepaper, “Turning Down Turnover.”

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