5 tips for retaining hospitality heroes
Wolverine had his claws, Wonder Woman had her lasso of truth, the Hulk had nearly unlimited strength, and Thor had his hammer. But your best employees possess something even more valuable: the ability to provide unparalleled service to hotel and restaurant guests, ensuring their satisfaction and your healthy bottom line. While most people eventually change employers—or even careers—it makes sense to hold on to these exceptional workers as long as you can, and we have the tips to help you do so.
1. Give your team what they want
This doesn’t mean giving in to unreasonable employee demands like limitless paid sick days or telecommuting options for positions that require an onsite presence. What it does mean is learning what is most likely to keep your hotel or restaurant employees in their jobs—and the best way to do so is to ask. You might start with a question like, “What’s one thing you liked about a previous job that we don’t have or aren’t doing here?” Then find a way to provide some of the tools or policies your team suggests.
2. Remember, it’s not always about money
It’s unlikely any employee is going to turn down more pay—whether they spend their workdays in the kitchen or the c-suite. However, the best employee retention strategies are based on a whole lot more than just competitive wages. They’re often built around benefits that improve the quality of life of hotel or restaurant staff and include things like paid vacation and personal days, flexibility in scheduling, employee assistance, continuing education and workplace wellness programs.
3. Practice transparency in all things
When owners and managers keep things—like a restaurant’s financial troubles or plans for expanding a hotel—secret from the rest of the staff, alienation, distrust and disconnection are often the result. Whenever possible, share information about the present and future of your establishment with your team of employees. This includes the expectations you have of them and the criteria you’ll use to evaluate them as well as how your hotel or restaurant is doing on a monthly and annual basis.
4. Encourage teamwork throughout your organization
A well-run kitchen requires teamwork, as does an efficient front desk, dining room, maintenance or accounting department. Feeling like they’re part of a team also enhances employee engagement—improving on-the-job satisfaction and reducing turnover. If you want to retain your establishment’s hospitality heroes, you’ll need to find was to build and maintain a healthy sense of teamwork within and between departments. Annual bonuses in the form of “team incentive awards” can be helpful, though teambuilding exercises and activities like interdepartmental competitions, staff lunches, and organized community service opportunities are also good tools.
5. Take an interest in their future
The hospitality industry is full of stories of dishwashers who became famous chefs and entry-level hospitality workers who went on to become managers or owners of successful hotel chains. While some of your hotel or restaurant staff may only be with you for a season, or while they are in school learning skills for an entirely different career, many want to work their way up the metaphorical ladder. Show them you support this desire and you’ll create a sense of loyalty that can go a long way towards encouraging your best team members to stick with you. Mentoring, continuing education and cross-training programs are all great ways to demonstrate your interest in their future.