How Hospitality Leaders Can Tackle Staffing Challenges in 2021

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Hospitality is a rewarding industry. It allows people create some of their fondest, lifelong memories, such as seeing the world, an unforgettable family vacation, or providing guests a much-needed break from their daily lives.

However, with rewards come challenges, especially in such a dynamic and everchanging field. Hospitality leaders must adapt quickly to changes and make intentional strides to overcome them.

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry took the hardest hit. Low staffing levels, staff retention, recruitment, and finding the right talent is now more difficult than ever before. In this blog, we will discuss three ways in which leaders can effectively tackle hospitality staffing challenges, from Braintree Hospitality leaders themselves.

Establish Employee Culture and Morale

There are countless benefits to establishing positive employee culture and morale in any workplace. Consistently prioritizing an enjoyable and motivational work environment helps to increase productivity and decrease employee turnover.

Gene O’Neill, general manager at Hilton Garden Inn Bend, said that promoting and following through on employee incentives is essential to developing a rewarding company culture.

“Your company has to allow or promote employee incentives and recognition. Second, the management staff has to follow through on [those incentives]. Third, management must practice what they are preaching,” O’Neill said. “To do this, you must work alongside your employees and get to know them. You need to learn their strengths, their weaknesses and what their optimal working environment is.”

Hospitality workers are the forefront of the industry and employers should create opportunities for them to feel appreciated and encouraged.

Through great employer-employee relationships, incentives, appreciation events, and opportunities for career growth, employees are more likely to stick around.  

Alex Trompke, general manager at Tru by Hilton Gilbert, said he likes to think outside the box and keep his staff motivated by hosting a variety of fun competitions, such as front office March Madness, Housekeeping Olympics, double tournaments, and more.

“Every day, we have the opportunity to create experiences and memories that will last a lifetime for a guest,” Trompke said. “Once the team members start to understand that and really enjoy coming into work and getting that type of mentality, we can play hard and work even harder.”

Attract New Employees with Purpose  

A hospitality brand that consistently communicates a sense of purpose that goes beyond earning money, as well as highlighting staff appreciation and positive relationships between employees helps to attract new talent.

To find the best possible candidates, employers should attend and host hiring events or job fairs. At hiring events, employers can meet face-to-face with potential staff and share information about the company, opportunities for growth, benefits, and overall employee culture.

In job listings, hiring managers must be descriptive about the positions they are hiring for. Being specific about what the job entails will draw in employees who are fit for the position and have expertise in those areas.

Additionally, a consistent online presence that puts hospitality staff on the forefront and highlights employee culture will help to draw in people who are a good fit for the culture of the company overall.  

Hospitality leaders should also promote incentives, work benefits and competitive pay, as well as the hotel’s rewarding and positive work environment to draw in new talent.

“We have equipped our managers and staff with the great tools and resources to assist them with these challenges,” Robbie Sensibaugh, regional hotel director at Braintree Hospitality, said. “From [our marketing team] suppling us with materials from job fairs to collateral for all of our properties.”

Train New Hires Effectively

Once new employees are hired, they must be trained effectively in order to do the job well. First day orientation, online communication tools, courses, shadowing, and managerial coaching are some of many great ways to train new staff. However, low staffing levels have made these crucial steps of the hiring process rather time consuming.

Chris Allen, general manager at Hampton Inn & Suites Las Vegas, said that it is the responsibility of hospitality leaders to ensure that a new hire gets the training and feedback needed in order to thrive in the industry.

“Even though we rely on our supervisors and other employees to train, we need to challenge ourselves to step in and ensure they are trained to our standards,” he said.

When Allen hired a new night auditor, rather than leaving the job up to the previous night auditor, he took the time to train and explain his expectations when completing the job.

“I feel that this helped our new hire understand the position better, as well as gain a better understanding of the culture we are trying to instill,” he said. “We have to do whatever it takes to make the new hire feel welcome and to understand that they will be a valued employee as long as they work for us.

Overall, leaders in the hospitality industry aren’t new to facing staffing challenges. But now, more than ever before, an importance must be placed on establishing and maintaining a rewarding company culture, finding the right people for job, and training new staff effectively. By being intentional in these areas, hospitality leaders can tackle staffing issues one day at a time.

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