“Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business.” Virgin Group founder Richard Branson once said in a 2015 interview.
This is especially so for hoteliers, where staff are the backbone of your hotel and can make or break guests’ experience. Yet the US Bureau of Labour Statistics in 2018 estimated that the annual employee turnover rate in the hospitality industry was at a whopping 73.8%, far higher than the average of 10-15% for other industries.
But even in such a competitive industry with high employee attrition and a heavy reliance on outsourced staff, it is still possible to build a motivated and engaged internal team who are loyal and put in their best work for you.
Of course, this requires effort and investment in your staff, some of which are much easier to achieve than you would think.
Provide many learning opportunities
Employees, especially younger ones just entering the workforce, are not only looking for a job that will earn them a living, but one that will allow them to grow and learn as individuals.
LinkedIn found in its Future of Skills 2019 Report that only 17% of workers express satisfaction over their current company’s learning and development offerings, and that 2 in 5 employees have left a company due to a lack in the learning opportunities they seek.
Such a lack of growth and learning opportunities results in perceived job stagnation, which causes staff to lose motivation and interest in their work, as they do not derive any personal or career satisfaction from it. Eventually, this disinterest in their jobs will spill over into the standards of service that they provide for customers and guests.
Make sure to implement continuous training programs and coaching sessions with your staff to discuss their career progression and how career milestones can be achieved. This will make them feel that their hard work is valued, in turn motivating them to take pride in their work.
Recognise their good work
Likewise, provide your staff incentives to reward their good performance. This can be in the form of promotions or financial bonuses, of course, but small tokens of appreciation like movie tickets and restaurant vouchers, or even an acknowledgment during appraisal sessions, can do wonders.
In doing so, you show your employees that you appreciate and recognise the work they do, and that their effort is being rewarded accordingly. It is a simple gesture, but one that goes miles, as the impact of recognition on employee motivation has been proven to be significant.
A Gallup Organisation workplace survey found that the top reason employees leave their jobs is due to a perceived lack of appreciation, and that employees who do not feel recognised are twice as likely to say they'll quit in the next year.
According to Tom Rath, Gallup’s global practice leader in strengths-based development, a Gallup Poll shows that up to 65% of employees in the USA have not received praise in the last year.
Rath further advises that positive feedback should be “realistic, sincere, meaningful and individualised”, instead of being generalised and vague; doing so will spur your employees to repeat the positive acts and keep up their hard work.
As employers and supervisors, it is easy to take the work of your staff for granted, but going the extra mile to acknowledge their efforts will positively impact your team and increase team cohesiveness.
Open channels of communication
Feeling like they belong to a team is also a crucial factor for employee motivation. In order to do so, take steps to increase employee engagement through open channels of communication. Let their voices and feedback be heard - after all, they are the ones directly engaging with your guests and operations. If problems are raised, discuss as a team the best way they can be addressed, and take their suggestions into account as you are devising a solution with the managerial board, if necessary.
This will not only keep you in touch with the situations and problems your team is experiencing on the ground, but will allow you to implement necessary fixes or operational changes to address these issues in a timely manner. Your staff will also be aware of the right steps to take in certain situations, and can confidently do so; this directly improves service standards and quality and ensures service consistency, in turn reflecting positively on your business.
For your team, knowing their feedback is being taken seriously and that steps are being taken to help them will inspire them to speak up more and raise up incidents they encounter while on the job, as well as other aspects of work that they feel can be improved.
Make their jobs easier with technology
Technology is often accused of ‘stealing people’s jobs’. However, it need not necessarily be a threat to your workers. In a service-oriented industry like hospitality, your staff will always be central to your business success. On the contrary, with the many options now available on the market, you can harness technology to make your staff’s jobs easier.
The move is one encouraged by Singapore Hotel Association president Albert Teo, who says in a May 2019 interview that job redesign through the adoption of technology is “a forward-looking solution that can help hotels turn challenges into opportunities.”
Taking the front desk as an example, self-check in or remote check-in systems could be installed. They will allow your tech-savvy guests to check in swiftly by themselves, while guests who require more assistance can be rendered personalised service and full attention by your receptionists without worry of long guest queues forming behind them.
A strong and reliable property management system and network would also allow your staff to go about operations smoothly without being hindered by technological or system disruptions. While such systems might have more complicated interfaces compared to your existing setup, investing in proper user training rendered by an in-house IT personnel or an external IT service provider will make it a breeze to adapt to, even for new staff.
Investing in technology that helps streamline your staff’s job roles and reduce their work strain will inspire them to make the most out of the extra time they are granted. This results in overall increased work efficiency and improved productivity levels.
Ultima Asia Technology provides top-of-the-line implementation of various hotel technology systems, as well as extensive training programmes with trainers who are experienced and familiar with the various kinds of technology in your hotel. Our on-site training programmes serve as refresher courses for your senior staff, while efficiently familiarising new staff with the systems and assisting them when operational issues arise.