Tuning the Human Resources Engine

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CHTA Communications


Tuning the Human Resources Engine

One of the key factors of any business, particularly those in the hospitality and tourism industry, is human resource management. A hotel’s staff is inextricably linked to a hotel’s success and profitability.  Unfortunately, according to the International Society of Hospitality Consultants, labor and skills shortages is among the top ten challenges faced by the hospitality industry. The report identifies a lack of focus on employee satisfaction and training as major factors influencing this challenge.

Employee Satisfaction Research
What motivates an employee? The answer to this question is not always obvious and it is not always directly related to compensation. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) these are the top ten most influential factors which contribute to job satisfaction and lower turnover (in order of importance):

  1.       Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels
  2.       Compensation/pay
  3.       Benefits
  4.       Job Security
  5.       Trust between employees and management
  6.       Opportunities to use your skills and abilities at work
  7.       Financial stability of the company
  8.       Relationship with immediate supervisor
  9.       Feeling safe in your work environment
  10.   Receptivity by employer to your ideas

On June 30th, CHTA’s CEO Frank Comito joined the members of the Belize Hotel Association for their Annual General Meeting and led a special workshop on Transforming Talent Turnover into Revenue Retention & Growth. During this interactive workshop, many factors where discussed that contribute to having a satisfied workforce and lower turnover rates:

  • Ensuring strong communication between all levels of management is crucial to employee satisfaction and retention. Engaging with employees and encouraging feedback is essential to a jovial workforce.
  • Establishing clear expectations from the employee to the employer and vice versa.
  • Having a thorough selection process during the hiring stage, where not only the qualifications of the prospective employee are considered, but their adaptability, personality and drive to pursue a career in the field.
  • Having an external environment (schools, colleges, certifications, training programs, etc.) that supports and provides a qualified workforce. It is clear that it is in the best interest of the hospitality industry and the community it supports, to invest in education.

The hospitality industry is notorious for the high turnover rate of employees. According to Amanda Wisell’s article Trends in Training for New Hires in Hospitality, the costs to train a new employee can range from $5,000 and up. There are also soft costs resulting from on boarding new employees, missed sales opportunities for upgrades and upsells as well as guest service mishaps.

You Are Hired. Now What?
Once the ideal employee is hired, it is important to make sure to have the following elements in place to help ensure their job satisfaction and retention.

  • Written Employee Policies and Procedures
  • A Code of Ethics
  • Job Description
  • Clear Supervision and Lines of Communication
  • Training Plan
  • Performance Evaluation Process
  • A Recognition Strategy

Ongoing Professional Development
Continual professional development for all employees regardless of the size of the company helps maintain service standards and positions staff and employer for continued success. Not every hotel is in the financial position to offer continuous educational opportunities. That is why partnering with local companies, schools, associations and vendors can also enhance training opportunities.

Mentorship Programs
The most significant source of future leaders are line level employees or people moving into the hospitality industry from others. This means that training programs and on the job training is our key to developing managers with technical and leadership skills that will contribute to the success of the organization.

Mentoring seems to be of particular importance when hiring millennials. Bud Nolan, in his article Making Millennial Mentoring Actually Work, noted that good mentorship is now coming to the forefront as more and more millennials reach a point in their twenty-something lives where they have to choose a career and stick to it. Sharing the experiences that your professional staff with years of experience have garnered, will make your hotel that much stronger and consistent. By mentoring, you are in fact cloning your operating philosophy and your system of shortcuts to success.

Good mentoring programs attract the best candidates for a job, reduce turnover of quality talent, help employees achieve their optimum potential and productivity, assure a smooth transfer of leadership from one generation to the next, and encourage communication up and down the organizational hierarchy.  One of the most surprising results may be improved retention among your entry level managers and the line staff that works for them. What better assets could a hotel have than high employee retention with outstanding job skills and great loyalty?