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8+1 ideas on how to retain your employees effectively

In our previous article, we went around the labor shortage in hospitality and tried to explore some of the reasons that led to this situation.  In the second part of our series, we’ll give you a few tips on how to keep your staff happy and motivated. It is our firm belief that the best response to labor shortages is to retain existing  employees.  

Keeping talent in-house is a win-win situation for both parties, as it can provide a safe environment for your colleagues to learn and develop, while also saving a significant amount of visible and invisible costs that can be used to further encourage employees to stay. So, let’s take a look at what motivational strategies you can follow!

1. Pay better than average salaries

Without circumventing important topics, we will first address the issue of low wages in the hospitality industry in general. You, as a hotel manager or hotel owner, will have the hardest time swallowing this - especially now that revenues are sinking to unprecedented depths. However, this is something that is long overdue and needs to be talked about. Your employees need to be valued and compensated fairly, as they are your most important assets.

  • Probably the most straightforward way to keep your best workers is to offer them a competitive salary. And by saying competitive, we don’t mean competing with the employee’s bills.

  • You can also offer a retention bonus, so the employee is more motivated to stay with the company. 

  • You need to know your competitors — perhaps not just in your particular sector, but in other areas as well — and create a more compelling benefits package than what they can offer.


2. Appreciate your employees, especially those who provide excellent performance

It can often be tempting to keep the best performers in the same position. This might pay out in the short term, but in the long term this is an inability to motivate hotel employees. The workers can easily feel that they are only a gear in the machine. If you are unwilling to invest in them, why would your staff invest in your company? Motivated employees need to know that the company is helping them advance and progress throughout their career. This is often valued more than a higher salary, so it can be a really effective motivational strategy.

  • Show recognition, respect, and new opportunities. They need to see their future within the company, otherwise, even if they don’t walk out the door, they will mentally check out
  • The best performers can often experience an uneven workload (i.e., the work of poor performers often has to be compensated somehow). Make sure they are compensated for these extra efforts, but at the same time try to avoid further problems by properly educating their weaker performers. With these in-house trainings, you can also give outstanding employees the opportunity to pass on their knowledge.

  • You can both actively and passively enable your employees to broaden and develop their skills and advance in their careers.
    • If it fits your budget, you can offer to participate in study programs, online courses, or training.
    • If the internal structure allows, cross-departmental cross-curriculum programs can be developed, where they can broaden their horizons and acquire new knowledge.
    • Even if you are already at the end of your resources, you can still offer them a flexible schedule to study, or a paid leave for an exam.
    • If none of these are possible, showing gratitude can also help a lot. Recognize their contribution, their value, because that can make a huge difference.
  • Make sure that senior management knows the employee exists. Even the president of a company should take time to meet with employees and learn about their talents and skills. This can be a critical point for employees to feel recognized and remain committed.

  • By following these tips, you can get a more skilled and loyal employee who is more likely to increase your company’s productivity and stay much longer at your company.


3. Work-life balance

For some, however, good pay and well-communicated career goals are not always the answer. In many cases a healthy work-life balance is far more important than a higher salary  or a future title. Nowadays, a balanced lifestyle has become more important than ever for workers, as many people had time to prioritize and think longer-term at the time of the lockdown.

Therefore, a balanced and predictable workplace can be a much better motivational strategy in the hospitality industry than anything else. You need to acknowledge that your employees do have a life outside of work, and if they are consistently forced to work overtime, they will inevitably look for other offers.

  • Obviously, there are always positions in a hotel where remote working is simply impossible. However, you need to know your company’s structure, and be flexible in re-evaluating which position can be changed. Where possible, home office should be provided for at least part of the working time.

    Home office offers the kind of flexibility that many employees crave. his does not mean that they do not work as hard or work less hours, but that they are given the opportunity to carry out their work-related tasks outside the normal schedule and location. Experience shows that they often work more than expected and are more productive when given this opportunity. 

  • If this is not possible in a particular position (e.g., a receptionist job), you can still make work more attractive by automating repetitive administrative tasks. This can also help interdepartmental communication, which is often very stressful, especially when dealing with clients directly (face to face).

    Reducing stress is a key factor – in addition to a healthy work-life balance, to avoid employee burnout. Learn how an innovative PMS system can help you make remote work available in more and more roles, and how and which tasks can be automated to reduce stress.

4. A great workplace

Creating a decent, livable work environment is more important than ever. Perhaps the most important thing is for the employee to feel valuable, but there are other factors that need to be considered when creating the right work environment.

Employees want to enjoy being at work. There are a number of benefits available in a hotel, but these are often limited by management. Think about how much these small benefits can motivate a hotel worker.

  • Free coffee or snacks, breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Celebrating birthdays or milestones. Recognizing a good comment in front of the whole staff.
  • Team building parties or happy hours at a partner site.
  • Call your partners, they have a lot to offer. Pamper your team with tours, spa passes or anything else your partner can offer. This will usually benefit the partner as well, as your team will be able to offer and sell the partner’s product more effectively in the future.

Consider mental health as well. This does not get enough attention and definitely not as much as it should. As we have found, constant stress can put a serious strain on your employee’s mental state and overall well-being. By providing mental support, you can stand out from the crowd and help them with something they may not even know they need help with. Some of the more popular mental health benefits include:

  • Access to free counseling sessions.
  • Subscription to wellness applications for meditation, stress reduction and sleep analysis.
  • Subscriptions to virtual counseling service applications.


5. Listen to what they have to say

Employees need to feel listened to and feel that their feedback is important. While this may seem insignificant to you, if you create a culture where employees feel comfortable to speak up within reason, you can keep them engaged and eager to stay with the company. 

  • You can choose to provide a platform. It does not have to be complicated. It can be an anonymous suggestion box, a dedicated chat group or social media group, or even an internal site. The important thing is to have a place where they can have their say and feel free to express an opinion. Make sure workers indeed feel comfortable calling out things they would like to see changed. If they are afraid of retaliation, they may not want to speak at all. 

  • Once the platform is set up, it will be key to respond in a timely manner to employee feedback. People are now addicted to feedback - when we post a photo, we expect likes, when we book accommodation or pay for something online, we get instant confirmation, and when we send a message, we get a response.  Therefore, you need to be committed to always respond and provide two-way communication. It can also be a very valuable tool in the motivation strategy for hotel employees.

6. Forget micromanagement

Micromanagement is harmful to morale and deprives employees of the opportunity to achieve better results for themselves. You need to focus on the results, not the process. It’s important to give clear guidance when giving someone a task, but you should always be very careful to leave room for them and give them feedback.

They may approach their work quite differently than you do, but the important thing is to have the result. Managers who apply a wide variety of petty rules run the risk of losing their employees to competitors. They have these rules because they are afraid of a drop in productivity, but employees often give their best performance when they are calm and have the opportunity to move on along with their own ideas.


7. Manage with trust and confidence

People want to work for organizations they believe in. Most employees prefer to work in a place with a strong identity and internal culture, a company that defines its mission and has values ​​that all employees believe in. If employees trust the company is moving in the right direction, they are less likely to leave.

Open communication is essential in building trust and nurturing a sense of ownership throughout the company. The new style of leadership does not rely on power to force people to do what they want.  It is based on well-functioning relationships, transparency and trust.

8. Prepare your leaders

A manager may be extremely talented in their field but unable to handle the nuances of management. For example, the skills that make an employee a great receptionist may be different from what a reception team leader needs to have. It is your job to provide training and guidance to your leaders in leading and directing their teams.

+1 Learn to let go

Of course, despite using all the motivational tools, sometimes an employee may choose to leave. If this happens, always make sure you know why they leave and if the decision is final, try the following steps:

  • First of all, hopefully we don’t have to say that, but always try to part on good terms in a good relationship.  Wish good luck with their new opportunity because a friendly departure is always better for both sides. Even if that person didn’t perform at their best, you don’t want an angry former employee to hurt your company’s reputation.
  • If appropriate, make sure the farewell is a memorable event for everyone.  Buy a farewell gift or organize a party because, in addition to being last appreciated, the public recognition of a colleague motivates additional hotel staff to rethink a possible termination and intensifies a positive organizational culture.

We hopefully have managed to provide some useful tips on how to make your hotel more attractive for current and potential employees as well. In the next part of our article series we will explore some recruitment and hiring tips, so you have a better idea on how to find the best hotel staff to your already amazing establishment.

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