Employee retention is a challenge that can greatly affect the success of a business. The Hospitality industry faces some of the lowest employee retention rates, leading to poor customer satisfaction and decreased profitability.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Food and Hospitality sector has an annual turnover rate of 73.8%. If that statistic alone doesn’t alarm you, then consider this - more than 6% of staff will leave their jobs every month.
But what exactly is causing the employee churn to be so high for this industry?
In summary, there are number of factors at play and unfortunately no simple answer. Most establishments might be quick to claim that it’s not their fault as it’s the nature of the industry, which often attracts younger employees and students before they consider a long-term career path. While there’s no denying there is some truth to this, studies of employee experiences actually indicate that low wages, poor working conditions and work-related stress are the main contributors to the wider problem.
Now, you don’t need to be a business analyst to understand that the current turnover figures are a huge problem for the industry. That’s why now, more than ever, employee engagement should be top-of-mind for upper management in every Food and Hospitality business. So, apart from offering a more competitive salary and benefits package, what can actually be done to decrease the cost employee turnover churn?
Encourage open communication, feedback and praise
Creating a culture of open communication is one of the best ways to improve employee performance, morale, and foster positive working relationships amongst colleagues. And this isn’t just an anecdotal statement; on average, an engaged employee will perform 20% better and is 87% less likely to leave than an employee who is disengaged.
When an employee feels valued and finds a sense of belonging, through workplace friendships, recognition or purpose, they will (evidently) have less reasons to leave their employer. To achieve this, companies can implement strategies such as weekly one-on-one meetings and 360-degree reviews, as well as social events and outings to promote a sense of commode-ire amongst their staff.
Unfortunately, the biggest engagement challenge that the Hospitality sector faces is unavoidable: a high percentage of workers are part-time, who do not operate behind a computer. This ultimately means that they are incredibly difficult for upper management to reach. Open and clear communication channels that are accessible to all employees, such as Enterprise Social Networks, can help facilitate these workplace connections.
Facilitate flexible working schedules
Research shows that the average Generation Y worker is uninterested in a job for life, instead seeking flexibility and work-life balance. It goes without saying that a flexible employee is not only happier, but also highly valued in an industry that will inevitably require shifts to be covered at a short notice. Why not let this accidental perk work to your advantage?
While hiring responsible and reliable talent is the undoubtedly the key ingredient for a successful flexible work schedule, employers can help to facilitate this by giving their employees the right tools to easily manage their shifts internally in the team. Communication is also key, as employees need to have good working relationships as well as an easy method to reach out to one another in the event that they need to swap or fill one of their work shifts.
In a Fast Company article on managing workers with flexible schedules, using Google, Skype, or similar social networking programs is the easiest way to ensure that communication flows. A solution such as Speakap can offer the added benefit of increased communication between management and frontline employees by up to 31%.
Promote opportunities for career progression
Although you already know the Hospitality industry provides plenty of opportunities for career growth, your part-time employees may not know this or be considering the possibility of a long-term career progression from their current role. Jobs in the hospitality industry are growing at the fastest rate of any industry (except health care) in the United States, but many employees don’t realize that a job in a fast-food chain could one day lead to a managerial position in a luxury hotel chain. For many millennial and Generation Y employees, a career that allows them to travel around the globe can be highly appealing.
Is your business part of an establishment group, or perhaps a franchise? Allowing your employees to both witness and interact with the other divisions of your business will break down barriers, and inspire frontline employees to consider a long-term career path within your company. Profiling the people in desirable positions through a company blog - or better yet, allowing employees to interact through online groups and company-wide conversations - will actively demonstrate potential future opportunities within the business.
Food and Hospitality business managers can also focus on creating strategies that promote a professional reputation of their industry to help younger generations consider their career opportunities and potential. For example, the previous point above mentioned the appeal of offering flexible work schedules as a benefit to the younger generations. A job in hospitality could be promoted as the entry-point to a flexible career that offers a unique blend of work-life balance, through an internal employee campaign executed on a social intranet.
Written by Louise Blair
All the way from "down under" Louise has joined Speakap to help businesses to build better relationships with their workforce. When she's not busy producing the Frontline podcast, you might catch her running... while listening to a podcast.