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Tactics for Reducing Employee Turnover
By Sean Conrad
Employee turnover is a perennial problem in the hotel industry. There are numerous reasons behind it, some of which can't be easily addressed by hotel management. But there are some talent management practices and tactics you can adopt to increase employee retention. Here are a few examples:
Hire the Right People
Start by improving your recruiting and hiring practices. Examine your typical recruiting sources and evaluate them based on the quality of candidates they've delivered. Are there one or more recruiting sources that generally deliver good candidates/employees who've stuck around? Keep tabs on where your best employees have come from. It could be a particularly school, employment agency, screener, referring employee, job board/site. Similarly, keep a record of where your poor performers and short-tenured employees have come from. Once you've identified your best recruiting sources, focus on using them. And don't forget to use employee referrals as a hiring source. Your current employees are in a great position to describe the work and working conditions to job candidates, and have a vested interest in your hiring strong performers who'll stick around.
Then, when you're interviewing, make sure you give candidates an honest and thorough picture of what it's like to work at your hotel. If you deal with lots of families and children, tell them that. If the atmosphere requires formality and polished manners tell them that. If your busy times are high-pressured and stressful, share those details. Being honest about your culture, working conditions and clientele will help candidates "self-select", making you more likely to hire people who "fit" in your hotel and its culture. It's surprising how many candidates don't think about these issues when applying for a job.
You should also think about the competencies or behaviors that lead to success in the role. Competencies describe "how" work gets done, and can be a predictor of performance. You can use behavioral or situational based questions to assess a candidate's abilities in these areas. These might be things like appearance and demeanor, cultural sensitivity, customer focus, or conflict resolution. It again helps you to hire people who are a right "fit" for your hotel.
And right in the interview, ask candidates about their career aspirations. Ask them why they want to work in your hotel. Do they want to work in the hotel industry long term? Or is this a stepping stone to something else? Are they choosing this line of work or falling back on it because they can't think of anything else to do? A candidate's career intentions and motivation for getting the job will often determine how long they stay.
Set Clear Expectations Right from the Start
Once you've hired a new employee, it's important to set clear expectations for their performance, right from the start. Make sure they have a clear job description that outlines their role and responsibilities as well as the competencies that are important for their job. It can also help if they understand the job descriptions of other staff they'll be interacting with. And outline clear, measurable goals for them to accomplish. Ideally, these goals should be linked to higher level hotel goals, so the employee has a context for their work. Employees understand what is expected of them and who have goals and a context for their work have higher levels of engagement and commitment.
Give Them Ongoing Feedback and Direction
All employees need feedback and direction from their manager or supervisor on an ongoing basis. Managers should tell them what they're doing well, what they can do differently and what they should stop doing. Give them praise. Say thank you. Address performance issues. Ask them how they're doing. Managers need to engage in an ongoing, two-way dialogue about performance with their employees. This feedback and direction helps improve employee performance, but it also builds a strong working relationship between them and their manager - which contributes to employee engagement and retention.
Recognize and Reward Solid Performance
We all like to feel appreciated! Your hotel and managers need formal and informal ways to recognize and reward high performance. Not all rewards need to be financial. Time off, a preferred shift, even a simple "thank you", or public recognition of their efforts can be effective ways to motivate, reward and engage employees. And employees who feel valued tend to stick around.
Provide Opportunities for Development
Giving your staff opportunities to develop and expand their knowledge skills and experience can be a powerful contributor to employee retention. Supporting employee development through paid or subsidized courses, webinars, books, job shadowing, work experiences, mentoring, podcasts, etc. helps to communicate to them that you value them and their work, and are committed to their success and career progression. All of this drives up employee retention.
When it comes to employee retention, there's a lot your hotel and management staff can do. These talent management best practices not only drive up employee retention, they increase employee performance, engagement and satisfaction. And all that is good for business.
About Sean Conrad
Sean Conrad is a Certified Human Capital Strategist and Senior Product Analyst at Halogen Software. He writes regularly about talent management best-practices that impact employee performance, engagement and retention on the Halogen blog. Further resources can be found in the Employee Retention Center of Excellence.
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