Three Top Tips to Trim Hospitality Turnover

The turnover rate in the hospitality industry is approximately 20 times the national average. While the rest of the U.S. (for example) experiences about a 3 percent rate in annual turnover, the hospitality industry hovers above 60 percent.

In real terms, this means that close to a third of hospitality employees will have left the organization within the year—a staggering figure that clearly affects the bottom line in more ways than just the dollar impact:

  • Customer Satisfaction Replacing trained, skilled employees with new recruits results in delays and issues with what should be routine customer service matters.
  • Availability of Trainers On the job training—as opposed to book smarts—helps the employee pick up the corporate culture. And when branding is the name of the game, immediate immersion into the business identity is essential. But when the most senior employees have only a few months on the job, experienced mentors are hard to find.

What’s Motivating the Movement?

The answer to why employees move around so much more frequently in the hospitality industry is deceptively simple: because they can.

Hospitality is a fairly unique industry in that the skills are readily transferable from one company to another. The products and services provided are extremely similar, and job skills are very portable—front desk services at one hotel are easily adapted to front desk duties at a competitor, for example. In addition, the hospitality industry has become accustomed to turnover and “job-hopping” on a resume isn’t an instant pathway to the trash can.

Combine these factors with the frequent availability of jobs, and industry professionals can choose to take promotions for better money or career prospects much more often than in other industries.

How Hospitality Can End the Exodus

  • Career Development Show interest in workers career aspirations and provide a path to promotion. Invest in an internal training program, or provide release time and tuition reimbursement for professional hospitality qualifications—contingent on the staff member staying in service for a specified period. Actively promote from within to show staff that loyalty is rewarded.
  • Customer Service It’s a no-brainer that customer service is negatively affected by turnover. But studies also show that the lower the level of customer service, the more likely employees will want to leave—because of the stress of dealing with angry customers and numerous complaints. Develop targeted customer service programs to kill two birds with one stone.
  • Job Satisfaction It’s easy to suggest ways to improve job satisfaction. But if you don’t know about the specific reasons for an employee’s dissatisfaction, your efforts will be pointless. Survey staff regularly, provide an outlet for anonymous comments and employ an open-door policy so you can find out what’s really bothering employees.

Use these tips as a starting point to evaluate turnover in your own organization. But don’t discount the importance of careful recruitment. Sure, the high volume of turnover and recruitment means it’s tempting to rush through the process. But spending a little time to understand the applicant’s career ambitions can help in the long run. While recruiters are taught to sell the organization, giving a “realistic preview” of what the job entails can actually help your overall turnover.

A candidate who knows what to expect will be much more likely to stay than one whose expectations are so high they can’t possibly be fulfilled on the job.

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Categories: Articles for Employers, Recruitment Strategy

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