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Out With the OLD: Its Time to Fundamentally Change How We Hire and Retain Staff

Best Intentions/Worst Expectations

Turnover is the bane of hospitality organizations. Countless millions are spent every year to train, mentor, and educate staff. A huge number of man hours are expended for every on-boarded employee. We teach them our rules, regulations, expectations, culture, and best practices. Once we’ve taught them we give them something much more valuable… our trust.

They start their role with ambition and passion. They work at perfecting their duties and manifesting a welcoming environment for guests.

Then without warning they give their notice. All the time and money invested in this person, just to watch them walk away. The most eye opening part of this scenario is that it was expected. All this time and effort were put into developing someone that we didn’t expect to keep around! Is this just the cost of doing business in the hospitality industry?

Not only is this disloyal behavior widely accepted in the industry, it has come to be expected. Most organizations PLAN for a +38% turnover in their staff each year. EVERY year! There is no other professional industry in the world with such abysmal numbers. When will we begin to hold these potential staff members accountable?

This ‘cost of doing business’ is much too high. What could be implemented to encourage longer tenures? Does the burden sit with the hiring managers? or maybe the interview process? The taxing environment of customer facing roles? Maybe the problem is the training/lack of training? Or could it be that no one values loyalty anymore?

The best argument available is that turnover has become so acceptable and prevalent in hospitality that we are perpetuating it’s existence. Change is needed. What could we do from an administrative point of view to fundamentally change this? It will need to happen across the board. Rome was not built in a day, but the faster you act to implement new strategies into your organization, the sooner you can make your establishment the exception to the normalcy of high turn-over.


Change the Paradigm of Your Organization

  1. Lengthen the Interview Process: The more interviews you conduct, the better fit you will find. While lengthening the time to start for a potential employee can seem like a double edged sword, the benefits of the RIGHT staff member, far out weigh the inconvenience of being temporarily short handed.
  2. Hire for Attitude: Too often, managers will look for experience. They want someone that will hit the ground running. While this is understandable, they bring with them their bad habits, their previous indoctrinations, and their curse of turnover. Instead, hire for personality. The attitudes of your staff will have a huge impact on longevity. People want to work with fun, enthusiastic people. Give your team members the opportunity to shine brighter.
  3. Fire Problem Staff Before they Become a Problem: In hospitality we work to retain staff as long as we can. We are fearful of having to replace someone and train the new kid. Why? This fear, while rooted in continuity, can have a detrimental impact on an entire organization. Most managers will admit that they knew someone would become a problem eventually, but let them stay on until the problem comes to fruition. One bad apple can spoil the bunch. The best course of action is to remove this person before the problem arrises.
  4. Be Unique, Be Authentic, Be More FUN!: This may seem odd when considering turnover, but rarely do people leave phenomenal cultures. There are organizations all over the world that have reputations as best place to work in that industry. What would it take to create that sense of appreciation from your staff and employees? It is a well researched fact that employees’ happiness (read engagement) is directly related to customer satisfaction (read Guest Loyalty). Why not focus on the joy of our employees to increase retention and develop some greater utopian environment. No one willing leaves paradise.


Change Today!

If you want to have a normal hospitality business, adhere to your archaic philosophies and SOPs.

If you want an extraordinary organization you should constantly look for ways to change and adapt. In today’s world of instant feedback and digital reviews we must work towards changing the fundamental principles of the hospitality industry. No longer accept the age old, tried and true methods. If you want to stand out, if you want to be truly peerless you need to take chances and build something unique. Strive to be phenomenal!

Get excited, stay passionate, and nourish your Enthusiasm!

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