The Trends Hospitality Employees Care About — And Why Managers Should Too

Katie Sawyer

Katie Sawyer

October 18, 2019

The Trends Hospitality Employees Care About — And Why Managers Should Too

Katie Sawyer,
October 18, 2019

In an industry built on service, hospitality staff remain its most powerful competitive assets. But with an average churn of around 73%, the industry’s labor gap has become its greatest inhibitor to growth.

Turnover is nothing new for the hospitality industry. Whether you manage a craft brewery or a large franchise, you’re focused on making a quality product. And making sales. But to do that, you need to attract quality talent, retain those workers, and use emerging technology to empower a smarter workforce. 

The best way to do that is to learn what’s important to your staff. Identify what drives them — and then make sure you’re meeting that need.

Read on to learn four things that are important to hospitality workers and what you can do to build an employee-centric brand.

1. Flexibility 

For The Newsagency, a music venue in Sydney, Australia, most of the casual employees don’t work traditional 9 to 5 hours. They need flexibility to pick up shifts between their other gigs, classes, or performances. 

2. Control to build their ideal schedule

With that flexibility comes the opportunity to take on jobs with more ownerships. Uber drivers and new delivery service people embody and entrepreneurial spirit, able to pick up work whenever they want. A few hours here, a few hours there. Shift workers are now able to build their own schedule — and demand freedom to do so.

3. Nontraditional benefits

In 2017, a U.S. restaurant chain hired a “people analytics” firm to study their staff and identify what factors statistically drive superior customer outcomes. Interestingly, it wasn’t factors like compensation or professional experience that drove the desired customer outcomes. Commute distance, management behaviors, and other conditional workplace qualities had the biggest impact on how well employees serviced customers. 

4. Reliable scheduling

A Harvard Business Review study found that a more stable scheduling system directly improved business KPIs — namely, a 7% increase in sales, a 5% increase in productivity, and a higher return on investment.

For Volcano Coffee, a reliable scheduling system keeps their employees happy. “Our baristas can see where they’re working, and they can fill in their hours on the spot without having to contact anyone,” says Hunter Prescott, finance manager at Volcano Coffee.

Putting it into action

When you’re so busy, it’s tough to know how to start modifying your routine. Here are three ways you can take steps toward becoming a more employee-centric organization:

  • Find opportunities to get to know your employees better, and understand what drives their workplace decisions. For example, have regular debriefs. How did today go on the sales floor? What was the flow like at the hostess table in your restaurant? Ask (and make sure you get) feedback from your team so as a group you can decide what changes need to be made in the future.
  • Identify staff pain points associated with basic workforce practices — scheduling, payroll, and communication, for example.
  • Enable your staff to easily swap shifts. With the right tools, employees who need to take time off can find a replacement on their own. This gives employees more control over their work, not to mention that it saves you time and headache.

Staying ahead of the curve

When you make employees a priority, you see the result.

“The team that I have has been around for two years,” says Sian Potsig, restaurant manager at NOMAD. “We’re an incredibly close-knit family, so the team works so well together. We make sure that we give customers an all-around great experience — amazing food, amazing service, and an atmosphere that they want to leave their couches for.”

But to be successful, you need to not only meet your employees’ expectations, you need to stay on top of the latest trends. Because being in the know is the key ingredient between growing your organization — or falling behind. Find out more in The New Age of Hospitality: New Trends Shaping the Hourly Workforce.


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Katie Sawyer
Katie is the Director of Content Marketing at Deputy. She's happiest when she can help people do more of what they love. She likes telling stories, meeting new people, and being a word nerd.

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