4 Highly Effective Hospitality Retention Strategies You Must Try Now

by Isioma Daniel, 5 minutes read
HOME blog 4 powerful hospitality retention strategies you must try now

Employee retention is a challenge for any industry, but it’s especially tough in hospitality currently. 

A talent crisis has been created following the pandemic due to a number of factors:

  1. Many workers moved into other industries during the lockdown.

  2. In the UK specifically, Brexit visa regulations have significantly resulted in a rise of unfilled vacancies in the industry. Hospitality leaders have reiterated calls to ease Brexit visa rules to halt the escalating job crisis in the sector. 

  3. Hospitality industry turnover rates are typically extremely high, with 70% of workers leaving their job within one year. According to our 2022 State of Shift Work Report, these reasons include unpredictable schedules and chaotic working environments that make it difficult for employees to stay put - especially when there's low pay or no benefits provided in addition to lacklustre career prospects on offer from employers.

Build your retention efforts on these big 4 pillars

Hospitality managers who struggle to improve employee retention are at high risk of not sustaining their business, incurring losses and reducing customer satisfaction as high turnover impacts on the quality of service your staff gives. 

Four key pillars are necessary for improving employee retention in hospitality according to a 2021 research report, “Employee Retention Strategy in the Hospitality Industry”  by Dr. Hauwa Dogonyaro of Walden University:

  1. Improving working conditions and employee wellbeing

  2. Improving remuneration and compensation

  3. Improving training and career development

  4. Improving reward and recognition 

Let’s dive deeper into each four. 

1. Improving working conditions and employee wellbeing

Employee wellbeing involves building an attractive, flexible, open, transparent, and communicative hospitality culture.

Hospitality can be a very stressful industry to work in. A positive hospitality work environment will encourage your team to come to work and put their best foot forward which in turn will lead to a positive customer experience. 

Are you doing enough for your employees mental health and wellbeing? Have you got a clear strategy for how you can support and nurture your employees? What tools do you have for monitoring how they’re feeling about their shifts and to track their feedback? 

Hospitality shift workers are clear about the working conditions they desire in order to stay. 0ur 2022 State of Shiftwork report surveyed 1,009 UK shift workers and uncovered the following: 

Mental Health, Diversity, Trust and Openness 

  • 41% want a focus on employee wellbeing

  • 37% desire a culture of trust, openness and compassion

  • 36% want a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion

Offering stress and resilience training can give your staff the tools they need to handle difficult situations, reduce the impact they have on them and enable them to protect their mental wellbeing. 

In addition trust is vital for developing loyal and engaged workers. The problem is it often takes time to prove you’ve got their best interest at heart, so how can we quickly build trust upfront?

One study from Gallup found that engaged workers are 21% more productive than disengaged workers.

Create an environment where your team is comfortable sharing feedback with you about how they’re feeling, or any concerns they might have. If your employee knows their voice is being heard, they are more likely to consider themselves part of the business and want to proactively contribute to its success.

Ask staff what they think would make a difference to the business. To make it easy, invest in a team feedback tool. This makes it simple for employees to provide feedback quickly and anonymously.

 But it’s not enough to just ask, you must also act Employee wellbeing involves building an attractive, flexible, open, transparent, and communicative hospitality culture.

Hospitality can be a very stressful industry to work in. A positive hospitality work environment will encourage your team to come to work and put their best foot forward which in turn will lead to a positive customer experience. 

Flexibility is Key

Flexibility is also a vital component of what today’s hospitality worker desires from their place of work.

Figures from our 2022 State of Shift Work report state that: 

48% want clear communication of available and open shifts

46% want to fit in passion projects 

45% want flexible schedules

These stats definitely reflect the reality on the ground. 

As Robin Sheppard, President of Bespoke Hotels shared with us in a recent one to one chat. “For example, we see chefs increasingly saying, ‘Fine, we’ll work for you, but it’s a 40 hour week. So we’re going to do 10 hour days, four days a week, and we want three days off a week. So where you as an employer can enable that in order to keep good personnel, you’re going to do it. In order to retain any high calibre staff that we’ve already got, we’ll adapt pretty much to any shift pattern in order to make them want to stay and to help.”

This level of flexibility can be tricky to manage manually. A good rostering tool can do the heavy lifting for you, allowing you to quickly spot gaps in shifts, offer them to eligible people, and approve the roster on-the-go.

Offering flexibility is really a win-win: your people get a sense of control over when and how they work, and you get peace of mind you’re going to be staffed accordingly.

2. Improving Renumeration and Compensation 

42% want more opportunity for overtime pay

44% want advance notice of schedule changes

40% want documentation for hours worked, compensation changes and change of schedule consent

30% want to move up the career ladder at their current job

Source: 2022 State of Shift Work Report 

3. Improve Training and Career Development

Although it can be costly to lose employees, not every business can afford to offer higher pay right now. But higher pay is not the only incentive that matters when it comes to hiring and retaining staff. 

30% of hospitality shift workers want to move up at their current company, according to our 2022 State of Shift Work Report. What opportunities can you offer your team to grow? 

Hospitality employers who show career development opportunities will find it easier to attract new employees and retain current staff. 

Hospitality workers want clarity on pay and an opportunity to earn well. Hospitality shift workers will see the industry as a viable long term career if they are receiving career-style wages, have the potential for future growth and can get fair and accurate compensation for their hard work. 

It can be difficult with the rising costs of running a business, to justify a pay rise, but ensuring that your staff are recognised for their hard work is important. Public praise on team platforms shouldn’t be underestimated. Don’t let your team feel under-appreciated and disenchanted about the work they do. If you can’t reward them with higher pay, show them that their efforts don’t go unnoticed.

Implementing these four strategies can help improve your employee retention rates, and using a hospitality workforce management tool like Deputy can make the process easier for you. Which of these strategies would you like to implement today?

Try Deputy and see how much easier it is to manage your staff's schedules, communication, and time off requests. With Deputy, you'll have everything you need to create a happy and productive team that wants to stick around for the long haul.


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