Your hotel employees should be viewed as an extension of your marketing department. By hiring the best hotel staff, you’ll be delivering great guest experiences which in turn create vital recommendations and referrals.

The key to this is hiring effectively and using best practice approaches to keep your staff happy and loyal. We know that employee turnover is an expensive problem in the hotel industry, but if you adopt better practices and hire right, you can keep your best people around for years to come.

Here are 8 practical ideas to help your hotel develop great staff:

1. Hire right to begin with

First of all start your search for new staff in the right places. What sources are you using? Are they appropriate to your location and market? Which ones bring in the highest number of qualified applicants? Are you using social networks effectively to recruit?

Hand business cards to existing staff that deliver outstanding service and reward staff for referrals. Employee referrals can lead to better fitting hires, since your current employee understands the company culture and the potential fit of the referred candidate.

In a one-way video interview, candidates answer your questions on video, which you can then view at any time. You’ll breeze through a high volume of candidates this way, and still retain a sense of the candidate’s personality.

During the interview, give the applicant a simple and accurate description of the position, hours, job duties and responsibilities and the property itself. Tell them about your guests. This will all build a picture of your hotel’s environment and culture, so your applicant can work out how well they would fit in.

Ask about their aspirations and long-term goals. This will help you determine if they will be with you on a long-term basis or if your company is only a stepping stone for the time being. Depending on the position, will they still be in the hotel industry in five or 10 years?

2. Induct new employees properly

The onboarding process is the time to educate your employees before sending them out into the wilds of your company. Use this opportunity to outline organisational goals and values in detail. It’s important to ensure these messages are ingrained from the beginning if they’re to truly feel part of your hotel’s family.

3. Analyse your recruitment results

Even when your new employee begins to add value, they do not finish ‘paying back’ the cost of their training for around two years. This is your cumulative breakeven point. Every employee that moves on after nine months, or even 18 months, is therefore losing your hotel money.

A simple curve-style graph of cost versus value, with tenure plotted along the ‘x’ axis (marked with breakeven and cumulative breakeven points) and number of employees on the ‘y’ axis will help you pinpoint problematic points.

Is there a spike of employees leaving after six months? Is this an expensive time for them to be leaving?

4. Recognise their value

Statistically, a lack of recognition is cited as one of the main reasons that an employee will leave their job. If appropriate, provide and explain clear goals for the position or department. When goals are given to employees, they often are more engaged and committed to achieving them and gaining success.

5. Give ongoing feedback and direction

Meet with staff frequently to discuss what they’re doing well, what they can do differently and what they should stop doing. Always give praise and say thank you; show an interest in an employee’s private and professional life. This dialogue helps improve employee performance and builds strong working relationships.

You need to stop problems as they occur and you can only do this by fostering a culture of open communication. Employees must feel that they can come to you with issues and concerns.

6. Recognise solid performance

Employees who feel valued tend to stick around. High performance can be rewarded in formal and informal ways. Time off, a preferred shift or even a public thank you can be as or more effective in motivating staff as a financial bonus.

7. Provide genuine opportunities

Give staff opportunities to develop and expand their knowledge, skills and experience. Supporting employee development through training, mentoring, podcasts, work placements, seminars and mentoring shows that you are committed to their success.

8. Understand when it’s you, not them

It’s easy to point the finger at staff, but could your turnover problem be closer to home? Examine your leadership style. Do you need to be more approachable? More enthusiastic?  Do staff feel that their workplace is secure and well-run? Or are they fleeing a sinking ship?

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