How to build a team of hotel staff (…and effectively lead them)


team of hotel staff

Managing a team of employees is never easy but in the hospitality industry it’s an extremely daunting task. At more than 50%, turnover for hospitality staff is one of the highest in the world. This kind of attrition rate can make it very hard to maintain a consistent level of service, meaning your hotel’s reviews and profitability could suffer.

Not only do hotel managers have to hire the right people for the job, they have to devise ways to keep them around and build a positive reputation for the business.

Here’s some advice on how to hire quality staff and create a long-term team environment.

Tip #1

Know your priorities when assessing staff candidates

Making the right choice at the hiring stage goes a long way to increasing staff retention so you must be thorough paying attention the revenue manager right through to the kitchen porter.

Your first priority should be to establish if the candidate is of good character. How they speak, act, and dress may give you an indication, but ultimately you need to perform extensive background and reference checks. Given how much staff to customer interaction there is in your hotel, the last thing you want is to hire someone who will be rude or even hostile to your guests.

Regardless of the role some key traits you should look out for include:

  • A general sense of energy
  • Ability to multitask
  • A sociable nature
  • Positive attitude
  • Problem solving abilities
  • Accommodating to others
  • Tolerance to direction and criticism

It’s also important the person you hire shows a genuine passion for the hospitality industry and has the motivation to learn and grow in the role.

Making the right choice when hiring staff will increase your hotel’s staff retention. Click to Tweet

Tip #2

Create a team environment and aim for a common goal

They key to running any hotel team successfully is to get staff working constructively together. No individual, no matter how talented, can achieve their goals without the support of their teammates.

Here are four key things you can do to get your team running smoothly…

1. Provide overall direction

Employees are much more productive when they have a clear picture of what’s required of them and they all approach the task in the same manner. There’s no point in simply telling your employees they need to improve guest service because they will all interpret this in different ways, potentially making the problem worse. Give them a specific idea of what to do and how to do it.

2. Give individual direction

Even though you want everyone on the same page, each individual will have different strengths and different tasks to complete. You need to communicate to your various team members their personal and unique goal within your hotel’s overall strategy. This will let them feel they are making a valuable contribution to the success of your hotel business.

3. Measure your success

Employees want to know all their hard work is worth something. If you aren’t providing concrete results or an analysis of their efforts they’ll be asking themselves if they’re actually achieving anything or if there is any point in trying their best. Examples might include better reviews, increased amenity sales, or more members in a loyalty program. Measuring results is also important for creating new goals and striving for more.

4. Be transparent and communicative

There is always a line between employee and manager – as there should be – but if you make that line a bridge it won’t feel like you’re on the same team. If employees have questions about the business, your work as a manager, or the work of other employees, this is information that should be shared. It will further cement the idea that everyone is in it together and shut down any potential disputes between employees themselves or employees and managers.

Tip #3

Incentivise staff members to stay long-term

One main reason for high turnover in hospitality is that workers can get to a stage where they feel stuck. The potential to learn new skills or advance to a higher position and pay rate is limited. This can lead to boredom, frustration, and a downturn in performance. Try your best to keep your hotel staff motivated and enthusiastic about their job. If you can’t offer promotions, perhaps you could send employees to conferences or workshops to broaden their knowledge or discover new ways to approach their job.

It’s also important to recognise and reward employees who excel in their role. If those who go above and beyond get treated the same as underperforming colleagues it creates resentment which will most likely lead to staff members resigning.

Tip #4

Understand how to be a great manager

Every great hotel team is usually led by a fantastic captain that inspires the people around them to do their best work. Having a good relationship with employees is vital. Even simple changes in the way you interact can have a huge impact. For example ‘Clean room three for me’ and ‘Can you please clean room three for me?’ will achieve the same result, but the employee will have a different attitude, which will influence the way they perform the task.

Here are some traits of a great hotel manager:

  • Knowing how to motivate
  • Ability to share and educate
  • Open communicator
  • Attentive listener and collaborator
  • Being decisive, clear, and concise
  • Always striving to improve and leading by example

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