5 Ways to Boost Employee Retention in 2023

Hotel employee at the front desk

The hotel industry remains persistently understaffed as hoteliers have been unable to attract and retain talent. A staggering 87 percent of hotels across the United States are facing a shortage of personnel, with 36 percent of the respondents describing the situation as severe, according to a recent study conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Simply put, hoteliers have been unable to retain their employees.

With the average cost to recruit and train a new employee approaching $10,000—and with millions of new hires every year, the hotel industry is spending billions of dollars to recruit and train new employees. 

To combat the staffing crisis and keep turnover costs down, hotels should consider incorporating innovative approaches to keep their employees satisfied and fulfilled, which includes leveraging technology as a key component in this process. Hotels can benefit from implementing technology to streamline workflows, reduce administrative burdens, and enable staff to focus on delivering exceptional service to guests. This can ultimately decrease burnout and increase staff happiness and fulfillment, saving the hotel thousands of recruitment dollars and staff hours along the way. 

1Compensation and Benefit Packages 

One of the most effective ways for hotels to retain employees is to offer competitive compensation and benefits packages. This includes not only salary and bonuses, but also health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks such as paid time off. By offering these types of benefits and features, hotels can demonstrate their commitment to their employees’ wellbeing and create a positive work environment that encourages loyalty and long-term commitment.

There are obvious limits to the amount hotels can afford to pay their employees; however, employers should consider the fact that staff retention should improve. The reduced recruiting and training costs should help offset the higher compensation costs.

2Career Growth and Advancement 

Another key strategy for retaining employees is to provide opportunities for career growth and advancement. This can include on-the-job training, mentoring programs, and formal career development plans that allow employees to take on new responsibilities and grow their skills. By investing in their employees’ professional development, hotels can create a sense of purpose and fulfillment that will help retain top talent over the long term.

3Workplace Culture 

Hotels can also differentiate themselves in the labor market by creating a positive work environment that fosters teamwork, collaboration, and employee engagement. This can include regular team-building activities, employee recognition programs, and open lines of communication that allow employees to share their ideas and feedback. By creating a culture that values employee input and fosters a sense of belonging, hotels can attract and retain top talent that is committed to delivering exceptional guest experiences.

4Reduce Admin Work With Technology

In addition to retaining staff, hotels can also increase their operating performance by increasing staff productivity. Incorporating technology to automate certain administrative and mundane tasks can ultimately decrease the likelihood of staff burnout. 

For example, offering guests convenient self-service mobile check-in and checkout options helps automate administrative work and frees up staff time. Additionally, guest messaging solutions can automatically respond to guests’ most common questions (such as, “What is the WiFi password?”) and free up staff to focus on more rewarding work that improves both staff and guest experiences.

5Increase Flexibility

The rise of the gig economy and work-from-home culture has fundamentally changed the status quo in today’s workforce. Hotels need to figure out how to create more flexible work arrangements to meet the needs of today’s employees. 

This may include part-time or flexible schedules, remote work options, or other accommodations that help employees balance their work and personal lives. By offering these types of options, hotels can attract a wider range of candidates and demonstrate their commitment to supporting their employees’ wellbeing.

All these methods can help hotels mitigate the impact of the staffing crisis in the hospitality industry. By implementing innovative strategies such as offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, improving tipping opportunities, providing opportunities for career growth and advancement, fostering a positive workplace culture and flexibility, and leveraging technology to streamline workflows, hotels can attract and retain top talent. By investing in their employees’ wellbeing and professional development, hotels can create a work environment that fosters loyalty and commitment, leading to increased happiness and fulfillment for staff and ultimately, better guest experiences.

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Harman Singh Narula is the principal and co-founder of Canary Technologies. Narula was previously a member of the Global Strategy team at Starwood Hotels and Resorts and a management consultant at Bain & Company, where he advised senior executives in hospitality and technology.