Strengthen Your Hotel Workforce by Focusing on Personalization Before and After Hiring
By Ron Mitchell CEO & Founder, Virgil Careers | May 10, 2020
As we begin decade and assess the state of the industry, hotel and hospitality employers are facing a growing problem when it comes to filling their workforce. They have a staggeringly high turnover rate of 73.8% and the highest month over month job growth of any industry, with a new job being added every 2.5 seconds. The industry is growing too quickly to keep up with, and employers are sifting through a narrowing pool of job seekers to find those with very specific skills to fill positions in a demanding, fast-paced environment.
And those are just the economic factors that are influencing the state of labor today. We also need to take into consideration that the job search process has drastically changed over the last 25 years, leaving job seekers with greater access, transparency and control than ever before.
When I graduated from Harvard 25 years ago, I went to work in investment banking because that's what everybody told me I should do. Back then, before the 24/7 connection to internet and apps on mobile devices, there was very limited transparency or access to information about available job opportunities. Consequently, students and entry-level candidates were severely underprepared for the job search process. In addition, there was virtually no dialogue around critical factors that influence the employment decisions of today's generation, such as corporate values, growth opportunities and flexible work arrangements.
Today, access to information that can help job seekers identify the "right" opportunity is a keystroke away. The largest technology companies in the world, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, provide one-click access to countless employers and a seemingly unlimited amount of information on each one. These platforms also enable increased transparency and social conversation around a company's employment brand, creating the potential for damaging negative exposure. All of this combined leaves hospitality employers desperate to master employee retention; wondering if they'll ever be able to have the same selectivity that they once had to fill their workforce.
And this isn't just a human resource cost problem, although that is a top of mind issue for any employer facing a turnover challenge. For an industry that is so customer centric, this lack of consistent labor can result in a poor internal culture - which perpetuates the retention problem - and also present a lack of order to customers who are looking for a familiar friendly face behind a hotel front desk or confident, well-informed answers from a concierge, valet or bartender.
While all of this presents a great challenge, I also believe that these circumstances offer hotel employers an even greater opportunity. There is a significant need for sustainable careers - especially for unskilled workers - and hotel and hospitality employers have the unique opportunity to create them. First, hospitality is a people-centric business. Even though automation is seemingly making its way into every industry, at the core of hospitality is people. Automation can certainly help with efficiency and consistency, but nothing can replace a warm and welcoming smile or a helpful and gracious hand. Second, hospitality is one of the few industries that can credibly attest to the fact that entry-level employees have the opportunity to work their way up to executive-level positions, including CEO.
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