Hotel Online  Special Report

Staff Turnover... Avoid the Reactive Zone


by Emmanuel Gardinier, March 2005

Staff turnover, you can fight it.

We all have to face the headaches of filling positions in the middle of a busy season when the job market in your area is flat lined. You hire, train, they leave, and then you start all over again.

You end up spending a lot of time and money just trying to run your business with a skeleton crew. The services you are offering are declining, and the rest of your staff is getting very unhappy because they have to fill in for vacant positions and train the new guys.

You are now in that reactive zone where you spend more time solving staffing problems than actually running your place or taking care of your guests.

You might say that the budget you have doesnít allow you to pay more for the staff, and thatís just the way it is. The owners and the market are imposing the rule and you are just doing your best.

You can stop this trend! Iíve done it and itís well worth it.

I had the pleasure of managing a hotel where 90% of the staff was there an average of 15 years. The turnover was less than 10%, this was mostly due to young trainees going back to school for the next semester. And yet, my payroll was within budget, even though the staff was paid much better than elsewhere, it didnít stop the hotel from turning a comfortable profit that was well above the industry standard.

How is that possible?

Well, first you calculate how much money you spend every year in hiring due to turnover. Include the time spent, the ads, the cost of training, the extra staff needed in human resource department, etcÖ You will see that every year those costs are astronomical. Itís much more efficient to reassign most of this budget to raise the lowest incomes.

The payroll system was designed in such a way that each employeeís salary was indexed to the global turnover, so the staff was highly motivated in having a full hotel. I never heard a maid complain that the rooms where full. We also had a bonus system, which rewarded the quality of the job, and we tried to promote internally as much as possible.

I agree that such a system is not possible everywhere, but the basic principle applies, pay your employees better, treat them the way you would want to be treated, and give them a sense of ownership and pride in their work. Not only will they work better, but the sick leave will diminish drastically, and the productivity of the staff will be much higher. We were able to give great service with a little less staff than was needed at a similar place.

The results will speak from themselves. Not only will you reduce the turnover, but you will be able to keep the good ones and hiring will be much easier. On the guestís side, itís also a win-win situation since the staff is much more inclined to give better service and they are much more willing to improve on their work.

I know it goes against many rules of the business and you might call me a heretic, but the numbers did compute, and I reproduced that system in other places with similar results. If you want to know more donít hesitate to drop me a line.

About the author: Emmanuel Gardinier is an award-winning hotelier; he has spent the last 20 years managing properties in over 12 countries. He is committed to provide the highest standard of services to his guests. He has specialized in upgrading properties, as well as streamlining operations and staff training. He has also been an active consultant and as given lectures and classes in many world-renowned hotel schools. Now settled in the USA, he is offering comprehensive on site work and is available to help owners and managers achieve their goals regardless of the size or style of property.
Emmanuel Gardinier
[email protected]
Also See: Lights Ö Create Mood, Ambiance & Decor - But, Can You Read the Menu / Emmanuel Gardinier / March 2005
Bringing Back the Host / Emmanuel Gardinier / February 2005
The Wine Factor, 10 Tips to Create an Attractive Wine List / Emmanuel Gardinier / February 2005
What's the Point of Offering High Tech Gadgets in Hotel Rooms When It Provides the Guest with Total Frustration / Emmanuel Gardinier / February 2005

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