By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky

Staffing, staffing, staffing. It’s a constant challenge, and a demoralizing one when you think about all the training that goes into a new hire only for them to leave a month after onboarding. The churn and retention rate problems at the associate level aren’t going away; we could get into the macroeconomic forces contributing to this, but let’s just say that hotels must find non-wage incentives to keep employees from hopping over to a competitor or leaving the industry altogether.

The scary part is that this churn isn’t only at the associate level, as the term ‘the Great Resignation’ encapsulates. Managers are also likely to jump ship if they don’t feel valued, but this is a topic for a whole other article.

Now we say non-wage because, of course, simply raising salaries across the board to keep everyone in their positions isn’t a great way to maintain margins. Hence, now is the time to evaluate non-monetary motivations you are offering new hires so that they feel valued and so that you are more likely to retain them over the long run. What’s hard to measure in all this is the sacrifice you have to make in terms of immediate costs that will work to prevent churn and save you from the greater costs of constantly rehiring associates and any resultant service deficiencies.

As consultants who are brought in by hotel companies to boost revenues or improve margins, looking at developing a strong team is always up for discussion. It’s never a one-size-fits-all matter but requires a nuanced approach and continuous improvements. Here are seven basic tips for you to consider that can be enacted on a somewhat low-cost basis.

  1. Rethink Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. After basic financial security, it’s about possessing a ‘sense of belonging’. How do you imbue a meaningful family into your corporate culture? Then above this belonging is self-actualization or being able to create something of value.
  2. The younger generations are very sensitive. They value their individuality and, even though they may not know how the world works just yet, they still deserve to be heard and have a senior manager listen to their ideas. As they say, there are never any bad questions; it’s up to you to create an avenue for thoughtful discussion.
  3. A great way to nurture this sense of family and the creativity of youth is through one-on-one mentorship. Still, this needs structure and systemization through technology for it to work in a modern, fast-paced office environment.
  4. Another good phrase here is, “Those that eat together stay together.” Another might be, “An army runs on its stomach.” Healthy, free staff meals have manifold benefits.
  5. Reward all achievements. Again, people want to know their work is valued and meaningful, so be sure to tell the whole organization how each member is working towards something greater.
  6. Technology is intimidating, even for phone-addicted millennials and centennials who may not be familiar with enterprise software. Too much too fast may scare them away, so develop a program of gradual introductions and look for ways to consolidate the tech stack around a handful of robust platforms so that the learning curve is minimized.
  7. Promise the future. Many job candidates are attracted to hospitality because it’s service-oriented and guest-facing. Don’t disappoint, and as the world puts COVID-19 aside it’s your responsibility to let your associates return to the proud tradition of ‘service with a smile’.