Quality talent and quality guest services go hand-in-hand. The success of your hotel is inextricably linked to the caliber of your staff. But if you’re like most hotels, you know that attracting and capturing the best of the best on the job market today isn’t easy.
A major factor contributing to these challenges is misconceptions that are ingrained in the minds of everyday people today. Most workers simply do not view the hospitality industry as a sector that offers the benefits they want out of work today — including flexibility, career growth, well-being, and more.
That’s why as a hotel it’s important for you to not only make an effort to improve in the following areas but also invest in your employment branding efforts to show that you’re willing to grow and evolve alongside the needs of today’s workforce.
Let’s take a look at three hospitality misconceptions and what you can do to change them.
Inflexible work arrangements
The modern workforce, especially the younger generation, values flexibility and work-life balance. But traditionally, the hotel industry has adhered to rigid work schedules, which turns top job seekers away. Part of the reason for this is because the hospitality industry operates around the clock, and many hoteliers will say that this is difficult to change because certain shifts always need to be covered.
However, there are ways to offer flexibility without fundamentally changing the basic structure of how your hotel operates, including:
- Occasional remote work days (in departments where applicable like sales)
- Flexible start and end times
- Ability to choose schedules
- Compressed workweeks
But there are ways to get even more creative with this. Hilton, for example, offers hourly workers the ability to choose shifts across locations — mimicking a gig work structure. Employees are allowed to pick up shifts where they want, when they want. Of course certain requirements are necessary to ensure that all shifts are covered, but offering this flexibility for at least part of the time for hourly workers allows them to recruit and retain top workers — ultimately giving them a competitive edge.
Rigid hierarchical structure
Top job seekers also want to know that there’s opportunities for them to grow with their employers. And unlike most businesses hiring skilled, hourly workers, hotels have dozens of opportunities and different types of work for people to explore — ranging from guest services to sales to event planning and more.
The problem is that people just don’t see it this way. For hotels to influence this perception in the industry it’s important to develop formal growth programs and market these opportunities more aggressively in your recruiting and employment branding strategies.
For example, some hotel companies offer programs for recent graduates (or workers who are otherwise new to the industry) that require them to complete rotations across different departments and then choose career paths that work for them after putting in time in different critical roles.
These types of programs are extremely attractive to young professionals who don’t have a clear path in mind and are open to exploring opportunities and learning where their skills fit in exchange for guaranteed growth. And this works well for you as you get critical entry-level roles covered while also attracting top talent who are eager to contribute.
And as noted above, simply putting these programs in place isn’t enough. These opportunities should always be front and center in your employment branding messaging. Similarly, your recruiting team should lead with these programs when working closely with local high schools or colleges.
Lack of culture and meaningful work
Hospitality job seekers are also attracted to workplaces with great culture and if you think about it, this makes sense. People with the drive and passion for hospitality want to work in an environment that matches their enthusiasm. But of course for any business, not just hotels, culture is hard to control.
Many hotels may feel they can’t compete with the casual laid-back culture among tech companies (think: pool tables, beer kegs) that many young people find attractive today, but the truth is they don’t have to. Hotels are different from your traditional office workplace, and require a different approach to culture. In the hospitality sector, great culture is about empowering your workforce to feel as though they’re making a difference in the lives of others.
Of course this starts with overall mission statements and company values that all daily work ties back to. For example, Four Seasons’ mission is to “perfect the travel experience through innovation and high standards for hospitality.” The company also stands by the “golden rule” of treating others as you would like to be treated. These statements guide everything the company does from the top down and gives all employees a feeling that they’re contributing to a greater mission.
Another example of empowering employees to make a difference is Ritz-Carlton’s famous $2,000 dollar rule, which gives employees freedom to spend up to $2,000 to solve customer problems without seeking approval from management. Of course not all hotels have the luxury of offering this much freedom, but there are similar policies you can explore to not only empower your employees to feel they have more influence on your hotel’s goals, but also ensure guests receive the best possible experience.
The hotel industry needs to undergo transformative shifts to attract and retain high-quality talent in an increasingly competitive landscape. Whether you choose to embrace flexible work arrangements, prioritize professional development, or seek to shift your workplace culture perception, the time is now to make adjustments to your employee experience that help change overall industry misconceptions.
By challenging these misconceptions, hotels can create a workplace that not only meets the needs of their employees but also exceeds the expectations of their guests. The future success of the hospitality industry relies on its ability to adapt and evolve, and these changes are crucial for hotels to thrive amidst ever-changing job seeker expectations.
Looking for more advice like this? Learn more about our exciting new partnership with AHLA, which will provide technology support and hiring expertise for hotels looking to recruit and retain better quality talent. Or if you’d like to see our hospitality-specific recruitment platform in action, take a virtual platform tour today.