4 Trends Impacting Hospitality Employment

Finding the hospitality talent your hotel needs to provide a great guest experience is only part of the problem these days — now, you have to contend with rising levels of turnover across the board.

Labor data from Actabl indicates that hotels who have historically experienced the least amount of turnover have seen a 50% increase in the phenomenon since 2019. Not only that, but the “quick turn” rate — or the turnover rate of employees who leave within their first 30 days — has also significantly increased since the onset of the pandemic as well. 

When you factor in training costs, recruitment, and overall loss of productivity into turnover financial implications, replacing an employee can cost up to 30% of the position’s salary. Needless to say, turnover in the hospitality industry is hitting the bottom lines at hotels hard.

Employee expectations that increase turnover in hospitality

Given how drastically your hotel’s bottom line can be impacted by increased turnover, it’s paramount to understand the reasons driving this upward trend. Below, we dig into four employee expectations that have become the norm in the hiring world and how you can capitalize on these desires to drive retention.

Work-life balance

With the pandemic came a plethora of remote work options that many skilled workers opted to move to. Many chose to go the route of remote work and switch industries because these roles offered them flexibility that they were unable to find at previous employers. 

While you can’t offer remote work at a hotel, you can give employees the flexibility they desire — you just need to get creative with your offerings to counter common flexibility myths. Obviously, you need people on your team in the building to turnover rooms and perform general upkeep, but that doesn’t mean your workers need to stick to a rigorous 8 hour shift. Instead, consider offering your part time employees multiple four hour shifts instead of a traditional schedule; you could also implement four 10 hour shifts for your full time employees who want to be at your establishment fewer days of the week but still make their hours. You could take this one step further by allowing your staff to have more say on when they work so they can better balance their personal and professional lives.

Career growth

In our 2023 State of Hospitality Hiring Report, the most important factor for hospitality applicants (after pay, of course) is the opportunity for career advancement. Unfortunately, there has not traditionally been a lot of room for career growth in the hospitality industry due to the limited number of positions available. However, turnover for managers has increased 25 – 35% according to Actabl data. Taking this into consideration, part of your retention strategy should be to implement career pathways for every position at your establishment. 

Not everyone can be a general manager (GM), but seeing a potential career trajectory should help keep top talent on your team if they see the possibility to move forward with your property. You could nurture professional development by offering cross training in multiple departments. This way, you’ll increase potential coverage should you be short staffed one day and, if there is an employee that could rise through the ranks to GM, they should be able to jump into any role at any time, so they’ll need to know what everyone does on their team. You could also implement apprenticeship programs at your hotel and promote online learning and certification programs like AHLEI, a certification program trademarked by AHLA.

Encourage employee well-being

The modern worker wants to be able to take care of themselves and their families while being gainfully employed. These workers want the work-life balance we mentioned earlier, but they also want something more: to be able to take care of their well-being as well. When you take care of your employees, physically and mentally, they’ll take care of your guests and be happy to do so!

As a hotelier, you can encourage employee well-being in several ways. The first method that comes to mind is to offer more PTO to all employees, part time and full time staff alike. When you give your people the time to take care of themselves, they’ll come back to the hotel rejuvenated and ready to be as hospitable and productive as possible. You could also implement mental health days for your staff, where they can either schedule a paid day off during their regular schedule or call out for a day without being punished. Sometimes, you don’t know when your mental health will need a reset and your workers shouldn’t be penalized for taking care of themselves. 

Alternatively, you could offer paid time off for service days, where your staff can volunteer their time at a charity or organization of their choice. Another method of encouraging employee well-being includes offering a well-being stipend to be used on an approved service of their choice, like massages, facials, gym memberships, group fitness classes, etc. Finally, you could couple additional PTO with discounted employee rates for other properties in your portfolio or within your brand at large so they can get away for a little while.

Company culture that engages employees

One of the best ways to increase retention at your hotel is to simply make your employees feel valued in their roles. Employees that feel valued are typically more engaged in their workplace and will stay longer. 

There are quite a few ways that you can cultivate a company culture that encourages employee engagement. You could offer rewards, bonuses, promotions, give recognition from management, create opportunities for team building activities — really anything that would encourage a potential candidate to work for you rather than anyone else. You could also use text messaging in your employee communications, opting to spread important news, notices, and employee referral campaigns this way instead of relying solely on emails. Employees nearly always have their phones on them during the day, so by simply sending them a message you’re increasing the likelihood of them actually reading it and/or following through on the call to action.

Are you ready to tackle turnover at your hotel?

Learning more about ongoing trends impacting hospitality employees and why they’re so hard to keep is just a part of the solution to tackling turnover at your hotel. Now comes the hard work: making the most impactful changes that your staff want to see. 

The best place to start? With your onboarding. In our 2023 State of Hospitality Hiring Report, we found that a good onboarding experience can make or break your long-term relationship with your employees and how long they’ll remain a member of your staff. To learn more about how you can create an onboarding experience that drives loyalty, schedule a 1:1 demo with our team today!



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