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5 Ways to Recruit and Hire More Housekeeping Staff

In the hotel industry, few roles are more important to fill than housekeepers. If you don’t have enough housekeepers on staff, you can’t clean your rooms fast enough to book them. And if you can’t book your rooms, your bottom line takes a hit.

Additionally, a survey from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) found that cleanliness is the number one factor impacting guest satisfaction. So not only does a lack of housekeeping staff impact your ability to book rooms, it also can have a negative effect on your guest experience — hurting your customer loyalty and repeat business opportunities.

However, as we continue to navigate the 2021 post-pandemic hiring crisis, housekeeping roles are some of the hardest to fill across all industries. People who may have taken these jobs before the pandemic have so many options for work now that they can afford to be picky and opt for jobs that pay more or offer greater flexibility, for example.

So what can you do? The key is to design your housekeeping jobs so that they are more appealing to your target audience. And at the same time, seek new ways to connect with more of these job seekers before your competitors do. Here’s our advice:

Build a strong employee referral program

Having a strong employee referral program in place is critical in the hospitality industry because workers in the sector typically rely heavily on word-of-mouth when seeking new employment opportunities. Typically, job seekers in this space trust their peers about what it’s like working for an employer rather than the employers themselves. And they’re much more likely to change jobs if influenced by a friend or acquaintance

On top of that, referral hires tend to make better employees, ultimately helping you curb turnover long-term. One study found that referrals perform up to 15% better than other types of hires and they have a 25% higher retention rate.

So if you haven’t revisited your employee referral program in a while, now is the time. You can tailor your program specifically to hiring housekeepers by offering additional bonuses for housekeeping referrals and focusing your internal program messaging around open housekeeping roles.

Connect with local schools

Another great approach for reaching a wider talent pool of potential housekeeping staff is to form relationships with the right audience before they’re even looking for a job. Connect with students who study hospitality management at local community colleges by regularly attending job fairs at these schools, having a presence on campus, or even offering to speak to certain classes. It also helps to form relationships with the faculty in the right departments as these folks can connect you directly with students who might be interested in hospitality careers post-graduation.

In conversations with this audience, make sure you’re promoting the perks and benefits that younger folks are looking for in a job. People in this age group are accustomed to having flexibility in their lives and they want to know that there are options for them to grow in their careers. So be sure to communicate what you offer in terms of flexible scheduling, PTO, growth paths, or learning opportunities. 

Use social media strategically

Social media is a great channel for simply sharing your open roles, but there’s so much more you can do to target your message to more specific audiences on social platforms. Look for groups on social media that are specific to hospitality workers — these are especially common on Facebook and LinkedIn — and become an active member. Share content about what it’s like working for you or even just advice and tips for looking for work in the space to build your credibility. 

Social media can also be used as a part of your referral program. You can exponentially expand your reach by incentivizing existing employees to share your open roles to their networks. One study found that if just five members of staff shared your job ad with their social media networks, your job ad would have a reach of approximately 2,000+ people. Motivate folks to share by offering added bonuses (e.g., gift cards or cash( for employees who share a certain number of job openings. 

Rethink your definition of flexibility

As mentioned above, people have drastically changed their idea of what work/life balance means. For many, being tied to a job for a set 8-10 hours a day just isn’t feasible anymore. People want to work on their own schedules so they can care for their kids or pursue other income opportunities. Why not let them?

Some hotels are experimenting with allowing staff to make their own schedules so they can work around their personal life demands. For example, maybe they start and leave earlier in the day so they can be there for childcare pickup. Or perhaps on certain days of the week they work in the morning and then have some time off during the middle of the day to take care of an elderly parent. 

Others are offering added PTO and sick time to make it easier for employees to balance their personal needs too. People want to work, so if you make it easier for them to find the right balance, you’ll not only attract more applicants but you’ll also improve your long-term retention.

As with any other perk you offer, make sure that you promote your flexibility policies in all of your recruitment marketing efforts — from your career site, to social media profiles, to job descriptions.

Learn SEO best practices

In addition to word-of-mouth, many job seekers in hospitality start their search on Google. To catch the eye of these job seekers, your job ads need to show up in their search results. Of course this is easier said than done. All hotels are struggling to find housekeeping talent, making Google an incredibly crowded arena.

To stand out, it’s important to adopt SEO best practices. Use SEO tools to determine what keywords your audience is searching for. For many that includes terms like flexibility, paid time off, and health care benefits. Whatever keywords you land on, make sure they’re included strategically in your copy and in your subheadings if possible.

In addition to keywords, Google tends to prioritize content that is easy to read and informative. So make sure you’re including enough information (300-800 words is ideal), your copy is well written, and your ad is structured in subsections with bullet points for easy scanning. Additionally, don’t include pay rate or any keywords in the title itself (e.g., Housekeeper $20/hour). These titles tend to come across as scams and Google will de-prioritize them. 

As unemployment declines and folks slowly get back to work in many sectors, the hospitality space remains about 1.5 million jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. To make a dent in this, you need to rethink your recruiting and hiring approach. What worked before the pandemic isn’t going to cut it anymore. Put in the time now to make real changes to your strategy and you’ll find that great talent is out there.

Hireology is here to help. Our all-in-one hiring and HR platform is the only tool designed specifically for the unique needs of the hospitality sector. Schedule a free demo today to learn more.

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