September 11-17, 2022 is housekeeping appreciation week. The week was originally designated in 1981 as a way to bring attention to an often under-appreciated profession. Housekeepers serve as the backbone of the hotel and hospitality industry — without them, hotels simply wouldn’t be able to function and the industry would not be what it is today.
Recognizing your housekeeping team is even more vital in recent years as many hotels and resorts struggle to hire and retain these critical employees in today’s challenging post-pandemic job market. There are simply more jobs available than there are job seekers looking to take them. Many of the workers who may have traditionally taken housekeeping roles now have more options for work than ever before.
On top of this, when your housekeeping staff feels recognized and valued they’re more likely to share their positive experience with their friends, family, and peers — which can help you drive more applicants for your open roles. In fact, employee referrals are the number one source of talent among Hireology customers — particularly in the hospitality space. Folks in this industry tend to seek work through acquaintances and connections rather than more traditional channels like job boards.
So how can you recognize your team during housekeeping appreciation week and beyond? We’ve outlined 6 easy things you can do that will go a long way in making your employees feel needed and valued.
6 ways to honor housekeeping appreciation week
No matter which of the approaches you take below, the key to making sure your messages are received is always tying your appreciation back to the business and your core mission. Make it known how your housekeeping staff is vital to keeping guests happy and allowing you to book rooms, ultimately impacting the overall success of your hotel.
With that in mind, here’s our advice:
Say thank you!
A good old fashioned “thank you” can go a long way. Say it in person to each member of your staff, send everyone a personalized email or note, and put up signs around the break room and other areas your staff frequents that say thank you and show you value their commitment to your hotel. A heartfelt thank you is easy for you and it means a lot to the recipient. And it’s something that you should be doing regularly — not just during the designated week of appreciation.
Throw a team event
Once you’ve expressed your heartfelt gratitude, show it with some sort of event that honors your housekeeping team. This could be a team picnic, free lunch for a day (or for the whole week), or maybe even an awards ceremony that showcases stand-out members of your team. For example, maybe you set up an ice cream sundae bar in the break room or you order pizza for the whole team. No matter how big or small, special events like these make your housekeeping team feel special and appreciated.
Whether you host an actual awards ceremony (as mentioned above) or not, give awards during this week that recognize either stand-out employees or honor team member anniversaries. For example, maybe you give a special gift or treat and highlight folks once they reach their one year, three year, and five year anniversaires. Recognizing time of service is a good way to get people to stick around too, as it gives folks something to work toward and prevents them from jumping ship to other opportunities.
Open up to feedback
Sometimes the best way to show you care about your team is giving them a channel to express their feedback and needs. Send out a survey or a suggestion box where folks can anonymously share what they like about working for you and what they’d like to see changed. But of course don’t just stop there — commit yourself to taking action on this feedback. Making real and legitimate changes in response to your team’s input demonstrates that you care about their well-being.
Give gifts and offer other perks
Gifts are also a good way to show your appreciation. This can come in the form of gift cards, cash bonuses, branded SWAG, or perks like extra PTO and mental health days. But remember that people can tell when you give a gift with no real emotion or true feeling behind them. Giving gifts of course should be always paired with some of the other tips in this guide, such as heartfelt thank yous, public displays of appreciation, and a willingness to hear and act on feedback.
Publicize your appreciation
Private messages and notes are important because they allow you to personalize your thoughts, but sharing your appreciation publicly can also go a long way. Showcase housekeeping staff members on your career site or feature individuals on your social media profiles. For many, the publicity of the recognition can add even more meaning to the message. Plus, it’s great for your employer branding strategy as it shows potential applicants how deeply you value your team.
Another way to say thank you? Keep your team fully staffed
Nothing says “I appreciate you” more than helping your team avoid burnout. When your housekeeping team is fully staffed, it allows people to have more flexibility in their schedules and makes it easier for them to take paid time off or find their desired work/life balance. At a time when many workers are redefining what work means for them and pursuing opportunities that allow them to live the lives they want for themselves, you need to do everything you can to provide that added support and flexibility.
But of course hiring these days isn’t easy. As noted above, we’re facing an unprecedented labor supply and demand imbalance. And few industries are feeling the brunt of this more so than hospitality. It’s tough to stand out among the dozens of employers competing for every one job seeker.
The good news is that there are adjustments you can make to your recruiting and hiring processes to attract more housekeeping talent and get them on your payroll fast. Here’s our advice:
- Revamp your employer branding: Rewrite your job descriptions, your job board ads, and your career site content and articulate what you offer that job seekers want. Lead with benefits like flexibility, paid time off, and of course your track record of employee appreciation.
- Leverage your existing employees: As noted above, hospitality industry workers often rely more heavily on their networks when looking for jobs than traditional channels like job boards. So incentivize your employees to spread the word about your open positions to their industry acquaintances through an employee referral program. Offer cash bonuses or other prizes for folks who are hired via referrals. And make it easy for folks to submit their referral contacts.
- Embrace candidate texting: Housekeepers work on their feet all day — they spend very little time on computers. So when you do have someone interested in your open roles, communicate with them via text. Emails are difficult to craft on a phone and too easy to miss. But texts are rarely overlooked, and they’re easy to respond to on-the-go.
Housekeepers are the backbone of the hospitality industry. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to keep up with consumer demand, book your rooms to capacity, and maximize revenue for your property. So during housekeeping appreciation week (and beyond) use the above advice to go out of your way to show these vital team members just how deeply you value their work.