5 Ways to Retain Hospitality Staff

Charlette Beasley

Charlette is a writer and content strategist in Florida. She writes payroll content for Fit Small Business and helps her own clients create industry-specific copy for their business. In addition, she loves “beaching” with her two kids.

Learning how to reduce employee turnover can give companies a significant competitive advantage. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual turnover rates for the hospitality industry was 74.9% in 2018. Terminated employees can cost a company more than thousands of dollars when you consider the time and money spent hiring, onboarding, training, and so on. Although retaining quality hospitality staff can add expenses to your books as well, your company will reap benefits in the form of higher profit margins and happier workers in the long run.

Disgruntled waiter working at restaurant with a lot of employee turnover

Here are five strategies you can use to help retain hospitality staff:

1. Offer training and development opportunities

It’s easy to pigeon-hole employees into a particular job, especially if they produce quality work; however, you should avoid doing this if you want them to be with your company for the long-term. Consider having senior employees train and mentor some of the newer employees. You might also find it useful to create special projects that will give your senior employees a new opportunity to improve their leadership skills and impact the business directly.

2. Improve employee benefits

With health costs steadily rising, medical insurance is a huge motivator for many employees. Even if you opt not to directly contribute to your employees’ premiums, you can leverage your access to better insurance plans so employees can purchase coverage through your company. Other benefits you might be interested in are college savings plans, retirement accounts, and commuter programs. Consider including part-time employees as potential recipients; typically, benefits are reserved for full-time staff, but the hospitality industry thrives on hiring both types of workers.

3. Create a fun company culture

Hospitality staff are more likely to choose your company over a competitor if they have a hard time finding a more positive and fun work culture. This requires developing a successful leadership team who will carry out this initiative from the top down. Reduce employee turnover in the hospitality industry with great company culture by planning team-building activities (like solving an escape room challenge), hosting a potluck, and sponsoring volunteer opportunities. 

4. Recognize employee successes

When employees meet or exceed their goals for the quarter, find a way to recognize them among their peers. You can call them out during a company meeting, offer a bonus (to reward meeting sales goals), add them to “top employees of the week,” or provide a small token of your appreciation ($10 gift card). Recognition motivates your employees to continue being successful, so they can be rewarded again in the future.

5. Create a flexible work environment

With the rise of the gig economy and remote jobs, employees can have a flexible work environment in a New York minute. To combat this, it’s important to offer as much flexibility as you can without sacrificing productivity. You could give part-time employees the opportunity to have more say-so in their work schedules (if their input is well in advance). Hospitality staff also appreciate being able to swap schedules with other employees and take time off from work when needed. 

The hospitality industry has dealt with labor retention issues for a while, but effectively managing them is of vital importance for companies that want to be successful today. Some causes of employee turnover in the hospitality industry are out of your control, like seasonality, while others are not, such as the type of environment in which your employee works. To retain your hospitality staff, you must approach them as your company’s greatest assets. Invest a little time, money, and effort into improving their work experience, and your business will be rewarded.

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