How to Deal with Staff Shortages in the Hospitality Industry

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The workforce is facing the Great Resignation, and one of the hardest hit industries is hospitality. With employees increasingly preferring remote or hybrid setups, there are fewer job-seekers willing to work on-site at a hotel.

As these preferences will not change anytime soon, hotel leaders and HR professionals cannot continue how they were recruiting and retaining talent before. Doing so will lead to issues like under-staffing, burnout, and high turnover. Hotel leaders must reinvent how they source talent and keep them for the long-term.

Here are three ways that hotels may want to transform their recruiting and retention efforts.

Improve learning and development

Improve learning and development
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Many hotels treat training as a one-and-done affair: When newly hired, employees must go through an onboarding program for their role, and then they are thrown into their work in a baptism-by-fire, never to undergo learning-and-development (L&D) again.

This is a missed opportunity. While L&D may be traditionally associated with knowledge work in office settings, all professionals in the hospitality industry would benefit from ongoing professional development. For example, the guest services can undergo additional training on serving VIPs and dignitaries, while the sales staff may go through a course to help them better upsell the conference facilities.

These L&D activities are more than just an engaging way to break up routine work. According to data from LinkedIn, 94 percent of employees would stay longer with an organization if it invested more into their learning and development. In the essay, The impact of a learning and development strategy on hospitality profitability, EHL Group CEO Markus Venzin echoed these sentiments.

“Organizations should establish strategic skills mapping within jobs to have a clear idea of what competencies will be needed in the future. For example, in today’s hospitality landscape, it is imperative that training in sustainable practices and data-driven technologies is made a priority,” he wrote, adding later that such training must be continuous. 

Adopt digital technologies

Adopt digital technologies
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When discussing digital technologies in the context of recruiting and retention, hotel leaders will automatically think of sourcing solutions or applicant management systems. But they need to think deeper than this, down to the very technologies that their staff use in the course of performing their role. Why? The right solutions enhance productivity, which lessens the need for manpower to complete repetitive or routine tasks.

This premise is evident in Aiello.AI. With the Aiello Task Management System (TMS), hotels can streamline operations through a TMS that can enable teams to assign tasks, delegate them as needed, and check on their status. Workflows can also be customized to suit the unique needs of each department.

Aiello TMS can also integrate with Aiello Voice Assistant (AVA), an AI-powered, 24/7 multilingual voice assistant that functions as an alarm clock, digital concierge, room service, and phone. AVA, in short, is a knowledge and service hub for guests, enabling them to maximize their enjoyment of the hotel and its facilities.

With AVA, front-desk workload is reduced by as much as 60 percent because guests can use the solution as self-service for their own queries.

Together, Aiello TMS and AVA reduce the need for staff to perform routine tasks, saving the hotel the cost of man-hours and new hires. With Aiello TMS, for example, tasks are digitized and centralized, rather than passed back-and-forth aimlessly over pen-and-paper, messaging apps, or walkie-talkies. With AVA, front-desk workload is reduced by as much as 60 percent because guests can use the solution as self-service for their own queries.

Improve work environment

Improve work environment
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When hotel leaders focus on efficiency, it becomes easy to lose sight of a matter that is as important: culture. Hotel leaders should strive to create a working environment where employees encounter new challenges every day, everyone feels fulfilled in their work, and colleagues get along with one another. This last point is particularly impactful: According to a poll from B2B Reviews, 38 percent of workers will stay because of their team and colleagues, 32 percent for their leader, and 13 percent because of their customers. Positive work relationships, in short, drive retention.

Culture is of course easier said than done. Given this fact, hotel leaders should try to operationalize culture-building initiatives and programs into their work life. These can be simple, like weekly one-on-ones with subordinates, or more elaborate, such as team-building activities that make creative use of the hotel facilities. The key is that hotel leaders are advancing a positive, harmonious, and fulfilling work environment for all staff.

Culture is driven by more than just activities and programs – technology plays a key role, too. When hotel operations are powered by cutting-edge technology, it makes the lives of employees easier and they are more likely to stay. Freed of routine work, such as needlessly jotting down tasks, they can focus on higher-level functions, such as completing guest requests. These higher-level functions will make employees feel more fulfilled, boosting the likelihood of retaining them for the long-term.

Hotel leaders must treat culture as a strategic priority, based around a simple fact: The better a working environment is, the more that staff will want to work there.

From staff shortage to staff success

Hotel leaders no longer need to be burdened by constant understaffing. Rather than stick to the status quo when it comes to recruiting and retention, they can pursue new avenues for finding and keeping their best employees.

Such an initiative can be built around strong L&D programs that make employees feel their professional development is prioritized, the operationalization of culture as a company priority, and the incorporation of technologies that reduce the need for repetitive, energy-draining tasks. The best example of the latter is Aiello, which fittingly gives employees what will most inspire them to stay: innovation.

2 thoughts on “How to Deal with Staff Shortages in the Hospitality Industry

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