6 ways to reduce employee turnover
6 ways to reduce employee turnover
09 APRIL 2014 6:15 AM

Employee turnover is unavoidable, but hoteliers can drive retention through a handful of simple best practices. 

Employee turnover is an unavoidable circumstance we face in the hospitality industry. There are numerous reasons behind it, some of which can't easily be addressed by hotel management. However, maintaining a low turnover rate can reduces costs, boost staff morale and increase guest satisfaction. 
Here are some human resources management practices and tactics you can adopt to increase employee retention:
Start your search in the right places
When you recruit applicants, what sources are you using? When were they last evaluated? Are they bringing you a number of qualified applicants? These questions need answered prior to moving onto your search. If needed you may have to seek new sources.
There are numerous sources depending on your location, market and positional needs: 
  • College/school job-boards;
  • employment agencies;
  • employee referrals;
  • online job-boards/sites;
  • local newspapers; and
  • simple networking. 
Qualified candidates might present themselves in other ways, too. 
For instance, when was the last time someone local offered excellent and memorable service to you? Were they happy at their place of employment? Did you ask these questions to your-self? 
If you are in the HR role in your company, keep your business card handy. Give them out the next time someone gives you outstanding service, and don’t be surprised if they give you a call.
Hire the right people
When you have received enough applicants, it’s time to review them. Remember, you are trying to get a candidate who can do an excellent job and be loved by guests. Review their education, previous job positions, duties, length of time at each position, gaps in employment and any other aspects you feel are important. 
You want to make sure you hire the right person for the right job. Hire for personality; you can teach skills.
During the interview process, give the applicant a simple description of the position, hours, job duties/responsibilities and the property. Tell them about your guests—if they’re primarily business or leisure, families or corporate clients. Being honest and up front about your hotel culture, working conditions and clientele will help candidates get a better picture of your hotel’s environment. 
In this legal web of HR, be careful of the questions you ask in the interview. Some questions are illegal and cannot be asked by an employer. Ask your legal professional or a hotel consultant if your questions are legal to ask in interviews. Questions you can ask include behavioral and situational scenarios pertaining to the job duties and responsibilities.
Ask applicants about their future aspirations and long-term goals. This will help you determine if they will be with you on a long-term basis or if your company is only a stepping stone for the time being. Depending on the position, will they still be in the hotel industry in two, five, 10 years?
Set expectations
When you’ve hired the right applicant, make sure to set the tone and expectation of the position. 
Provide a written job description to him to sign and accept. The job description should include position, title, appearance, duties, responsibilities, physical/mental constraints, and skills needed to complete job or tasks. 
If the position allows, provide and explain the goals for the position or department. When goals are given to employees, they often are more engaged and committed to achieving them and gaining success.
Give ongoing feedback and direction
All employees need feedback and direction from their manager or supervisor on an ongoing basis. 
Managers should tell them what they're doing well, what they can do differently and what they should stop doing. Give them praise. Say thank you. Address performance issues. Ask them how they're doing. 
Managers need to engage in an ongoing, two-way dialogue about performance with their employees. This feedback and direction helps improve employee performance, but it also builds a strong working relationship between them and their manager that contributes to employee engagement and retention.
Recognize and reward solid performance
We all like to feel appreciated. Your hotel and managers need formal and informal ways to recognize and reward high performance. 
Not all rewards need to be financial. Time off, a preferred shift or even a simple "thank you" or public recognition of their efforts can be effective ways to motivate, reward and engage employees. And employees who feel valued tend to stick around.
Provide opportunities for development
Giving your staff opportunities to develop and expand their knowledge, skills and experience can be a powerful contributor to employee retention. 
Supporting employee development through paid or subsidized courses, webinars, books, job shadowing, work experiences, mentoring, podcasts, etc. helps to communicate to them that you value them and their work and are committed to their success and career progression. All of this drives employee retention.
When it comes to employee retention, there's a lot your hotel and management staff can do. These talent management best practices not only contribute to employee retention, they increase employee performance, engagement and satisfaction. And all that is good for business.
Niraj “Neal” Dhanani, CHA, CHO, is a hotel expert with years of industry experience in acquisitions, management, renovations and litigation support. He has successfully consulted on or turned around numerous properties and revived them back to financial health. His company (AP Hospitality) provides Hotel Consulting, Expert Witness, Property/Department Trainings, Revenue Management, Repositioning/Rebranding, Negotiating Franchise Contracts/Impacts/PIP’s, Hotel Management Services and much more. Contact him at Neal@APhospitality.com or visit website at www.Aphospitality.com
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