Among the many, many things changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, travel and relaxation stand out. In the past two years, people have gotten used to staycations, self-pampering, and cooking at home, and many are surprised by how much they can do on their own. 

As we emerge from successive waves of the virus, the hospitality industry is waking up to these changing ideas. To entice customers back to hotels, spas, and restaurants, businesses have to offer impeccable service and high-quality experiences. They have to convince people it’s worth it. That means having the best people on staff. 

Finding ways to retain employees in the hospitality industry without breaking the bank is key to recovery. Businesses need their best people front and center. Retaining trained, competent, and efficient staff is how the hospitality industry reminds people that it’s good to go out. 

Why Retention Matters for Hospitality Businesses

Almost no industry was hit harder by the pandemic than the hospitality industry. Between February and April of 2020, the U.S. hospitality lost 49% of its workforce. It was a staggeringly quick catastrophe, and it has taken years to recover. Regrowth was slow: in 2021, gross operating profit per occupied room was only 51% of what it was in 2019.

There are signs that 2022 will be better. In January, revenue per available room was only 2% less than in 2019 in some regions of the U.S. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this can change quickly. Customer attitudes toward travel are still fickle. 

That’s why it is crucial to retain staff. While seamless digital experiences and connected services are some of the hottest hospitality trends right now, that kind of automation doesn’t mean lack of staff. Instead, it requires highly-trained and experienced staff to handle both the technological and the human sides of the job. 

If staff isn’t on their game, the customer experience plummets and people take their business elsewhere.

Having knowledgeable, experienced workers matters. And that’s why employee retention is crucial to the future of individual businesses and the industry as a whole. 

How to Retain Employees in the Hospitality Industry

As our 2022 Frontline Trends report showed, the most crucial factor in employee retention is, of course, wages. More employees are offering living wages and quick pay options to cash-strapped employees. This is why frontline wages are rising higher than they have in over 40 years. 

But not all hospitality businesses can afford to dramatically increase wages all at once. After all, the industry is still in flux, and the future is uncertain.

Luckily, wages are not the only way to improve retention. Improving the day-to-day job experience, reducing stress, and supporting workers are powerful ways to keep employees on the job. 

Here are important ways to improve employee satisfaction in hospitality without breaking the bank: 

Embrace Continuous Training and Reskilling

Training and reskilling in the hospitality industry became a must-do during the pandemic. Employees had to step into unfamiliar roles. Unfortunately, they were often unprepared to do so, increasing stress and damaging confidence. 

But being trained and prepared for new roles the right way can be empowering. Comprehensive training and reskilling existing employees to take on different roles allows them to feel confident and supported when taking on new tasks and helps businesses stay agile.

The best way to give employees the skills they need is to allow them to participate in training from anywhere. When employees can access training videos, slide shows, lectures, and demonstrations through their mobile devices, businesses can train everyone to do anything. 

Promote From Within

No one likes spinning their wheels. Creating an environment in which employees can advance through the ranks is a powerful incentive to stay and perform at their best. 

Automate HR Tasks

Automation sometimes gets a bad reputation. It can be seen as a job-killer. Even at its most benign, it can be a frustration. Find someone who enjoys a complicated set of phone options when calling a bank, and you’ll find the best-tempered person in all the world. 

But automation doesn’t have to be frustrating or impersonal. In fact, automating HR tasks in hospitality can be liberating for employees. 

A mobile-first automated HR system means employees don’t have to spend time finding and filling out forms and tracking down the right person to return them to. Just as importantly, HR departments can focus on the human part of HR and support workers in more meaningful ways. 

Help Employees Stay Connected

The hospitality industry moves fast. A problem in the breakfast area needs to be solved immediately. If a room is dirty, staff needs to know right away. Maintenance needs to fix the broken HVAC before a customer complains of a cold room. 

This isn’t just about creating better guest experiences. Quick communication and problem-solving reduce stress for employees in a notoriously high-pressure industry.

A frontline operating system allows employees and managers to send messages in real time, allowing for faster troubleshooting and fewer customer complaints. In a perfect world, every customer would understand that staff is doing their best. We don’t live in that world. Instant communication, though, is the next best thing. 

Be Flexible. Be Understanding. 

Life gets messy. Child care gets turned upside down. Schools close, and family members get sick. Cars break down. Sometimes, an employee just can’t make it to work. 

Absenteeism puts a lot of stress on everyone else, which is why hotels are usually strict about attendance. But being understanding goes a long way toward improving retention. After all, it’s easy for a worker to decide that an inflexible, unempathetic workplace isn’t worth it. 

A frontline operating system with scheduling features gives employees the ability to quickly alert managers when something goes wrong and can help find a replacement. Insight into scheduling helps employees swap shifts and ensures changes are documented.

Make Smart Changes With business

Hospitality workers have a tough job, and retaining employees can be a challenge in even the best of times. In today’s environment, businesses must have meaningful ways to encourage employees to stay on board. 

business is the operating system for frontline businesses. Our software is designed to make the lives of hospitality workers better. From instant communication and scheduling to training and automation, we empower frontline employees, simplify their day-to-day, and set them up for success. 

You want to retain workers. They want to feel confident in their work and know that they can grow their careers. business helps you do it all so you can be ready for whatever tomorrow brings. 

Download our Frontline Future of Work eBook to see how business helps you stay ahead of the curve, or request a demo to get started today.