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How to Find (and Keep) Valued Hotel Employees

If you want to really know a company, look no further than its people. Employees are the collective force that turn four walls into a living, breathing organization. They have a direct impact on customer and business outcomes, and we as leaders are responsible for ensuring this impact is always positive.

So, how can hospitality leaders find and retain valued employees? The kind that have been proven to grow profits three times faster than competitors, and who are 87% less likely to leave their employer? This requires a lot of work on the backend (after all, even the best employees will eventually leave if they don’t feel truly engaged). Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Strategic Training

A recent study found that 40% of hotel employees who did not receive good job training left the position within a year, citing lack of development as their primary reason for checking out (see what I did there?). This makes sense when you think about it: it’s impossible for employees to optimally perform when they’re not equipped with the necessary tools or know-how.

Be strategic and intentional about training and development. Determine the outcomes you want to achieve—considering the behaviors, preferences and learning styles of your team—and design your training programs accordingly. Employee training should be personalized, interactive and outcome-focused, always keeping in mind what employees will find most useful. Also keep this in mind when recruiting: how can you connect with prospective employees in this way to determine if they’d be a good fit for your organization?

Money Matters

Good managers recognize exceptional employees for their work and compensate them for it. No matter how much red tape you have to get through or how strapped your budget is, the fact is that employees have families to feed and bills to pay. If an employee is making less than you both know is deserved, and you’re not willing to offer a raise, it’s only a matter of time before that person goes somewhere else.

In fact, research shows that changing jobs every couple of years can result in an average pay increase of about 15%, compared to the U.S. national average salary increase of just 3%. If you’re struggling with who to pay or don’t have it in the budget, you might have to make some tough calls to retain your top talent. Consider Netflix’s “Keeper Test,” which encourages managers to ask themselves which of their employees, if on the verge of leaving, they would fight hardest to keep at the company.

Look In the Mirror

I’d be remiss to ignore this crucial point. The phrase, “people leave managers, not companies” is very much true. Good management takes concerted effort and long-term experience. It requires leaders to continually sacrifice for the growth and development of their employees (studies show, for example, that 69% of engaged employees feel their manager helps them set performance goals).

It similarly requires leaders to be patient and open with their employees (54% of engaged employees feel they can approach their manager with any type of question). The bottom line is that you must always be there for your employees, from day one to their exit interview. Also keep this in mind when recruiting; employees who know their worth are usually able to see right through a poor manager.

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