Why Is Employee Turnover So High In Hospitality?

Can Your Hotel Break the Employee Turnover Curse?


According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employee turnover in the industry increased from 66.7% in 2014 to 72.1% last year. More worryingly, the quit rate has also risen from 3.7% in April 2015 to 4.3% within a span of just 12 months.

Man holding a sign that says - I quit

Before we dive any deeper into the subject, it’s important that we do away with any misconceptions. Employee turnover isn’t always a negative aspect – in fact, a bit of occasional turnover is actually beneficial to companies! Employees can reach a ‘peak’ in their performing capabilities, after which their motivation levels may gradually decline. New employees bring with them new ideas, a new perspective. It keeps things fresh and helps the company stay innovative. A little turnover also promotes healthy competition among the staff, which in turn boosts the organization’s productivity and even the consumer’s experience.

When turnover numbers get too high however, these benefits start dwindling and serious problems can arise. In addition to incurring additional expenses in the form of advertising and training, overall productivity is also dragged down by the loss of specific skills. New employees need time to familiarize themselves with the organization’s methods, further costing the hotel. High turnover rates can also lower morale among the remaining employees.

Why is employee turnover so high in hospitality?

Henry Ford may have revolutionized the concept of shorter work hours, paving the way for a modern corporate environment in which there’s a growing emphasis on not just consumer satisfaction, but employee satisfaction as well. Unfortunately, hospitality doesn’t seem to have kept pace with these evolving trends – hoteliers often work long, unstable hours that stretch well beyond their designated shift.
This isn’t entirely down to processes at the property level – it’s just hard for hotels to accurately predict occupancy and hence, a number of them are either understaffed or overstaffed most of the time. The problem is compounded when you consider independent hotels where a few people handle multiple responsibilities.
Money is also an important factor and the wages of a hotel’s front line staff are generally low, with little room for increment. Unless employees can break through the ranks and become a manager – generally a long, frustrating process –, there’s little scope for personal development here. But not all problems are restricted to the individual. A hotel that’s badly managed or doesn’t appear to have much potential for growth can leave even enthusiastic employees disappointed. Nobody wants to remain aboard a sinking ship.

While these may seem like subjective disadvantages more to do with specific properties, there are other unpleasant aspects about working in hospitality that have become trademarks of the industry. Hotels demand a constant positive demeanor from their employees, even in front of the most obnoxious guests. Unfortunately, hoteliers are bound to come across such travelers in our modern digital era. Bottling emotions while displaying warmth doesn’t come easily to all, and can take a massive toll on an individual’s personal health.
But perhaps the most significant factor is the self-worth dilemma. The fundamental reason people seek employment is to discover their true value, their untapped potential. Work challenges us, and is supposed to help us build confidence – it’s hard to feel positive about cleaning tables and waiting on guests. It can even stir feelings of low self-worth and diminish confidence. Considering that most hotels prefer hiring younger people, it’s even likelier that they’ll stumble upon such thoughts earlier.

Provide employees with a better work atmosphere

Now that we have an idea about the factors driving high employee turnover in hospitality, the best way to go about resolving the issue is by addressing the very challenges your staff face at your property. While there’s nothing you can do about things that come with working in hospitality, by creating a positive work atmosphere, you better equip them to deal with stress. Forge an organized, well-structured environment where the roles and responsibilities of all members of your staff are clearly defined. A good property management system simplifies this by enabling your managers to delegate tasks to specific employees. Cloud-based property management also enables you to automate a number of monotonous, repetitive tasks that nobody likes doing – mechanizing crucial yet mundane processes like night auditing and reservation organization lets your staff focus more on creative tasks.
Show your appreciation for a job well done by recognizing achievements and rewarding significant milestones, like when they complete a year.

Remember that there are things about hospitality that are simply beyond your control – you can’t modify guest behavior, and most certainly can’t accurately predict periods of high and low occupancy. However, by influencing what is within your control, you can make the working experience a lot more pleasant for your staff!

About Hotelogix

Hotelogix is a unique, cloud-based, end-to-end, hospitality technology solution, built to seamlessly manage hotels, resorts, serviced apartments or multi-location hotel chains, by providing a single window to manage all hotel operations and bookings (online and offline). Hotelogix is currently used by properties in 100+ countries.

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