Employee retention in hospitality – insights from industry experts

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Marketing Lead

Many hospitality businesses are currently looking to improve their employee retention rates. So we reached out to some of our clients and asked them to share what helps them successfully retain employees. Here’s what they had to say…

Give a warm welcome 

Employee retention efforts start from the minute a new employee steps through the door. By taking the time to get to know your new employees, training them well and making them aware of the tools at their disposal – you’ll be off to a great start.

“Never underestimate the power of an induction and welcome. If you want people to stay, make them feel welcome and don’t throw them in at the deep end; nine times out of ten they’ll sink.”

David Scott, CEO, The Hotel Folk

“Put loads of energy in at the start of their employee journey. Make them feel welcome, be crystal clear with expectations and standards and make sure they know about all the tools at their disposal to deliver a great guest experience.”

Dom Jones, Co-Founder & Head of Culture, Maray

Two-way communication

Communication is key. Listen to your employees, take on their feedback and show empathy. All of these things will help you gain respect from your employees and subsequently aid employee retention. In fact 96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention.

“Look after your team with compassion and empathy and not a corporate mind.”

Carlton Graham, Operations Director, Manorview Group

“The very best managers are the ones who naturally get to know and support their crew with empathy and understanding. These are the ones who have low turnover and high engagement.”

Matt Gough, Head of People Operations, BrewDog

“‘You say, we respond’ – we’ve found especially over the last two years that tackling employee concerns head on has helped with retention.”

Gauri Marler, Head of Operations Finance, Warner Leisure Hotels

“Listen to your crew. Understand through engagement surveys how they feel and what they’d like to see improve.”

Matt Gough, Head of People Operations at BrewDog

Honesty & transparency

Transparency should start at the recruitment process and continue throughout employment. Giving visibility where you can and sharing both good and bad news, will help gain trust from your employees.

“We have to be 100% honest with potential new starters in the recruitment process. If we covered things up at this stage, we would struggle in the retention stage.

Matt Gough, Head of People Operations, BrewDog

“Ensure your communication is open and honest and share all news, good and bad!”

Carlton Graham, Operations Director, Manorview Group

“With tools like Rotaready our employees have full visibility over their upcoming shifts and can easily see what they’re going to be paid. This is a key player in giving our team transparency.”

Gauri Marler, Head of Operations Finance, Warner Leisure Hotels

Consistency 

Consistency should run throughout your business, from your messaging to how you treat employees across sites. Not only is consistency important from a customer service perspective, it’s important to your people. With employees being one of the key pillars of any hospitality business, it’s essential that consistency starts with them. 

“As a multi-site business we can’t be inconsistent. Treating our teams equally across sites is at the core of what we do.”

Gauri Marler, Head of Operations Finance, Warner Leisure Hotels

“Have clear and aligned messaging on what it’s like to work ‘here’ and live those values and messages that you put out there at the ‘attraction stage’.”

Matt Gough, Head of People Operations, BrewDog

Training & development

Many of the clients we spoke with stressed the importance of paying particular attention to training and development in the first 90 days of employment. As well as this initial training, it’s also important to offer clear opportunities for development and progression going forward. In fact a recent study found that training & development, coupled with career progression, are more important than salary when it comes to tempting hospitality workers to explore new roles.

“Training and development speaks louder than money. Money may pay the bills but training & development enables job satisfaction.”

Dom Jones, Co-Founder & Head of Culture, Maray

“Ensure there’s a robust and thorough training plan in place with plenty of review points in the first 90 days, in order to support the on-boarding and development of all new starters.”

Matt Gough, Head of People Operations, BrewDog

“Give timely and relevant feedback in the first 90 days. Even if it doesn’t work out, you know you gave that person everything they needed to succeed.”

Dom Jones, Co-Founder & Head of Culture, Maray

Good pay rates 

Whilst not the most important thing to potential candidates, a good pay rate is still highly sought after by hospitality job seekers. And competitive pay rates are also a key contributor to employee retention. Giving transparency over pay rates (and bonuses) means your employees know where they stand and have achievable targets to aim for. 

“Good pay rates clearly come high up the list. Although it’s not everything…it’s a BIG part of someone’s ability to take the job.”

Matt Gough, Head of People Operations, BrewDog

“We reviewed our bonus structure for senior management and head chefs and it is now completely transparent with achievable targets.”

Nicola Wallace, HR Manager, Signature Group

The icing on the cake 

Last but not least, consider other benefits… those added extras. And make sure you offer a good selection so that there is something for everyone.

“Having a wide variety of benefits means there’s something for everyone; from enhanced pensions, and maternity/paternity leave, to health care and long service sabbaticals.”

Matt Gough, Head of People Operations, BrewDog

“Simple ‘in the moment’ rewards are more effective day to day.”

Nicola Wallace, HR Manager, Signature Group

We offer a 40% discount to all employees  Monday-Wednesday, and 25% off for the remainder of the week. Plus free meals on shift, discounted taxis home after a late shift and just this month have launched an ‘Employee Retention Scheme’ where our managers can reward employees with ‘Signature Dollars’ that can be spent at our venues

Nicola Wallace, HR Manager, Signature Group

If you have any questions about any of the above, just email us at comms@rotaready.com or message us via the live chat on our website. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

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