How to Attract & Retain Top Talent in the Hospitality Industry … Especially in Remote Destinations
Pre-Covid, it wasn’t uncommon for international resort hoteliers and owners to have a very difficult time attracting and retaining top talent. It is a struggle for many hotels to find incentivized and motivated people in remote locations that want to invest themselves into the company and to represent it in the highest possible way. This can result in a very time-consuming process of recruiting, training and repeating instead of continually spending time and energy on refining the guest experience by developing great leaders internally. In addition to this ongoing difficulty, Covid-19 has resulted in most hotels needing to furlough or let go of the talent they already had, leaving many of these employees to turn to different industries for work and/or translating their skills to a new industry or trade.
It is critical that these boutique hotels and international resorts establish an outward-bound image and reputation that makes their company attractive to prospective employees as well as to further engage current employees. It is necessary to create a culture of excellence and an employment branding strategy that fosters a sense of community in order to maximize employee potential and to prevent a high turnover.
What is Employer Branding for Hotels?
Employer branding is how an employer presents themselves to prospective and current employees. Just as you would market to guests, you need to create a brand and culture that is equally as attractive to employees. Doing so will help draw and retain top talent/quality employees. Creating an employment brand strategy allows your company to showcase its culture and community influence, which will better attract and filter employees that resonate and align with the same values. These people may not become employees for life, but will be great advocates for your company now and into the future.
What are the Benefits of Employer Branding to the Bottom Line?
There are multiple benefits to employer branding, the biggest one being the reduced time and costs of recruiting. Financial cost recruiters will take anywhere from 15-25% of an employee’s annual salary and are paid despite whether or not the candidate they found actually continues with the organization. By creating an employment branding strategy, you’re able to filter prospective employees that align with your company and values. Then, based on the company culture and community formed, employees may become advocates for your hotel and will refer and encourage new employees. This is a great way to find hard-working employees that align well with the company, but employees will only refer their friends if they enjoy working there themselves.
Another significant benefit is the securing of more discretionary energy and effort to support your brand’s initiatives. Surveys have found that people who are happy at work have 31% higher productivity (Marks, 2012). When employees believe in a vision and contribution to the community, they will see more pride, motivation and energy because they want to contribute to the greater impact. Employers see this increased energy drive productivity, and employees will look for gaps and opportunities to be filled. Not only will employees be more efficient, but they will invest more of themselves into the customer experience and will be more personable with guests.
Creating an employer brand will also differentiate your hotel from others in a meaningful way, both to guests and employees. There are multiple ways to do this, the first one being employee development. This could mean teaching different things like leadership skills, developmental tools, or English to employees in remote locations. A second way of differentiating your hotel is to give back through community development. An example of this would be donating $5 per hotel booking to a local community program and this can be a great strategy to increase direct bookings. Philanthropic efforts and volunteering is a third way to differentiate. It’s beneficial to bring your team together and for your employees to donate their time to support the local community. Encouraging philanthropic efforts will demonstrate to your guests, employees, and community that you care, and will also boost employee morale.
In addition to these great benefits, companies who treat their employees better, do better. One study found that the 100 best companies to work for in America delivered stock returns that beat their peers by 2-3% per year. It may seem obvious, but it’s important not to overwork and underpay your employees.
What Components of an Employer Brand should be Created?
Mission, Vision, Values: These are critical for your prospective and current employees to resonate with your company and to align their values with yours. They also give your employees something to stand behind and provide them with clarity and direction. Employees will exert more energy if they know how they’re contributing to the good of the business.
Headshots & Employee Profiles: These create visibility and transparency for your guests and employees. It’s important that people know who they’re talking to in order to better form connections and to provide personable experiences.
Culture Videos: Videos create even more visibility and transparency around the values of the hotel or resort. It is also a great way to demonstrate what corporate and personal development looks like for employees and guests.
Internal & Corporate Communication: Creating PDFs, handbooks and presentations are essential when bringing in new people through the recruitment phase, as well as the onboarding phase during training. These will help ease transitions and help new hires feel better connected.
Retention and Referral Strategies: It’s important to show how value will continue to be added to employees throughout their career development. Growing a positive and motivating culture will encourage referrals.
Culture Building and Integration Strategies: Create ways to implement team-building activities and to build a sense of community among your employees. This will boost morale and help provide positive and open communication.
Mentorship Training and Leadership Development: It is important to have a clear and concise plan for employees to understand how they will grow throughout their career and how you are going to help them do so. Providing extra resources, classes, or training in mentorship will expand and encourage employee development. Employee’s observing quality work ethic and customer service from leadership/manager roles are critical for modeling the skills you’re seeking.
Regardless of Covid-19 challenges, top talent is essential to your hotel or resort. Creating a positive reputation and culture in your workplace will attract like-minded employees and assist you in retaining top talent. We often place priority on new client acquisition and returning customers, but those will be minimized without our own human capital and resources to be able to serve them with the quality and excellence we desire. An employer brand is key to differentiating your hotel to not only guests but employees as well. Creating an employment brand strategy will attract and keep great employees that will continue to fulfill the customer experience that you’re looking to extend to your guests.
Happiness at Work survey, Nic Marks, nef (new economics foundation, London) 2012