Retention, how to ensure this happens
A different way of looking at retention and why we lose people in our businesses
Staff turnover in hospitality has always been high and it is not a new phenomenon in the industry.
The fact is, since the Covid pandemic, this issue has come to a new level never seen before. Another fact, it is not only in Ireland but worldwide and also many other industries suffer the same.
Who do we have to blame for this? The purpose of this article is not to find somebody responsible for it, we want to look at a possible solution and how to improve the situation.
Today’s labour market brings new challenges for many businesses. Hotels always competed for the best staff, but never before was there such a need to sell jobs to an employee, or should we call them internal customers? The way we have to look at the labour market has changed. We need to approach this like a marketing strategy and deal with our internal customers. Showing the benefits and advantages over the competition, to gain and retain employees.
Thinking outside the box is required, our employees are now our internal clients. We have to emphasize employee services, the quality of the staff facilities, the staff food, what is the employee’s long-term future, job progression, and our values and commitment to the employee’s well-being.
Leadership is a key word and needs to be taken very seriously. Employee empowerment, pay and the relationship with their manager has a huge impact on staff happiness and retention.
Another challenge we never had to deal with, is the four generations of employees. Baby boomer, generation X, Y and now the newest fast-moving generation Z. Each of them has different requirements and ideas of how today’s employment should be. Can our managers deal with this, have they been trained to understand those new challenges?
Some people say it is the responsibility of the Human Resources Department to make people stay in their job. Well, the HR department is in charge of recruiting the staff, dealing with the coordination and administration of all paperwork, the initial on-boarding process and taking a supporting role for personnel issues. They are not managing the staff every day on the job. This is the responsibility of the line manager or supervisor, who now has to show their talent management and knowledge about how to retain the new hire or existing staff.
We hire somebody for a job and assume that they know what we expect of them. Often, nobody explained exactly how or why a particular task is done. This concerns every level of employee, line managers, supervisors as well as regular staff. Those people are new in our business and don’t have the knowledge required yet. It’s easy to lose a new starter quickly and complain about them. Maybe thinking that they are not competent, not suitable and don’t know their job.
The easy fix is a good Standard Operating Procedure. Everybody then knows how to do the job which makes it easy for new people to get their heads around it. This tool needs to be modified as the business evolves and should not be sitting on the shelf and gathering dust. This is a training tool for any manager and gives the helping hand to an employee who feels unsure about their job. Also, it is a great opportunity for owners and managers to examine internal skills training and how this can be improved.
Training and appreciation are high factors for retention. Job satisfaction is not only dependent on salary, but the engagement of an individual within the business, it makes it worthwhile for the employee to stay. This is the moment where the leader needs to act and motivate the individual, and build the right relationship to create a stable team. The challenge for the manager or supervisor is to understand, how each individual can be encouraged and make them enjoy and complete their daily tasks and come back the next day feeling to be part of the team.
We have changed the attitude towards training, but still, the importance of training needs to be more recognized. A well-trained staff is an asset for any business, this starts with training the line manager and supervisor to understand the changing labour market.
Line managers are often put in charge of training, many have not received any training themselves or don’t know, how to train or coach. Those missing basics can have a huge impact on retention. The cost to train a new employee in these first few days is minimum, compared to letting them work by themselves and leave within a short time, as they are not satisfied with themselves or the job. Both can have an impact on a person and their well-being.
Creating a good on-boarding is vital for retention, the success of the staff and the business. Proper induction is not just for general labour, but also for management and should be a common procedure in any business.
Ross O’Neill Managing Director at Workbly, recently explained in his presentation at the Hospitality EXPO, “50% of new employees leave within the first 12 months and the main reason being the skill gap within the line managers”.
The importance of the line manager or supervisor, in retaining the employee should not be underestimated. Those people work daily with the team and influence their well-being, behaviour and decisions. They represent and live the thought and vision of the company. If there is a negative attitude shown by leader, immediately it is taken on by team.
During the on boarding process, the people and culture department will show all the positives and advantages of working for the company and may speak about the company’s goals and values. The moment that the employee leaves the induction training and joins the team, it is essential that the line managers are aligned and the induction continues with a clear consistent message, if it doesn’t happen and the induction process is inadequate, we start to lose the employee.
These points may sound simple and achievable, the question is, are they being done? Those who implement them correctly will inevitably have some staff turnover, but is it more manageable and to a lesser extent?
Written by Otmar Wullich of Choice People.