6 Reasons Why Retaining Service Staff Is Hard | Fora Financial Blog
6 Reasons Why Finding and Retaining Service Staff Is Hard
February 21, 2018

6 Reasons Why Finding and Retaining Service Staff Is Hard

The world of hospitality can be rewarding. It is an industry that is a renowned economic driver; the atmosphere is friendly and vibrant, it’s creative and opens doors — and it’s ultimately all about putting smiles on the faces of customers.

Still, even with its rewards, success doesn’t come easily. In fact, it’s an industry known for long hours and strenuous work.

To become successful, individuals running hospitality businesses are responsible for keeping up with a rapidly changing marketplace, competing with rivals, and making a profit with serious overheads – just to name a few of their obligations.

Even with those challenges in mind, a top issue that hospitality business owners face is employee turnover. For the second consecutive year, hospitality turnover rates reached a whopping 70 percent. Not only does employee turnover affect productivity and sales, but it can also be challenging to recruit new employees, and then take the time to train them.

In this post, we’ll explain why exceptional service staff is scarce, and review reasons that hospitality can be a challenging industry to work in. By identifying these factors, you can improve your recruitment process, and ensure that you’re doing your best to retain valuable employees.

1. The Fast Pace

The fast-paced setting that the hospitality industry brings can be exciting, but it isn’t for everyone!

Hospitality jobs are fulfilling for some people, but it might not be the right career path for an individual who enjoys sedentary work. Employees in hospitality roles are often on-the-go, and stress levels can run high. Due to this, you might find that some employees are unable to handle the active, unpredictable environment.

To combat this, try to recruit employees who have experience in the hospitality industry. If they have already worked in a service role, they’ll likely be prepared to handle the busy day-to-day conditions that they’ll be expected to handle.

2. The Required Skills

There is a perception that anyone can do a hospitality job. Although there are plenty of diverse roles available, not everyone will possess certain qualities that are needed. For instance, most hospitality jobs require customer service skills – so a “people person” will often thrive more than someone who is quiet, or gets agitated by customer complaints.

In addition, some positions will require a specific degree in areas such as Business, Hospitality Management, Tourism, or Hotel and Restaurant Management, just to name a few. Due to this, you might find it challenging to recruit employees who have the required degrees, or basic skills needed to perform effectively.

When hiring new service staff members, ask questions that will reveal their skill sets. If it is evident that they have the necessary educational background or prerequisites, they’ll be more likely to flourish than someone who doesn’t.

3. The Hours

Professionals looking for a typical 9 to 5 weekday job likely won’t enjoy working in the hospitality industry. Often, hospitality employees are expected to work weekend shifts, or other shifts that may not be conducive to their desired lifestyle. You may find that employees become burned out after working in the hospitality industry, causing their performance to decline, or making them want to seek work in a different industry.

To avoid employee turnover, clearly explain the typical hours to your candidates. Let them know the schedules that they can expect. This way, if they are uninterested, you won’t waste any time or resources in hiring them. In addition, to lessen employee burnout, try to make schedules as fair as possible. Don’t schedule employees who worked a closing shift for opening hours the next day, and try to limit the amount of weekend shifts each employee works. By making schedules balanced, you’ll lessen the number of employees who decide the hospitality industry isn’t for them.

4. The Mindset

Growing up, we’re taught that you should stand up for what you believe in. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case in the hospitality industry, in which the ‘customer is always right’ mentality is maintained. Due to this, some employees find it draining to constantly have this attitude, essentially when dealing with difficult customers.

To help your employees handle frustrating situations, give them the tools they need to succeed. Provide them with thorough training, and teach them the value of customer service. If they understand that the “customer is always right” mindset is for the greater good of the business, they’ll have an easier time navigating irritating interactions.

5. The Competition

Competition is high amongst hospitality businesses. While you might think that this will only affect your sales, it can also affect employee recruitment and retention. With many hospitality companies to choose from, it makes it fairly easy for employees to hop to a new job if they feel unsatisfied in their current role. Due to this, it is pivotal that you create a healthy, happy work environment that offers paths for career development.

The fact that staff can hop between jobs so readily puts the onus on hospitality managers to up their game and create environments that their people will want to work in and see as a path for career development. To lower turnover, we suggest perfecting your hiring and managing processes, so that you can keep your valued employees loyal to your company.

6. The Temporary Staff

Like it or not, some people view service jobs as ‘stopgap’ employment.

Students often take service jobs during the summer or holiday breaks to make pocket money. Although having the extra help can be beneficial, it can be challenging to train new employees, only to have them leave weeks or months later.

When hiring, you’ll need to decide how many temporary employees you want to hire. Having a few could be helpful, but you shouldn’t have most of your staff be short-term employees. This will put you in a bind later, in which you’ll need to quickly fill these positions, and train their replacements.

Find Service Staff that Sticks

As you can see, great service staff can be crucial to the success of a hospitality business. The downsides to the hospitality industry mentioned in this post can make it challenging to recruit and retain high quality employees, but it isn’t impossible. By creating attractive, future-oriented structures that reward loyalty, allow for employee engagement and innovation, and provide helpful training, you can make your business a great place to work!

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Danielle Ryans is a freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. She loves that writing allows her to explore new topics and ideas, and is interested in business, travel, health, food and lifestyle.