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3 Surefire Ways To Manage, Motivate & Retain Hotel Employees: Patrick Van Der Mijl, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Speakap

JodyP 15 March 2019
3 Surefire Ways To Manage, Motivate & Retain Hotel Employees: Patrick Van Der Mijl, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Speakap

For someone like me, who travels a lot internationally for work (and for pleasure), hotels make my life so much easier and productive. But for hotel employees, it’s a very different story. The work shifts can sometimes be long and tiring. This is backed up by a Deputy survey, which asked hotel employees from Great Britain what would make them less likely to leave the industry. The answers were eye-opening. Over half (55 percent) said more control over work life and shift patterns, 42 percent said better career prospects and 32 percent said more transparency from employers regarding shifts/scheduling.

The problems are clear and impossible to ignore. But what can hotel groups – and their HR/operations teams – do to keep their hotel staff motivated, happier and less likely to leave their jobs? Here’s the honest truth: it will take time; it will take a multi-pronged approach and it will require the help of technology.

Give hotel employees more control over their work life

Remember how the Deputy survey I cited above said 55 percent of hotel employees would be less likely to leave the industry (and their roles) if they had more control over work life and shift patterns? Well, I would urge every hotel group to pay close attention to those insights. While we know you can’t always control the types of shifts every employee gets, there is one thing you can control that your hotel employees actually want – better work- life balance.

For one, you could enforce a company-wide ban on sending emails outside of working hours (i.e. when employees are off shifts). A lot of companies in other industries have already taken this approach. Take Volkswagen, for example. The European car maker didn’t just create a company policy about this. It even stopped its servers from sending emails to some of its employees when they are off shift. This is an excellent example of listening to what employees need (to be happier, more motivated and more loyal as an employee). And it’s also good business for hotels themselves, especially if your business is located in a country like France and Germany where ‘right to disconnect’ and ‘anti-stress’ laws are either already in place, or will soon be enforced.

This is where using an employee communications platform with a built-in Do Not Disturb feature can be of tremendous value – and give your hotel employees more of that control they so desperately want and need. By giving them a dedicated communications tool with the feature already built into it, hotel groups can show (not just tell) their employees that they proactively encourage them to disconnect when they’re off shift. It also sends a powerful message to the hotel staff. It says, ‘We care about your needs, even after you swipe out/clock out and go home for the day. We don’t want or expect you to answer our messages when it’s your personal time.’ As a hotel employee, this could mean the difference between handing in their notice and staying loyal.

Peel away the bureaucratic layers and communicate more transparently

Why would transparency be useful in managing, motivating and retaining hotel employees? Well, for starters, it could make hotel employees, who might be employed part-time and don’t necessarily have a direct connection to management, feel more connected to the company’s. mission, values and larger group of employees. It could also peel away some of the more traditional layers of bureaucracy and help those part-time employees forge digital bonds with colleagues, teams and even management within the hotel group.

You also have to remember that a large portion of hotel employees are young in age. This means they expect the methods and tools for communications to be socially engaging, intuitive and similar to other tools/apps they use in their daily lives. So if you use a communications platform with a similar user experience, but one that’s more secure and less prone to data privacy risks (cue Facebook’s many data breaches), they’ll become more inclined to share more information with their colleagues, comment and engage with content from fellow colleagues and interact in more private messages with targeted groups and teams. This is a win-win situation.

Help them rediscover (and communicate) the fun in their work

We actually have a saying at my company and it goes like this: “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.” I personally love this and think it applies to every employee. While many HR and employee experience managers may not view or classify ‘fun’ as a priority, I disagree vehemently. With hotels, in particular, the entire experience of staying at a hotel comes down to fun. So why shouldn’t hotel employees get just as much fun out of their employee experience as hotel guests do?

Fun can be derived from so many different sources and in so many ways. For hotel employees, one way to rediscover the fun is by posting and sharing photos and videos taken behind the scenes that capture personal bonds with repeat hotel guests, special experiences curated for VIP guests and staff bonding moments. If hotel staff have a single employee communications platform where they can post, share, comment and even like all of the fun stories, photos and videos from fellow colleagues and other hotel branches, the fun can be further amplified.