This year has been one challenge after another for hospitality businesses. The pandemic alone has cost people their job, security, and their overall professional satisfaction, so it’s natural to see business leaders blaming the crisis for the lack of employee morale.
However, a persisting state of feeling unmotivated and unhappy is not uncommon among hospitality workers. In businesses where there isn’t a well-defined culture, no significant benefits to speak of, or educational programs for employees, staff members can feel less than eager to get up on Mondays and head to work.
In addition to investing in employee engagement opportunities, team-building sessions, and creative communication options, business owners in hospitality need to think of the big picture too: are your employees genuinely happy?
In today’s blog post, Emma Worden shares with you some insightful hospitality tips to keep your staff happy and motivated.
If you’re wondering why on Earth you need to pay attention to employee happiness and satisfaction, let the numbers do the talking. According to research, happy employees can lead to a 12% increase in profitability in hotels, and 24% less turnover. Fewer hiring and onboarding rounds for the same position alone are enough to keep your budget steady.
Here are a few hospitality tips your business can implement quickly to elevate employees’ happiness over time.
Investigate your company culture
Too many business owners in hospitality stay focused on customer satisfaction, instead of developing their internal culture that fosters employee satisfaction. Company culture in hospitality contributes to better customer experience, but it also serves to improve brand consistency, reduce employee turnover, and help everyone work towards the same goal.
It’s important to analyze your company culture and see if it needs work. Do your employees openly share ideas? Is there team cohesion in your business? Does everyone share your core values? How do your employees feel about your work environment?
Do some research, check in on your culture regularly. You’d be surprised how many hotels and restaurants could use a culture revamp.
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Encourage collaboration, not competition
In hospitality, every employee should work seamlessly and like clockwork for the end service to be superb. If a single employee is unhappy and feeling unappreciated, they will represent your brand in the same spirit. If employees are pushed to focus on “defeating” each other as if their work is graded on comparison – they will likely forget about the customer and focus on being “better than”.
Here’s a great hospitality tip: hospitality businesses should lean towards a collaborative culture. Using tech tools, software, and development programs to help foster collaboration will help you evolve as a business, and it will make your employees happy.
Use analytics to keep track of your progress
Tracking engagement, performance, and employee happiness from different perspectives helps keep your leadership alert and aware. In digitally savvy regions where hospitality leaders have embraced tech to the fullest, such as Australia, businesses constantly analyze data to understand happiness and what it means for employees in their organization.
Leaders understand that analyzing and tracking employee engagement in Australia means leveraging communication tools to improve employee interactions and foster a collaborative culture. This has become an especially helpful approach during the pandemic, with the growing emergence of remote teams even in hospitality. Tracking engagement gives unique insights into how employees are interacting and when they need support so that the entire business can improve its company culture.
Run surveys and conduct research
How can you know what to improve if you don’t ask your employees? Just like customer reviews and ratings for your hotel or restaurant help you provide smarter solutions, employee surveys achieve the same. There’s a steep learning curve to understanding employee happiness, and embracing it allows your business to discover ways to improve.
Set up anonymous surveys to collect unbiased and unbridled employee opinions and suggestions. You could also set up polls to get different views and analyze the benefits of certain solutions. Most of all, talk openly to your staff and encourage them to share what troubles them and what you can do better as their leader. If you’ve done a solid job of creating a culture of transparency, this part of the process should pose no problem.
Provide ongoing support
Caring about employees’ mental health and emotional stability should be one of your priorities. In parts of the world particularly hit by the pandemic, those employers who have put their employees’ wellbeing first have surfaced as the ones who have managed to preserve their success.
As an example in the pandemic-stricken US market, Devils Backbone Brewing Company has heavily invested in providing employee support. Through Zoom-based happy hour sessions, online learning opportunities, setting up a virtual book club, all the way to enhancing employee flexibility, hospitality businesses need to find ways to focus on their employees’ health.
Personalize employee reward systems
Not everyone loves going to the gym or exercising, so you cannot expect all your employees to rejoice at the idea of getting a free pass for the local Zumba class. Generic rewards might not seem as much to a portion of your team, but will be completely off-brand for others – alienating them potentially forever.
Incentives are an extremely effective opportunity to build a bond with individuals that work under your wing. When personalized, they show just how much you listen to their needs and recognize their preferences – and most of all, just how much you respect their authenticity.
Employees will not be happy solely based on getting a free relaxation massage or a chocolate muffin basket. They will, however, recognize and appreciate your effort, and feel like part of the business much more than before. Going that extra mile in these little things matters, because it sets you apart and transforms you from a corporation into a family.
The journey towards employees’ happiness can be a long and arduous one, but only if you let it be. Taking a mindful, personalized approach to your business means taking the customer-facing principles of satisfaction and turning them inwards, to help your employee collective thrive.
When employees feel valued and continuously appreciated in your work environment, with or without a crisis to think of, they will be more loyal to your business and far less likely to leave you when offered an alternative.
Emma is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. She has worked with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many industry-related online publications, is an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog, and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. She is Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.
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