Employees are considered to be the most valuable asset of the organization. They are the people with skills, knowledge, and experience that bring value to the business. Hence, the crisis in the shortage of staff would be an issue for hotel businesses and could affect the revenue too.
Let me share some of the ways that could help hotels to handle the shortage of staff effectively.
Know the reason and act on the feedback
As the hotel manager or hotel owner, you should know what are the reasons your staff is signing off. Is it because of the pay? Is it because of the management style? Or is it because they can’t cope with the task given?
They are a few ways to know about the reason why staff leaving their current job that I think I should highlight here:
- Conduct an exit interview to better understand the reason
- Conduct quarterly or semi-annually surveys. If possible make the feedback anonymously so the staff will give honest feedback and management can take action to reduce the turnover rate
- Conduct one-to-one meeting sessions at least once a month to engage the staff and better determine the job satisfaction and discuss what action should be taken to avoid more staff resign
Offer opportunities for career development
Whether to attract new employees or to retain the current employees, it is important to highlight the opportunities for career development in the hotel. Let them know that they are not going to be stuck doing the same thing forever. There will be a career advancement opportunity if they achieve certain targets, complete certain training, etc so they are aware of the chances to level up their profiles.
Provide benefits to retain the current talent and attract new hire
Shortage of staff can be a critical issue. While you do not want it to become worse, then you have to find a way to retain the current employees that you have now. Other than a yearly bonus, salary increment, one of the ways is considered to provide perks and benefits for long-service employees.
Hotels also need to be more creative to ensure that a workplace is an attractive place for them to work for example offering flexible working hours (applicable only to certain departments I guess), having a good working culture, providing free meals, or even encouraging guests to give tips to the hotel staff by providing QR code, etc.
Invest in technologies to alleviate work where possible
Other than putting more budget on the hiring process as well as maintaining the staff, the hotel should consider investing in technology that helps in maximizing operational efficiencies while dealing with the shortage of staff.
Everyone should agree that technology has made our life easier. That applies to the hotel businesses as well. Below are some suggestions that I think will be a lifesaver.
- Technology Integration also helps in removing manual daily tasks. For example, you may consider using auto-reply on WhatsApp or Facebook like other businesses have started to use now. Imagine you list all the important information that they might need, for example, Book Online Link, Hotel Cancellation Policy Link, Extra Breakfast Charges, and all those other important information. You don’t really need staff to entertain the customer chat inquiries. All can be done by char robot.
The same goes for a customer who wants to make the payment for a room booking. Simply get the hotel booking engine that integrates with a payment gateway to collect online payment and the guests can receive the confirmation booking on the spot, upon making payment.
- Hotel SelfService Kiosk enables self-check-in and check-out without the need to queue in front of the hotel front desk counter. Hence, the hotel can still operate 24/7 without the hotel front desk staff. In fact, it helps to reduce the operational costs as well as give the opportunity to the hotel to increase revenue by allowing upsell.
- Hotel Management technologies like Property Management System (PMS) and Channel Manager exist to facilitate the hotels' day-to-day operations. Manual tasks can be eliminated, and the rates & availability of your rooms can be updated across all OTAs channels without your need to log in to each of the OTAs dashboards. Many hotel management systems offer cloud-based systems and work on multiple devices. So you don’t have to worry if you are out of the office since it is possible for you to use it anywhere with internet access.
When you don’t have enough staff, while hiring can be costly and can take a longer time, you will need to invest in technology. That makes you gain a competitive edge over other hotel businesses. Below is the video about Unmanned Hotel Solution.
Ultimately, there are no shortcuts nor easy solutions to solve the shortage of staff issue nowadays. But I believe my above 4 points would give you some ideas.