Did you know that employee turnover in the hospitality industry is 15% higher than the national average? When it costs an average of £75 for each casual worker you add to your team, the costs can quickly add up. Here’s how to avoid that situation and help your people develop long-term careers by rethinking your approach to the employee experience (EX) for casual workers.
How can the hospitality industry improve its image among workers?
I attended the UKHospitality Summer Conference and was heartened to see just how many companies are trying to deliver a better experience to frontline workers. Senior leaders repeatedly returned to a common theme: how do we make hospitality an attractive, desirable career choice?
The UK hospitality sector doesn’t have an issue with appealing to workers. After all, it employs 10% of the nation’s entire workforce. However, the current challenge is that the sector isn’t as good at retaining employees as it could be – hence the focus on creating better employee experiences. Fortunately, everyone I spoke to at the conference is determined to improve the situation. They genuinely want to do better at attracting, employing and retaining the best staff.
Now the challenge for company leaders is working out how to follow through on that aspiration and make hospitality an employer of choice. The best advice I could share with them was to ‘look after your frontline workers properly and they’ll look after your business.’
How hospitality companies can improve their employee experience
There are two reasons why I tell business leaders to focus on the frontline. Often, so much focus is put on salaried staff; but you need to think about your frontline workers in equal terms. It’s important to retain talent across your entire business – especially when it comes to the people who usually build the closest relationships with your customers.
Secondly, it’s essential for hospitality leaders to understand that engagement is about building sustainable and rewarding relationships, while employee experience is the holistic input and driver to this. Building a positive and lasting relationship with your frontline workforce is about far more than a catchy employment brand.
It’s also about how work fits into their lives – how you help empower staff to manage their hours and juggle their shifts. Sometimes, it’s just simple personal interactions that make all the difference. On average, people receive thanks for a good job every four and a half months. We can all understand where this comes from, given workloads and workforce sizes, but even small positive actions can have a major impact on the overall experience. Technology today makes it easy and efficient to deliver personal touch at scale.
Are you asking the right questions about your casual workers?
When it comes to the employee experience for casual workers, I believe it’s vital to keep asking yourself tough questions. Do they feel connected to you as an employer? Do they care about your company?
If the answer to these questions is no, it’s time to be honest with yourself. Are your frontline workers truly happy to be there, or are you throwing away your investment by not looking after them properly? In an era of record unemployment, it won’t take long to see the answer in your frontline customer delivery.
Jennie Drimmer, head of commercial, Humanforce