Hospitality managers know they are in a highly competitive sector. After all, with the touch of a few keystrokes, potential customers will decide to either visit a property or choose another. How can companies in this industry maintain a competitive edge?
Hotel news site 4hoteliers.com lists “achieve operational excellence” as one of four keys to a competitive hospitality strategy. They go on to explain, “Satisfactory service is not good enough with today’s fickle consumer; great service is now required, so providing ‘unanticipated’ or ‘wow’ service is a must".
With that said, no other industry relies more heavily on its staff to set it apart from other competitors. And no other factor contributes to employee satisfaction more than an effective benefits package. In fact, 76 percent of employees say they’d be at least somewhat likely to accept a job with a more robust benefits package, but lower compensation. So how can your firm craft a benefits package that attracts top talent and retains it?
Consider these three tips:
(Editors Note - this blog post is an excerpt from our recently published white paper on the same topic. You can download a FREE copy of that white paper simply by clicking here.)
1. Research and Benchmark
Designing a great benefits package requires effort and digging. It's important to research industry best practices and survey your own employees. Create a strategy for departing employees that asks why they are leaving and coaxes the real, underlying reasons.
A 2014 statistical survey of hotel employees found that only 4.4 percent of hotel hourly employees stayed with their employers for ten years or more. Find out why your employees are leaving, and work to combat those reasons. Additionally, benchmark benefits packages by researching your direct competitors, as well as other companies outside your industry yet in the same region.
2. Get Creative
Benefits are about much more than health insurance and retirement plans, especially with today's millennial generation. A study from Ernst & Young found “millennials are the most likely generation to change jobs or careers, pass up promotion opportunities, move their family to another place, or take a pay cut to have flexibility and better manage work and family life.”
Design a benefits package that offers flexible schedules, personal leave days, a mentoring program, or tuition reimbursement—all benefits that appeal to this demographic - and show that you care about their quality of life and future advancement.
One study from Atenga Inc. found that 67 percent more millennials than baby boomers reported that “having a great mentor” at work was important. A mentoring program helps employees feel like the firm has invested in their future development. The result is a loyal employee who will think twice before jumping ship when a slightly better offer comes along. As noted, benchmarking will give you an idea of what's offered and how much you need to raise the bar to attract top talent and retain it.
3. Use Challenges to Your Advantage
The hospitality industry faces unique challenges, including managing a multicultural workforce, language barriers, jurisdictional obstacles, seasonal visitors and temporary employees, a variety of management cultures and structures, and legislative challenges—especially when it comes to health care. Turn these challenges into opportunities to show that your organization is sensitive to the needs of your workforce.
For example, at a time when many firms are cutting back on health benefits, Marriott International offers health care coverage to its part-time staff, even though they are not required under new healthcare legislation. Offering part-time benefits certainly appeals to the millennial generation that is trying to balance family and work, as well as those trying to go back to school and work part-time. If it's cost-prohibitive to offer part-time health coverage, consider other options, such as life, accident, critical illness, or wellness plans. Going beyond the legislative requirement for health coverage might be the factor that sets you apart from your competitors while pushing top talent your way.
Employee benefits are critically linked to happy, engaged employees. In turn, happy employees generate superior customer service, contributing to the company's overall operational excellence and competitive edge. Don't risk losing your top talent. Read more about effective recruitment and retention techniques in hospitality by downloading our latest white paper on the topic, or contact us to learn more.