Several weeks ago, I posted a comment on LinkedIn about all the industry people I have seen slowly leaving the hotel business. The post blew up from the large number of people who could identify with it. It’s not just entry-level employees – I know of sales managers, general managers, and career sales people who are leaving the hotel industry in droves. Can we blame them? This year, our industry has had to take aggressive steps to ensure our survival. No one is to blame and it seems the employees who’ve been furloughed, laid-off, or terminated fully understand. There is no animosity, as we’re all in this together. With full recovery not projected until 2023, it will be a long time before we can get this experience back into our industry. So, what can we do now?
We can connect, train, and recruit.
The key to maintaining the future of our workforce is to remain connected. LinkedIn, emails, texts – however you stay in touch with your former employees – you need to continue to do so. Everyone from your HR folks down to department heads need to maintain a network of people you want back. Because you will want them back, probably sooner than you think, as business starts to improve. Let them know you care. Invite them back for a get-together as soon as safely practical. It will be a reminder of how much they like working in our industry. Selling insurance has nothing on booking a wedding or large group or turning a whole house over. The hotel industry is fun!
Don’t be afraid to offer some training sessions to keep their skills sharp. AAHOA, AHLA, Cornell, and National Restaurant Association all offer free or low-cost professional development opportunities. Currently, many states are conducting these trainings at no cost, underwritten by CARES funds. Training keeps current and former employees connected and engaged.
Finally, don’t stop recruiting at any level. Reach out to your nearby university hospitality schools. Be a guest lecturer for their virtual classes. Participate in their career days. These students are our pipeline to the future and have made personal career decisions to work in hospitality. You can bring them into entry-level or mid-level positions while they develop their skills. In today’s world, they are going to be glad to find a position in their chosen field. Don’t turn down interns and summer workers home from college. They could turn into long-term employees someday.
If past travel crises have taught us anything, the recovery will be faster than we think, and hopefully more robust. Let’s face it, supply in the short term is going to drop or be flat, so any demand increase will definitely drive the industry. Those with the strongest network will thrive and be able to take advantage of opportunities to grow their business, because people make up our business and are the heart of the hospitality industry.
Now, go connect!
Top 3 ways to stay connected with your employees
Staying connected is more important now than ever before. As hotels have had to drastically cut staff due to COVID-19, recovery promises the need to rehire and reconnect.
- KEEP IN TOUCH
From a quick text to social media messaging, there are countless ways to connect with your staff. A personal note is a great way to remind employees that you still care and need them.
- DON’T STOP TRAINING
Learning never ends and the same could be true of your staff. AAHOA and other associations offer free or low-cost training opportunities to help keep you and your staff engaged.
- NETWORK TO RECRUIT
Career days and guest lecture opportunities are great ways to keep in touch with local students who could be your staff members soon. From entry- to mid-level positions, students are always looking for career opportunities.