How do hospitality businesses retain staff?

The hospitality industry relies more on its front line staff than most businesses. As an industry sector begins to grow, skill shortages occur. There has been growth in the hospitality sector in the last 9 months and that makes your staff retention an area to be focused on. There is a threat to the business If you don’t retain staff but likewise motivated staff can be a real opportunity to a business. Staff require regular training and feedback to enable them to continue to improve and in some cases to keep up with the competition.


In a recent study it was found that only 41% of businesses surveyed had actually provided training in the last 12months (taken from State of the Nation 2013 report). In addition to this, the same survey it was found that 21% of hospitality business said was a skills shortage. Skills shortages can create higher rates of pay as staff look to get more for their skills. Not all businesses can afford to pay staff more to keep them, so they need to have their staff fully behind the business vision, mission and values. It is important to get staff feedback on what works well and what could be improved. Involve staff in processes and they will be much more likely to buy into change and increased standards of customer service.


There are other ways to incentivise staff other than pay rises. Flexible working – different shift patterns to the norm, discounts for friends and family, flexible benefits such as child care vouchers, pensions, private medical and bonuses dependant on group performance. To recruit a member of staff can be much more expensive than to provide flexible benefits to those staff you need to retain. By including bonuses based on overall profitability of cost centres or the business of the whole can be a win win situation!


Finally, coming to all hospitality businesses is Auto enrolment. Some larger organisations are actually opting to start the process early to show staff that they are committed to helping them long term. The up take from hospitality staff has been far greater than initially thought. Therefore, it might be worth considering early adoption to show staff you are looking out for their long term future.

For more information on this topic, please contact Judith Dugdale.