6 reasons hospitality employees leave and contribute to high turnover
As a hotel or restaurant hiring manager, you’re very familiar with employee turnover. Not only do existing employees reduce productivity and affect guest service in a variety of ways, replacing them usually requires a significant investment of resources. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks voluntary separations—also known as quits—each month as a percentage of total employment. In April, the quit rate for the leisure and hospitality industry was 4.1 percent. This was an increase over April 2015’s quits rate of 3.5 percent. Quits are even higher within the accommodations and food service segment of the industry: 4.3 percent this April compared to 3.7 percent 12 months prior.
What can you do about it? The answer often depends on why your hospitality professionals are choosing to leave their jobs. Identifying the most common cause (or causes) at your establishment—through tools such as exit interviews—will enable you to get to the root of any turnover problem. The results of a survey of 400 U.S. employees by TINYpulse, an employment engagement firm, recently suggested several major reasons employees quit. These included burnout (31 percent), micromanagement (28 percent) and poor work culture (15 percent).
A lack of employee development opportunities also plays a role. According to the survey respondents, professional development options increase the likelihood they’ll remain with their current employer by 10 percent. Mentorship programs, continuing education, cross-training and promoting from within will all show hospitality professionals that you care about their future in the industry and with your company.
Let’s take a look at a few other common reasons hospitality employees may leave their jobs. Some you may be able to address while others are truly out of your hands.
1. Reason: They don’t like their boss or supervisor
If your department managers and supervisors fail to provide clear direction to their teams, don’t communicate consistently, disregard ideas and concerns, or behave in a dismissive or derogatory manner towards the professionals beneath them, it’s likely you’ll have a turnover problem. Making sure your leadership team’s soft skills are as stellar as their hard business skills can go a long way towards alleviating it.
2. Reason: The job is a bad fit
Maybe he thought they’d love being a front desk associate and found out he actually despises it. Perhaps she believed she was ready for a full-time kitchen position but has now found part-time hours are more her style. Whatever the reason, some employees discover they just aren’t cut out for whatever job they’ve accepted. Make sure your interview process is thorough and be forthcoming with information about the job, it’s duties and the demands they may place on the applicant.
3. Reason: They hate the commute
You can’t determine where a current employee chooses to live. You can, however, source your applicants from a particular geographic area to reduce commute time. And if you’re looking farther afield for new hires, you can ask how they feel about commuting during the interview to make sure they’re considering the length of their drive, bus, train or subway ride.
4. Reason: They can make more elsewhere
Money may not be everything, but you can bet employees consider it when deciding whether to accept another job offer. Periodically review what similarly sized restaurants or hotels in your area are paying and offer competitive wages. If you can’t afford higher salaries, take a look at enhancing your benefits. Schedule flexibility—though tough in the hospitality industry—is highly valued by many professionals. Workplace wellness programs can increase employee engagement and be quite inexpensive. Talk to your benefits advisor about other options.
5. Reason: They don’t get along with their coworkers
No one wants to be bullied, harassed or otherwise mistreated at work. If an employee feels like he is an outcast or the focus of continuous negative interaction, it’s highly likely he’ll decide to leave. Make sure you have policies in place that address these issues and encourage your hospitality team to report any problems they’re having with their coworkers so they can be dealt with appropriately.
6. Reason: They don’t feel appreciated
Though running a hotel or restaurant can be a demanding, consuming job, make time to show your employees some appreciation whenever possible. If their accomplishments are never acknowledged and thanks are rarely given, they may decide to move on to more fertile pastures.