By Cole Mandl
While the global hospitality industry is expanding rapidly, it is a difficult time for businesses to recruit and retain staff after a distinct labor shortage post-pandemic. About 3 of every 50 people employed in the restaurant industry quit during March 2022 according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figures suggest that hospitality’s key labor challenge is hiring effectively, and to focus on employee retention.
So, with companies being forced into a fierce competition to find and retain the best talent, it is imperative organizations revise their current strategies to attract, manage and retain their growing workforces.
As millennials account for 50% of the job market, hospitality firms need to prioritize attracting and retaining this dynamic, young workforce. This presents a unique challenge: how do businesses engage a more diverse talent pool to appeal to millennial workers?
Millennials differ from previous generations in their priorities and expectations. Compared to previous generations, Millennials place greater importance on receiving regular feedback, rapid career progression, maintaining a good work-life balance and having a larger range of career experiences.
Here is my advice to businesses on where to start when it comes to attracting, integrating and managing the Millennial workforce in hospitality.
Harness the power of technology
To create an environment that is more efficient and allows your employees to focus on delivering the best customer experience, use technology to automate some tasks. Using technologies like online booking, automated check-in and check-out, ordering and payment apps and self-serve kiosks can be a great way to improve processes and allow staff to focus on what they are really passionate about—delivering great customer service.
Implementing these processes can also alleviate issues that may arise from staff shortages and make the working environment less stressful.
Using technology is also a fantastic way to attract millennial talent. So when you’re recruiting, consider using less traditional methods. Instead, integrate platforms this generation is most familiar with into the recruitment process. This will widen the scope and allow businesses to attract a larger number of people to apply.
Provide opportunities for personal development
Compared to previous generations, Millennials want fair pay and personal satisfaction more than ever before, according to the Forbes Millennial Report. As part of this, personal development is an incredibly important pillar of a good workplace, so offering relevant opportunities can help reduce turnover and staff shortages.
Companies that give their employees space for growth satisfy this Millennial urge while supporting the development of stronger and more talented teams—a critical asset to any successful business. To expedite this, offer your employees discounted online courses and the chance to attend training workshops.
Providing opportunities for growth through mentorship programs can also be a great way for Millennials to learn from older, more experienced employees and vice versa. This also helps ensure succession planning and a leadership pipeline; if trained in advance of someone leaving, you’ll have employees ready to step up and take on new roles, rather than scrambling yet again to fill open positions.
A critical part of personal development is also providing regular constructive feedback. To do this, make sure you are offering frequent evaluations and rewards based on the performance, rather than waiting for annual reviews.
Focus on community and culture
While Millennials have a reputation for high turnover rates, it’s much less likely they will leave a company if you offer a strong sense of community and culture. It’s vital to provide an environment that focuses on building community and engaging employees long-term across all generations.
More than ever, Millennials value teamwork, collaboration and social opportunities within the workplace. While cutting-edge technology and interactive happy hours are a part of this, it’s important to not think these things alone will keep your employees engaged and satisfied. Just as important is the ability to share new ideas, provide solutions and be heard at work. Therefore, it should be an essential part of company culture to encourage workers to tap into their connectivity and engage at a high level.
Understanding what Millennials really want
Overall, it’s critical to understand what millennials really want and expect from their employer. While we’ve touched on personal development and company culture, there are several overarching themes to keep in mind.
For one, allow for ample career progression. For Millennials to stay interested, they need to have a path and framework for advancement. In turn, they’ll use the personal development opportunities you provide them with to do this.
Secondly, offer flexibility. Yes, having perks at the workplace is great, but Millennials value work-life balance, so working somewhere that allows them to have flexibility will be a big part of retaining staff.
Lastly, provide your workers with opportunities to give back. Millennials want a sense of purpose in their career and often look for companies that prioritise and value giving back to their communities. Having the chance to do this through an employer is a major plus, and will deeply benefit your organisation.
Cole Mandl is head of North American sales at Evotix, a leader in EHS software solutions.
This is a contributed piece to Hotel Business, authored by an industry professional. The thoughts expressed are the perspective of the bylined individual.