Labor Shortage Crisis? Here are 5 Ways to Transform Your Workforce for a Better 2022 and Beyond

Simon Sinek once said, “Corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything for better or for worse.” To this effect, countless organizations across various industries find themselves obsessing over even the minute details of their corporate culture. From Google-esque workplaces to flexible working formats, brands are constantly trying to set themselves apart from their competitors with respect to the employee experience they offer. Attracting the right talent and, more importantly, holding on to that talent is a top-tier priority; after all, high staff turnover is a costly problem that directly impacts a company’s bottom line and operational efficiency and performance.

When we look to the hospitality industry, however, we are not met with any traditional corporate workplace. The working environment offered to hospitality staff is a bustling lobby, sprawling grounds, pristine amenities, and a 24/7 demand for exceptional guest service. The list of expectations served up by incoming travelers is ever-evolving, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent demand placed on hotel staff is a tall order. Hospitality has, historically, grappled with a staff turnover rate that far exceeds that experienced by any other industry.

As we head into 2022, that dilemma derives even more weight, as hotels around the world find themselves increasingly short-staffed or unable to hire back staff furloughed during the pandemic. And in fact, the labor shortage problem isn’t’ exclusive to hospitality; rather, it’s permeating across industries. As reported in a recent Forbes article, “Workers aren’t just quitting; they’re rethinking what they want out of work—and shifting their expectations about professional life.” This phenomenon has even been assigned a name: The Great Resignation. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that many hospitality workers are switching jobs or industries searching for better opportunities. To this effect, Joblist’s most recent quarterly U.S. Job Market Report revealed that 58% of hospitality workers say that they are planning to quit their jobs before the end of 2021. Moreover, 24% said they would not have quit their last job if the pandemic had not occurred, and 25% of former hospitality workers report they would not want to work in the industry again.

So, we arrive at the ultimate question: What needs to change? How does this non-traditional workplace need to transform to prevent a mass exodus of key talent? If hiring and maintaining staff is one of the foremost challenges faced by hoteliers heading into the new year, what tools and practices should they put in place to transform the hospitality workforce in a meaningful way?

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 5 tips for transforming the hospitality workforce in 2022 and beyond.

1. Make Healthy + Safety Your #1 Priority

It should come as no surprise that health and safety (for both staff and guests) should top hoteliers’ list of priorities as 2022 arrives on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic. While enhanced cleanliness practices will remain firmly intact and at the forefront of guest consideration when making travel decisions, it’s important to recognize that the overarching approach to safety culture needs to change, as well.

For far too long, hospitality has underestimated the importance of dedicated safety protocols and practices that actively advocate for the continued wellbeing of staff and guests. Hospitality work is, after all, often isolated and laborious, which makes staff increasingly vulnerable to injury or harassment. Now, more than ever before, hoteliers are encouraged to re-evaluate and enhance their staff safety protocols to identify gaps that leave their staff (and guests) at risk while on-property.

2. Invest in Staff Safety Technology

Unfortunately, many hotels still do not have a dedicated staff safety platform. Implementing staff safety buttons such as TraknProtect’s platform that utilizes BLE/Wi-Fi hubs for real-time location data, along with the use of safe areas, can effectively protect employees from customer violence. Using a safety button, staff can easily and discreetly call for help whenever they need assistance or feel that their safety and wellbeing are being threatened.

3. Invest in Staff Safety Training and Emergency Response Procedures

Often, the best way to ensure staff safety is simply to have a plan in the event of an emergency. Unfortunately, many hotels still neglect safety training, especially specific staff emergencies (isolated injury or harassment) and human trafficking prevention and reporting, an ongoing issue across our industry.

To this effect, there is a great deal of confusion surrounding the proper response to an emergency, which can be remedied by investing in comprehensive staff safety training and human trafficking identification and response procedure training. Do staff members know where to find support in the event of an incident? Do they understand the appropriate reporting process? Are they trained to identify signs of human trafficking? These questions should inform your safety infrastructure and safety training programs.

Hoteliers can effectively create a safety ecosystem that empowers a truly positive workplace culture with the right safety platform, education, and resources. After all, a team that feels safe, secure, and supported while performing their duties is more likely to feel satisfied with their work and serve guests effectively.

4. Offer Career Development Opportunities

It’s no secret – the pandemic created an opportunity for workers across industries to reevaluate their professional trajectory and, in many cases, consider a different direction moving forward. Hospitality is no exception, and hoteliers must consider what career development opportunities might be missing in the eyes of current and prospective employees.

Now, more than ever, employees are searching for roles that offer high wages, flexible working formats, and continued growth and career development opportunities. Hoteliers, ask yourself, what mentorship and networking opportunities do you offer to help staff develop critical skills that can pave the way to future leadership opportunities and long-term success? How do you invest in your staff’s continued personal and professional development to ensure they envision a future with your hospitality brand? Career development opportunities will be a significant caveat for incoming talent in the coming years.

5. Focus on Employee Wellness

Many employees are actively seeking out job opportunities that offer a consistent paycheck and take into account their staff’s mental and physical health. A dedicated focus on employee wellness is emerging across industries, and hospitality should be no exception to this effect. Much like considering staff health and safety, hospitality brands should adopt a more holistic view of their staff’s experience and needs when creating wellness-focused benefit offerings and a workplace culture where employees feel empowered to do their best, most meaningful work.

Through no fault of their own, hoteliers still face an uphill battle when it comes to employee attraction and retention. The pandemic has highlighted some shortfalls, and that means that hoteliers need to ensure they make up for the months of furlough and uncertainty by focusing on re-establishing employee security, well-being, and confidence for a successful year ahead.

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Article Source: – Written By: Parminder Batra. After starting her legal career with some of the top legal firms such as Baker McKenzie and Lang Michener, entrepreneur, lawyer and mediator, Parminder Batra, relocated from Toronto to Chicago, where she co-founded TraknProtect with the mission of creating and supporting a safer, cleaner and more efficient hospitality environment for all stakeholders.