The travel and tourism sector is expected to contribute 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 9.5% of total employment globally by the end of 2015 1. The UK hospitality and tourism industry currently employs approximately 10% of the working population, creating one in five of all new jobs between 2010 and 2015 2.
This is brilliant news that the sector is steadily growing, however, this also poses a big challenge to the businesses’ skills development and retention. According to the recent People 1st report 3 the latest figures ‘conservatively’ indicate that labour turnover at 30% is costing the UK hospitality and tourism sector £274m annually, and this high labour turnover is a driver of skills gaps. So, simply put, if your businesses can retain staff they can improve productivity and profit.
Why do employees leave the industry/organisation?
As the industry employs a significantly high percentage of transient workers (e.g. students and migrants), a level of turnover is unavoidable. However, employees tend to leave their employer when they are not satisfied with their job or working condition. In a recent study Investors in People 4 revealed that the top five reasons for not being happy in job are:
- Poor management
- Not feeling valued as a member of staff
- No career progression
- Not enjoying the work itself.
The same study reveals that job satisfaction is perceived to be more important than pay, followed by feeling valued at work. Therefore, to put it in a very simplistic manner, if a business develops managers well, pays moderately well and gives more performance recognition and development opportunities, employees are more likely to stay.
The new National Living Wage in the UK is probably good news to employees although poses challenges to some employers. In addition, more intrinsic rewards can be provided to employees through training and development – either training managers to develop their management skills so that the level of satisfaction among staff will be improved, or providing training opportunities to staff to develop their skills so that they can do their jobs well (and will hence be more satisfied).
Factors to consider
So, unless you can instantly increase pay to all employees, you may want to consider putting more efforts on developing your managers and staff through providing more training opportunities. You may want to ask your HR manager to design and deliver sessions, hire external training specialists, or send selected staff and managers to a local college or university.
However, when deciding on the implementation strategy, there are six key factors you need to consider:
- Training needs – does your organisation’s culture and climate enable your staff to apply the learned knowledge, skills or attitudes into their jobs after training? Have you analysed your staff’s jobs and tasks, taking into considerations what they should/will be doing in future?
- Training conditions – who are the trainees and what can they do already? What motivates them to developing their skills through training? How can you prepare the training so that the learning experience is maximised?
- Individual characteristics – how good are the trainees at learning? How confident are they prior to training? Do they want to master the skills, or just want to receive a good performance review? These all impact on the design of the training programme and its effectiveness. You may even want to train them to develop a general confidence first!
- Training motivation – how motivated are they, both to be trained and to apply the learnt skills/knowledge in their jobs? This is also influenced by the individual characteristics and organisational climate.
- Training induction and pre-training environment – how are they invited to the training, and what activities/events have taken place before the training? Is the training perceived as a development opportunity or ‘offenders course’? What are the trainees’ previous experiences with training?
- Pre-practice conditions – how can trainees practice the learnt skills and knowledge after the training, bearing in mind that ‘practice’ can be more complex than just a repetition of tasks?
By carefully auditing the organisational culture and climate, resources (time, money and people) and profile of your employees, you would be able to identify the best possible options for training, which in turn should increase performance and retention in a long term.
After identifying the training needs within your organisation keep your eyes peeled as my next article will discuss various tactics you can employ to train staff on a low budget, after which the final article in this series will investigate how to evaluate the effectiveness of your staff training sessions.
About the author
Yukari Iguchi is the Academic Lead, Hospitality and Leisure at the University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL). Yukari has worked in various sectors within the hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants, bars and theme parks in Japan, Switzerland and the UK.
Since 2012 Yukari joined UDOL to share her knowledge of the hospitality sector with others. During her academic career Yukari also performed a range of roles including Programme Leader for undergraduate hospitality programmes, International Student Coordinator, International Collaborative Project Manager, and Online and Distance Learning Coordinator.
For more information about UDOL, go to: www.derby.ac.uk/online/home-page