The hotel industry has long been searching for a solution to staff shortages, but technology and automation can only take you so far. We still need to onboard humans and ensure they’re 100% engaged with their roles. But common onboarding mistakes often hold your business back.
Why Does Onboarding Fail?
Hotel staff is among the least engaged staff members in any industry. With a staggeringly high turnover rate of 73.8%, it’s clear that hospitality employees aren’t interested in staying for long.
Seasonality, unsocial working hours, low pay, lack of meaningful work, and a perceived lack of career advancement are largely to blame for hospitality’s churn rate. It also doesn’t help that hotel staff aren’t trained appropriately because managers expect new hires to leave shortly after.
This has led hotels to believe that high turnover is a part of doing business, but that isn’t the case. If hotels can cater to Millenials and Gen Z employees (who value experiences, work-life balance, and social responsibility), they’ll see an uptick in new hires and loyal employees.
5 Signs Your Hotel’s Onboarding Process Isn’t Working
Organizations with strong onboarding training experience an 82% higher retention rate, but how can you tell if your hotel’s onboarding process isn’t working?
Look out for the following 5 signs.
1. Employees Don’t Understand Their Real Value
Our culture has an overall negative attitude towards customer service roles. Hotel staff are seen as entry-level employees that provide little value to society. As a result, they’re treated with hostility by customers and employees, even though we rely on them for society to function.
When you add on low pay, poor training, and unengaged managers, it isn’t hard to see why hotel staff feel as if they’re replaceable. That attitude will come across in everything they do.
During the onboarding process, employees need to understand that they’re an essential part of the team. Prove to employees that working for you will be an awesome experience by offering benefits, such as annual retreats, free hotel stays, wellness days, extra time off, and rewards.
2. New Staff Are Often Confused About What to Do Next
Before your staff’s first day, you should hand them a complete checklist for new hires. However, this checklist shouldn’t just cover necessary tax forms or the employee handbook. It needs to include the entire onboarding process so your staff members are prepared for each step.
In the hotel industry, a lack of structure can cause employees to make several mistakes. If your new hires are asking questions about basic processes they should already know, don’t take it as a sign that they aren’t paying attention. It’s more likely that your process is disorganized.
3. Staff Experiences First-Day Overwhelm, Jitters, or Quitters
It’s normal for staff to be nervous on their first day of work, which is why you should ease new hires into their roles. Unfortunately, the hotel industry is notorious for throwing new hires into the customer service ocean without a liferaft, which affects their mental health and your customers.
Without proper training and onboarding, delays and mix-ups will happen more frequently. As a result, customers leave unhappy, which negatively impacts your hotel’s reputation and ROI.
If new hires experience such turmoil on their first day, they may feel too traumatized to return. While you can’t eliminate turnover in the hospitality industry, you can reduce it significantly by adequately training your employees. Always test preparedness before putting staff on the floor.
4. Brand New Staff Aren’t Asking for Help or Seem Shy
It’s okay for your employees to make mistakes, but if they’re not asking for help or appear shy (despite being personable in the interview), that’s a sign of an onboarding problem. It’s possible that your staff don’t know who to ask or where to go when they aren’t sure what to do.
On the first day, be sure to do a walkthrough of the workplace and introduce them to relevant team members. In the middle of their first day, a manager should take new hires out to lunch and ask how they’re settling in. Be transparent, honest, and inviting to encourage questions.
5. Qualified Staff Aren’t Asking About Career Trajectory
Your career opportunities are virtually limitless in the hospitality industry, but that reality is lost on new employees. Cultural stereotypes definitely participate in this misunderstanding. Still, if managers don’t outline a new hire’s possible career trajectory, it’s only going to get worse.
Hotel managers routinely get promoted to division managers and general managers, or they branch out to other career paths that require managerial skills, such as project managers.
During the first week of onboarding, managers should ask about their employee’s goals. They could then suggest opportunities that suit their needs and current or future skills. For example, if your employee wants to be a spa attendant, suggest moving into that role when they’re ready.