13 tips for improving employee retention in hotels

Finding hospitality talent isn't easy these days. And once you’ve found someone to fill that gap, employee retention is just as (or even more) important. Read on for inspiration on ways to motivate employees and ensure they stay with you for longer.

A motivated and happy team not only ensures a positive work environment in your hotel, but also a huge benefit for the P&L: low turnover leads to lower recruitment costs, lower training costs, lower operational costs, greater stability, higher productivity,  during the first week is vital and a better customer experience.

But what can we do to motivate teams and improve employee retention in your hotel? Take a look at these 13 practical tipis to help you build a committed and happy team.

13 Ways to motivate employees


1. Design an employee journey

In the same way that we have a customer journey, we must also define the different cycles of the employee experience in our hotel. Although onboarding is a crucial phase, it is also crucial to continue engaging the employee beyond the first three weeks. Organising a one-on-one meeting between the manager and the employee is fundamental, but follow-up chats during the first three months are also important. This type of “coffee chat” can is useful for gauging the degree of worker satisfaction, resolving doubts, and identifying possible pain points as soon as possible.

Some brands build specific extra touches into their onboarding programmes, which reduced turnover of new hires by 26% in the first 90 days.

2. Promote employee recognition

We all like to be recognised for our efforts and work. But while recognition from managers is always welcome, employee recognition is both useful and encouraging when it comes from co-workers and clientsThis is known as 360º recognition. Why is this important? Because managers cannot constantly monitor every employee, nor can they be in every customer's experience. So, a platform that allows employees to recognize each other is an excellent solution. It will also create a better working environment in your hotel and strengthen the company culture

3. Make your team feel part of the company's success

Making teams feel that they have contributed to the overall success of the business is key to motivating staff. To this end, it is essential that they understand the company's mission and values, that they receive feedback from customers, etc. In a nutshell, they must feel that their work goes beyond preparing a room or greeting guests at the reception desk. 

4. Communicate objectives to the team

According to Glassdoornot knowing our professional goals is the number one cause of stress at work. So, it’s vital to ensure that each team member has clear objectives to fulfil on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Setting objectives and following up on them will make employees come to work more motivated. The objectives can be related to soft skills (improving teamwork, better stress management, etc.), more technical skills, or related to overall company benefits (increasing the number of bookings, improving customer loyalty, etc.).

5. Introduce a ranking of the most mentioned employees

Another way to motivate employees to increase retention is to create a ranking of the employees who are most cited in reviews left by customers on platforms such as Google, TripAdvisor, etc. 

This also means we’d not only need to encourage guests to leave feedback about our hotel but also about their experience with our team. There are a variety of ways to do this: send them a survey by mail when they check out or conduct a pulse survey onsite. And remember, a bad review is always a golden opportunity to improve.

6. Create an internal communication plan

Good employee communication is critical to keep them up to date and foster a sense of belonging. One of the best ways, especially in large hotel chains, is to have an internal mobile-friendly communication tool that allows two-way communication. Engagement by MAPAL, for example, helps you visualise employee interactions and reactions, read receipts, etc., as well as the possibility of creating different chat channels (to talk about celebrations, CSR, system updates, news, etc.).

7. Adapt your communication channels

Adopting a solution to digitize internal communication not only ensures that messages reach everyone but are also aligned with the way most people, especially younger generations, are used to communicating via mobile and interactive platforms. Engagement by MAPAL is also super intuitive, which means that even more senior team members can use it with ease.

8. Send a weekly newsletter

Another action that can help you motivate teams, increase employee retention and keep up to date is by sending a weekly newsletter with information that you consider relevant: important reviews left by customers, complaints, compliments, things that managers don't often see, objectives of the week or inform them about events that will have an impact on their work (football matches, celebrations, etc.).

9. Organise an ideas contest

One way to engage employees and encourage proactivity is to organise an ideas competition. This contest can be arranged through a dedicated communication channel where employees can share their proposals for improving the business. At the end of the month, the managers choose the best idea and, in return, can offer a reward to the winning employee, such as a discount voucher, an extra day off, etc. The fact that you are in daily contact with your teams will hopefully inspire them to come up with ideas you hadn't thought of, which will also help increase turnover (or savings) and give your employees an incentive.

10. Create an "employee service" department

You can choose to hire an employee (or several) whose function is to maintain direct contact with the staff and maintain a positive work environment in the hotel. This person will be responsible for supporting the teams, solving any problems they may have, mediating in case of internal conflicts, etc. And of course, also to give feedback to the managers so that they can have a better "picture" of how the team is doing.

11. Conducts performance evaluations

Collect and leverage all feedback, customer reviews, peer recognition, etc. to contribute to employee performance evaluations. 

How often should hotels conduct performance reviews? A good option is to do it every quarter, and with two variables in mind: soft skills on the one hand, and the competencies specific to each role on the other.

One of the advantages of digitising feedback, employee recognition and performance reviews is that all information is recorded in one place and can be accessed by both employees and managers. In addition, the progress is recorded, and it is much easier to see how each person is evolving.

Take advantage of this performance evaluation to analyse individual performance, but also to discuss internal promotions, changes of site or each employee’s aspirations and needs.

12. Conduct internal surveys

Conducting short or pulse surveys to your teams will help you to know their degree of motivation and satisfaction in the company and enable you to improve. This could be done every three months and, at the same time, take advantage of it to measure the pulse of other actions you may be carrying out. Doing this on paper is time-consuming, which is partly the reason it’s usually only done once a year. A tool that enables you to conduct digital surveys from a mobile will speed up both the response from employees and the collection and analysis of the results, giving you more updated information than annual reviews.

13. Training and development plans

Finally, training your team to provide excellent service is vital. It helps boost their confidence and development. They will perceive that your company is committed to their professional development and that there are possibilities for growth. This, in turn, will encourage them to stay much longer and become more motivated to continue improving. Likewise, digitising the training plans with a hospitality LMS  such as Flow Learning by MAPAL will enable you to monitor the evolution and needs of each member of the team. The solution enables you to monitor the evolution and needs of each member of the team, while they can take control of their own learning with short, mobile-first, interactive training pills with gamification components.