The hospitality industry is a hectic sector where customer service surpasses everything else. Hence, in this industry, employee engagement and satisfaction are often overlooked in favour of client satisfaction.
As a result, hospitality HR managers face multiple challenges that are unique to this sector. The situation has also been worsened by the pandemic, which made remote work a mandatory part of many industries.
In this blog, we will be discussing the top 10 most significant HR challenges in the hospitality industry and providing you with practical steps to resolve these challenges.
We will also touch on the role of HR in the hospitality industry to help you understand why they have to face these challenges.
HR Role in Hospitality Industry
Human resources in the hospitality industry have multiple responsibilities starting from managing the staff from their hiring to their retirement.
The HR role in hospitality industry starts with searching for talented personnel, hiring and onboarding them effectively, training them, providing administrative support, ensuring their job satisfaction along with performance management, as well as being a mediator between them and the management.
While the HR functions in hospitality industry remains almost the same as in other sectors, it is the way it is conducted, that changes according to the changing demands of this sector.
For example, the round-the-clock nature of this sector requires the HR to develop staff duty roster in hotel accordingly, which requires them to take care of multiple factors such as break shifts, hourly leaves, 24/7 rotational shifts, shift swaps, and more.
Such additional work results in HR challenges, which are unique in the hospitality industry, which includes hotels, restaurants, cafes, and resorts.
Top 10 HR Challenges in the Hospitality Industry
HR management has to face numerous challenges in the hospitality industry as a part of their daily routine. However, these HR challenges in the hospitality industry can be overcome with the help of the right technologies.
As with any other domain, human resources can also benefit from the use of technology that will help them undertake their daily tasks with enhanced efficiency and improved accuracy.
Hence, let us check out ten of the top HR challenges in the hospitality industry and try to find their solutions with the help of technology.
1. Recruiting Right Talent
Hiring the right talent is the difference between customers flocking to your hotel or restaurant and them leaving for a better experience elsewhere. However, hiring the right talent is one of the toughest challenges of the industry due to the shortage of skilled workers.
While businesses can try providing competitive salaries, additional benefits, training opportunities and more, it is extremely hard to find skilled staff members who will be willing to remain with the company for long.
An effective solution to finding and hiring the right staff is to get the best HRMS as modern HRMS software is capable of not only helping you find the right candidates but also helping you with crafting effective job descriptions and parsing resumes for quickly shortlisting candidates.
Such software can also provide you with advanced options such as remote interviews, behavioural interview questions, augmented reality or virtual reality-based onboarding, paperless documentation, and more.
2. Training and Development
Upskilling your staff with effective training and development programs also proves to be tough in the hospitality industry. This issue is especially relevant to countries like India, where the new staff members are expected to learn the skills of the trade on the job.
Hotels and cafes often do not have an allocated budget for training the new staff, and this lack of training results in a lacklustre experience for the guests.
The simple solution for this issue is to have dedicated training sessions for the staff members, both old and new. Employee upskilling should be an essential part of the employee experience as it will enable them to be better at their duties as well as stay loyal to your business.
Staff training can be provided on various parameters such as etiquette and other soft skills along with essential duties. These training should also include on-the-job modules, which will ensure overall effective training for the staff.
Similarly, staff training can also be conducted using rich media content available on dedicated training platforms, which are also integrated with modern HR software.
3. Retaining Talented Staff
In a sector as competitive as the hospitality industry, it is tough to retain talent effectively, due to high turnover. A major issue is the outdated job descriptions which do not reflect the actual duties undertaken by the staff in the industry, once they are selected.
Similarly, the best candidates can easily get better opportunities with the competition, making it very hard for HR management to retain them even with additional benefits or competitive compensation packages.
An effective way of retaining talent in any industry is to keep them engaged with the company, and the same can be applied in this case. While many factors result in improved employee engagement, a good starting point is to provide them with effective onboarding and improved training.
Similarly, you can also deploy an HRMS to understand their engagement levels and take the right measures using their performance data from the system.
By investing in your employee, you are not only improving their loyalty and engagement towards your business but also enabling improved services in your organization, making it an ideal option for all businesses in the hospitality industry.
4. Managing 24/7 Shifts
Another major issue with the hospitality industry is the lack of efficient shift management options, which is made worse by the round-the-clock nature of this industry.
Employees are often required to work in break shifts according to the hotel duty roster, which is harder to keep track of manually.
Similarly, they may also make shift swap requests, which can be difficult to implement, if shift management is undertaken using physical duty roster for hotel staff.
The simple solution to this issue is an HRMS which has a robust shift management module. This system comes with advanced features such as break shift management, hourly and custom leaves, 24/7 shifts, shift swaps, etc. which will provide the staff with complete flexibility about their shifts.
Similarly, the HRMS will also oversee shift management, avoiding issues like understaffing or overstaffing. Additionally, the HRMS will also be able to capture and share the attendance data based on employee shifts, making it easier to process their payroll.
Hence, it streamlines the entire shift management process from scheduling it effectively to making it highly flexible for the managers, as well as capturing their attendance to distributing their salaries, making it a highly effective tool in the HR manager’s arsenal.
5. Irregular Working Hours
Since the hospitality industry works 24/7, irregular working hours are a major challenge for the HRs of this sector. Employees often complain of extended working hours as well as overnight shifts, which deprives them of their social lives.
Similarly, weekends and holidays are busy working hours for this sector leaving the staff with limited options to enjoy these days themselves.
While there is no solution for the very nature of the hospitality business, its effects can be reduced to at least some extent by using modern technology. You can start by providing remote working options for those staff members whose responsibilities enable them to work remotely.
Similarly, you can also provide options for swapping shifts, which will provide them with the flexibility to work. Additionally, hourly leaves and break shifts will enable you to provide further flexibility in your shifts, making it easier for your staff to manage their shift timings.
6. Ensuring Job Satisfaction
Job and employee satisfaction is another area where HR in hospitality struggle with the employees. Since employee satisfaction directly affects the efforts put in by the staff to undertake their work, HRs make it a priority to help the staff stay engaged with the business.
However, in an industry where customer service is primary, employees are often left out of the equation.
The solution to this issue is to remain transparent with your staff. You can let them understand why they are under pressure to perform certain tasks quickly. Similarly, they should also be well-trained to ensure that their service quality remains top-notch under any circumstances.
Similarly, while onboarding, you can also set clear expectations for the candidate, which enables them to understand their role and responsibilities and fulfil them easily.
You can also invest in technology to make their life easier like having an app-based attendance management system or providing rich-media training sessions, which helps them learn the tools of the trade from the very best in the industry.
7. Measuring Performance
Since the performance of an employee is mostly dependent on how they serve the customers, it is difficult to measure their performance in the hospitality industry.
With the nuances associated with client-based services, performance management of the staff becomes dicey for HR managers. Additionally, evaluating the staff without a pre-defined set of goals becomes even more challenging for the HR teams.
Most of the HR challenges in the hospitality industry associated with performance management can be avoided with the help of a dedicated performance management system, which is again integrated with the latest HRMS.
Through such software, hotels and restaurants can gather regular feedback from their staff. It also helps set clear expectations with well-defined goals, as well as set a timeline to attain those goals. Similarly, such software will also provide multiple options to measure their performance and provide constructive feedback.
Having a dedicated system for performance management will also enable the staff to have a clearly defined career path, which proves to be beneficial for both the employees and the business. It also helps establish their KPIs and KRAs, enabling them to perform according to their business goals.
8. Engaging Staff Members
Employee engagement is another cause of concern for hospitality HR managers since the employees are often disengaged in their hectic work environment.
Since they do not feel emotionally invested in their organization, their productivity levels drop, leading to poor service levels and high turnover rates.
While the solutions provided until now can help improve the engagement rate among your employees, hospitality HRs should also take active steps to further ensure that the engagement rates are maintained throughout their organization.
This can be undertaken with the help of regular feedback as well as sharing rewards and recognition for their achievements.
Anonymous employee pulse surveys enable you to capture their true feedback while being more transparent about the company policies and functioning will enable them to feel valued.
Similarly, you can also provide your staff with multiple growth opportunities to help them stay with your business for longer.
9. Providing a Safe Work Environment
Providing a safe work environment is paramount to secure the safety of your employees. The hospitality industry is required to deal with numerous high-risk factors such as gas tanks, organic food, intoxicated guests, night shifts, etc.
Hence, it is essential to let your staff members understand that safety is a priority in the business and that their work environment is safe for them to work in.
HR managers need to stay vigilant and take active measures to ensure that the workplace remains safe and secure for their staff. They need to oversee the measures implemented by the management for employee safety and ensure that adequate safety measures are in place.
Similarly, they should also provide their staff with emergency situational training, as well as develop and implement strict safety protocols.
Additionally, your business should have strict policies against misbehaving guests and ensure that these policies are being implemented well throughout the organization. For example, you can install surveillance cameras throughout the premises to ensure that no malpractices are going on despite your best intentions.
10. Avoiding Burnout
Another major challenge for hospitality HR is the constant employee burnout. While this issue is mostly due to the very nature of the hospitality sector, HRs can try to reduce the amount of burnout by making their company policies more flexible.
Since it is an industry where customer service is of utmost importance, HR should ensure that their staff is not feeling the brunt of the situation.
By implementing a robust shift management software, hospitality HRs can resolve half of the burnout issues. Such a system also helps avoid issues such as overstaffing or understaffing by creating work schedules based on busy hours.
Providing employees with the flexibility of shift swaps will also help you give them time for their families at their convenience. It will reduce the effects of burnout.
Additionally, providing cross-training can also be beneficial as the staff can undertake other duties if required. It also helps them overcome the monotony of their work.
Similarly, it is essential to recognize employees’ efforts and reward them in cases where they have displayed an exceptional flair for their work.
The hospitality industry is very hectic, where customer service is above everything else, which results in reduced job satisfaction and engagement rates. As a result, the importance of human resources in hospitality industry is very significant.
There are multiple HR challenges in the hospitality industry, such as a lack of talented staff and training measures, a lack of adequate performance and shift management, and more. It results in multiple issues in this sector such as burnout and the resulting high turnover rates.
Deploying a dedicated HRMS will result in resolving almost all of these issues as well as help actively engage them. It will provide the HRs with an organized option to hire and retain talented staff by training them, measuring their performance accurately, managing their shifts, and more.