How to retain staff in the hospitality industry?

According to the ‘Labour migration in the hospitality sector’, a KPMG report for the British Hospitality Association, the UK Hospitality sector is the third biggest private sector employer in the UK. However, it’s heading towards major staffing shortages over the next decade because of low employee retention rate.

Low pay, unsociable working hours, lack of training and career prospects, combined with Brexit, is creating the perfect storm of staffing shortages for the hospitality industry.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why staff retention in the hospitality sector is so low and what you can do to improve the situation.

Why is hospitality staff retention so low?

A study into how the UK can avoid a crisis in the hospitality sector from Deputy, in collaboration with YouGov, shows that the industry’s annual staff retention level is 70% – which is 15% less than the UK average. There are many factors affecting the staff turnover in the UK hospitality sector and results from the YouGov survey, involving over 1,000 British hospitality employees, revealed some of the reasons why people leave:

  • Low pay and lack of benefits
  • Unsociable working hours
  • Lack of training and development
  • No career prospects

Most of the research participants believe that it is possible to have a long career in the hospitality sector, but it’s clear that things must change to encourage more people to stay in this industry.

How is Brexit changing staff retention rate in hospitality?

This retention issue may be worsened by a shortage of staff caused by Brexit, as around 24% of the UK hospitality staff are EU nationals. According to the ‘Labour migration in the hospitality sector’ report, the hospitality sector needs approximately 62,000 new EU workers each year to maintain the current activity and growth.

The Office for National Statistics reported that in the last year, the number of EU citizens who came to the UK was 219,000. This was lower than levels seen in 2015 and 2016 but higher than in the years up to 2014. The number of EU citizens leaving the UK has remained broadly stable over the last year but rose gradually since the year ending September 2015. Suggesting that since Brexit referendum less European nationals have been arriving in the UK and if this trend carries on, it may have a negative impact on the hospitality sector.

Why is it important to keep employees happy?

The average British employee spends 1,791 hours a year at work. No one wants to be unhappy for that amount of time; which is why keeping your employees happy is crucial.

It has been proven by industry leaders such as Google, Apple, and software analytics giant SAS Institute, that happy employees are less stressed and therefore, more productive. People that enjoy their job create enthusiastic and supportive work environments, encouraging others to be creative, passionate and to have a positive attitude towards their daily tasks.

Therefore, organisations that show they care about their employees by providing a fun and inspiring workplace will reap enormous benefits from the increased productivity, efficiency and creative approach to problem-solving.

3 steps to help keep your employees happy

The best way to reduce staff turnover is to eliminate the reasons why people leave. Which sounds easy, right? However, there is no one-fit-all solution because every organisation is different, so it will take some time, research and planning to improve your staff retention rate.

But we explained earlier – it’s totally worth the effort!

  1. Speak to your employees and find out what would make their working day better. This could help you identify simple things that can be quickly fixed, as well as give you a better understanding of problems that should be resolved immediately.
  2. Carry out research outside of your organisation – understand what other businesses are doing to keep their employees happy? See if there is anything that could make your employees happier and more successful, whether it would be a new ordering system or a training course improving their knowledge and skills.
  3. Ensure your staff have regular opportunities to tell you how to improve productivity and effectiveness of what they do – who better to ask then the specialists you already employ.

Listening to your staff can help to make them feel valued and understood, which can help you gain a loyal workforce that is willing to do what it takes to make your organisation successful.

Deputy and YouGov asked their research participants – what would make employees in the hospitality sector less likely to leave? Here are some of the things they identified:

  • Better pay and benefits
  • Stable income and guaranteed hours
  • Clear career prospects
  • Training and development opportunities
  • More control over work life and shift patterns

Do you know what your staff turnover rate is?

Without knowing there is a problem, you can’t fix it, so it’s important to keep an eye on your employee turnover rate.

Here’s how to work it out:

Tell us how you keep your staff happy and motivated on our LinkedIn or Twitter accounts.