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Hospitality staff shortage and turnover

In this article, we look at the current state of hospitality staff shortage and turnover, along with some great tips for employee retention.
Mike Jeavons, Content Writer

Working in hospitality is challenging at the best of times, but during this extended, post-pandemic period in which staff shortages and turnover are exceptionally high, working in a service role is harder than ever.

According to a report, an average of 6% of hospitality staff resign every month. As businesses struggle to find suitable replacements, this puts remaining staff under increased pressure.

But despite the industry adjusting to a post-pandemic world, what is currently driving these hospitality staff shortages?

What causes staff shortages in hospitality?

As we’ve already highlighted, the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t the only reason for staff shortages. While it has contributed, there are a number of other factors that are to blame. Of course, pay is one of them - it will always be a major consideration for employees - but there are many other reasons that the industry is struggling.

Unsociable hours

Due to many businesses in hospitality opening into the night and even the early hours of the morning, committing to these hours is a challenge. A survey found that 54% of staff shortages are caused by unsociable hours.

Lack of flexibility

Hospitality is an “always on” industry, and as a result, there can be little room for flexibility. However, this also means that job seekers are turned off from applying for roles where flexibility isn’t a priority - particularly as many businesses in other industries have found ways to offer it more.

Poor suitability for the role

More specific to the UK (but still also applicable worldwide), since its exit from the European Union many foreign nationals left the country. As a result due to the drop in applicants from EU countries the applicants that do apply often lack the relevant skills and suitability. 

Lack of recognition

A major contributor to staff shortages in hospitality - and one that can be fixed relatively quickly - is the lack of recognition employees receive in their roles. This means even when hospitality businesses recruit staff, many leave again due to this oversight.

Stressful work environments

In the midst of a hospitality staff crisis, in which businesses are already struggling to recruit and retain employees, an already stressful job is being made more stressful. Understaffed businesses struggle to keep up with demand, which leads to irate customers, and creates stressful environments to work in. And employees will soon grow weary of working in a high-stress environment.

Minimal growth opportunities

Many employees want to grow their careers, and one of the biggest reasons employees leave jobs is due to the lack of those opportunities. A report released by LinkedIn revealed that 94% of employees would stay with a company longer if there was room for progression. So if there is no room for growth, employees will seek a job where there is.

What are the effects of hospitality staff shortages?

We’ve explored why there are staff shortages in hospitality, but what effects do those shortages have not just on individual businesses, but the industry as a whole?

It’s estimated that in the UK, shortages and high staff turnover have cost the hospitality industry an estimated £21 billion. These numbers are staggering and come at a time when the industry is already struggling, following numerous lockdowns and restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other effects on hospitality include:

  • With fewer employees to serve customers to a high standard, or even none at all, shorter operating hours might be necessary, which costs your business money.
  • The smaller a team is, the harder it is to deliver consistent customer service, which is going to negatively impact the business’s reputation.
  • With an increase in unhappy customers and operational costs, there will be a significant impact on profits.
  • With a lack of downtime and added pressure, it leaves little room for training and can disrupt employees’ work-life balance, as they work harder to meet demands.

How to improve employee retention in hospitality

Paying employees more isn’t the only way to improve retention. Fair pay is of course a big draw for potential employees, but what are some other ways businesses can improve staff retention in the hospitality industry?

Provide a better work environment

For many working in hospitality, it can be a stressful and high-pressure environment. That’s why creating a strong company culture that allows for downtime, the ability to recharge, and even a little fun from time to time, is important. With a better work environment comes more engagement and improved morale.

Team building

In order to alleviate unnecessary stress and work as efficiently and effectively as possible, teams need to work closely together. Organizing team building and bonding sessions will go a long way to improving collaboration

Acknowledge hard work

Working in hospitality can cost staff a lot of time and energy - not to mention the unsociable hours. Acknowledging the effort that goes into hospitality can go a long way, especially if it includes rewards or bonuses to truly show hard-working employees gratitude.

Prioritize communication

Without open and honest communication between senior employees and their teams, there will always be a certain level of disconnect and a lack of engagement. Regular and open communication will help build trust and allow employees to see that they’re valued members of the team.

Offer a better work-life balance

Employees need time to rest and recharge their batteries. Having the opportunity to do so stops them from experiencing burnout, so they’re ready to show up to work re-energized.

Focus on training and development

The importance of training in hospitality cannot be understated. By creating a learning culture and giving employees opportunities to develop their careers, hospitality staff are more likely to engage and be motivated to stay in a role. Training also shows employees that they’re valued and cared about.

For more information, check out our blog post on ways to improve employee retention.

Where can you learn more about communication?

We’ve highlighted how better communication can go a long way toward improving employee retention in hospitality. By developing these skills throughout your workforce, you build better relationships among your teams and provide better customer service.

At Go1, we have a wide range of online communication training courses that can be accessed right now. With eLearning, training is flexible and self-directed, meaning employees can learn from the same course materials while not interrupting day-to-day operations.

For more insights, subscribe to the Go1 newsletter to stay on top of all the latest L&D trends. Or, you can book a demo today to find out how Go1 can help with your team’s learning needs.

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