Increasing Employee Satisfaction and Reducing Staff Turnover

Job satisfaction is a top concern of the majority of working adults. Not only does enjoying your work make it easier to show up each day, but those who are happy with their role tend to put more effort into performing their responsibilities at a high level. On the employer side of things, job satisfaction is a critical factor in determining the quality of work your employees are going to give and how long they stay with you. So, ensuring those working for you are satisfied in their daily duties and responsibilities should be a top priority.

Effects of High Staff Turnover

Unfortunately, the hospitality industry experiences a relatively high turnover rate when compared to other industries. Not only is this frustrating for managers and business owners, but it is also expensive. Onboarding and training a new employee is much more costly than retaining an existing employee. Employee uniforms, background checks, and training time, all add to the expense. Additionally, many aspects of the industry are learned through experience, so getting someone to the level of service of a veteran isn’t done overnight.

There are many reasons why an employee would leave a role. These include accepting another offer elsewhere, relocating, or family responsibilities. However, the biggest cause of turnover in hospitality is poor job satisfaction. This only adds to the importance of supporting staff and increasing that to retain the best employees.

Efforts to Increase Staff Satisfaction

Taking the initiative to work towards increased job satisfaction in the workplace is the first step for an organization. Doing so acknowledges the importance of each role within the company. Even the smallest of roles affect overall operations, so keeping employees happy from the ground up is an excellent strategy.

So, how do you increase satisfaction in your employees? It depends on the industry and the role, but a great place to start is by asking them. Employee surveys are a great way to gather feedback from the staff and find out what needs of theirs aren’t being met so you can form a plan to remediate that. If you find that employees aren’t 100% satisfied in their current role, it’s likely because of one of the following reasons:

Poor Working Conditions:  Few people expect daily life in hospitality to be glamorous. But, maintaining safe and comfortable working conditions can go a long way. Common causes of dissatisfaction in this area are unsafe conditions, overly long shifts, or unrealistic expectations. Labor laws dictate required breaks for employees working a certain number of hours, but employers can go beyond that in making their employees feel safe and comfortable.  

Planning schedules far in advance and attempting some level of regularity with that will make those with family and personal responsibilities much less likely to run into conflicts. Additionally, offering superior safety supports, such as protective equipment, proper training, and ensuring staff do not overwork themselves physically will keep your staff happier. Lastly, it is understandable for managers to have high expectations for their team, but those expectations need to be realistic. Burnout is such a common cause of employee departure, so it’s crucial to constantly monitor progress and address any areas of concern by providing additional resources, training, or time allowed.

Salary:  Possibly the biggest cause of employee turnover is lack of satisfaction in one’s salary. Entry-level positions in hospitality are generally paid hourly – many starting at minimum wage or slightly higher. While this is expected by most entering the industry, offering incentives for employee performance through raises and bonuses is a great way to guarantee employees are compensated fairly for giving their best effort.

Management/Leadership:  Management styles vary from person to person, but the best managers are those who listen and are receptive to feedback from their team. Employees within hotels and restaurants often see much more of the operational side of things than managers or owners. They can often provide insightful knowledge and potentially better ways of doing things. When it comes to performance consequences, it’s important to respond appropriately. When managers notice a team member going above and beyond in terms of service or job duties, it’s best to recognize them for their efforts. Additionally, poor performance certainly needs to be noted as well. However, in cases where it stems from inadequate training or lack of resources, it’s management’s responsibility to remediate this.

Professional Development (or lack thereof):  For many working adults, performing the same duties every day for years on end is not ideal. This is especially true for those with growth-oriented personalities. For these types of employees, it’s important to provide opportunities for professional growth and development. Providing staff with a chance to learn new skills, acquire new knowledge, and eventually move up in the organization keeps motivation high. If someone realizes their potential and sees future opportunities that await if they perform well in their role, they are likely to do so.

How to Ensure you will be Satisfied with a New Role in Hospitality

If you’re looking for your next role in the industry, don’t be afraid to inquire during the interview process about any of the above concepts. The easiest way for employers to manage staff expectations is to know them up-front. While wages are generally stated in a job posting, it’s beneficial to discuss the potential for wage increases over time, benefit availability, or working conditions. These all need to align with expectations for an employee to be satisfied coming into work each day. Additionally, if potential employees make it known their hopes for growth in the organization, the hiring manager can help to carve out a path for them to do so. 

Finding local opportunities is the first step – from there, make your expectations known, perform each day at a high level, and then the opportunities await.