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Amid Hotel Headcount Woes, Hospitality Leaders Can Turn to Technology for Support

Today’s workers—even the service-sector employees that lost, rather than left, their pre-pandemic roles due to reduced need—expect more from employers, from pay to culture to flexibility, support, and more.
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Keeping hotels afloat has never been easy, but today’s leaders face a unique set of concerns. It’s no secret that it can be difficult to find employees who fit the bill and stick around—and it’s grown even more difficult as the hospitality industry recovers from the devastating impacts of COVID-19. This is especially true now, as many long-time workers lost their income in 2020 and had to seek positions elsewhere to weather that storm. At the same time, others are experiencing unprecedented burnout from running on skeleton crews for years on end.

As a result, labor concerns remain top of mind for hotel leadership, despite the hospitality sector’s unprecedented job growth in the first half of the year. A recent Paychex survey designed to unearth the topics at top of mind for today’s hospitality leaders lent insight into the issues the sector is facing, with much of the feedback centered on the difficulty of finding and retaining skilled employees in today’s labor market.

Why? Because leaders are beginning to realize that simply hiring more people may not be enough to keep employees on the roster in today’s climate. Management may need to reprioritize their efforts—or even change direction—to maintain headcounts and deliver top-quality service moving forward.

Luckily, there are tested strategies that can help in these pursuits that, when leveraged with the right technology, can streamline these HR processes for hospitality professionals:

  • Uplevel recruiting with applicant tracking systems. Moving beyond the job board to an applicant tracking system (ATS) may provide tools that may allow hiring managers and talent acquisition teams to collaborate more effectively and efficiently.
    In a tight labor market, organizations need to move fast to fill open roles with quality candidates and streamline interview and hiring windows. Leveraging technology that automates aspects of the application-to-offer process helps employers do just that while delivering more satisfying applicant experiences.
  • Refresh onboarding with digital solutions. Onboarding sets the tone for the employment relationship so showing care during this process can go far with employees. Investing in digital tools that support more efficient onboarding can help improve experiences and help ensure employers are putting their best foot forward. Furthermore, offering virtual access to onboarding documentation, including direct deposit authorization, Forms W-4, state withholding forms, Forms I-9, resource guides, and presentations can help ensure workers are set up for success from day one and know where to find the information they need moving forward.
  • Streamline staffing by cultivating talent from within. Opportunities to learn and develop skills help both employees and employers. By offering robust training options through a learning management system (LMS), employers can increase productivity and upskill teams while identifying candidates for promotions. Leveraging an LMS also allows employers to push critical training content on the latest company policies, certifications, and industry best practices to employees’ devices in real-time, ensuring that all staff is up to date on the latest changes to procedures.
  • Make communication central to operations. Communicating expectations and appreciation is a key retention strategy for today’s labor market. Fostering relationships among employees and between management and their staff may help better define culture and give employees a sense of belonging, as well as enhance operational efficiency.
    Investing in digital conversation tools that connect teams and can serve as a point of reference for announcements, policies, feedback, and discussions may aid in this endeavor. While this technology should not replace one-on-one conversations, these tools could support collaboration in an increasingly distributed workforce.
  • Manage workforces and make business decisions with real-time data and analytics. Modern technology that leverages advanced and predictive analytics can help organizations not only measure employee performance but use this information to optimize scheduling and labor allocation. By tracking and integrating time and attendance through a digital scheduling and evaluation platform, managers may be able to boost productivity and business outcomes while making day-to-day work more pleasant for their teams.
  • Prioritize investments that reduce workloads. Administrative work can occupy huge amounts of employees’ time as well as that of their managers. Modern HR software can drive employee self-service options while streamlining and automating critical HR tasks (like hiring, onboarding, payroll, training, and more), allowing HR departments to focus on more strategic initiatives for the organization. It also allows employees to focus on what matters: serving guests.
  • Ask for help when needed. Strategic relationships can also mitigate labor burdens for hospitality leaders. Still, many businesses are choosing to go the course alone. According to the Paychex survey mentioned above, almost half of hospitality leaders surveyed outsource HR administration to reduce stress and operational costs, but only 28% currently use a professional employer organization (PEO) to support their efforts. Working with an experienced PEO can help leaders execute on the above while keeping their own workload in check.

While the Great Resignation that accompanied the early years of the pandemic was often framed as an issue for the tech industry and other office-based roles, the cultural shift that accompanied it touched businesses across sectors. Today’s workers—even the service-sector employees that lost, rather than left, their pre-pandemic roles due to reduced need—expect more from employers, from pay to culture to flexibility, support, and more.

Investing in upgraded HR technology that assists in driving operational efficiencies across the organization, bolster communication and collaboration, streamline staffing, and improve employee experiences can drive better business outcomes across the hospitality industry.




Chelsey Evans is currently an HR Coach at Paychex supporting approximately 50 HR specialists across the U.S. who advise Paychex clients on the wide range of business and HR issues facing companies today. Chelsey has more than 14 years of HR experience in various industries, nine of which have been spent at Paychex serving in the roles of HR Generalist, Senior HR Generalist, and HR Consultant. She possesses a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design as well as certifications from SHRM, HRCI and USF in DEI; and is a Certified Mentor. As an HR professional, Chelsey is passionate about building successful partnerships that support HR growth, knowledge, and initiatives to achieve results.

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