Q4 and the busy holiday season are quickly approaching. This means that we have made it through yet another year of navigating the ever-changing global pandemic, as individuals, organizations, and entire sectors of our economy continue to grapple with “new normals.” COVID-19 has certainly reshaped the Future of Work as we know it, enabling unmatched flexibility for corporations and employees across industries––from marketing and law to accounting and technology sectors––thanks to remote and hybrid work scenarios. In fact, nearly 60% of office employees expect to be in person 10 days or less each month moving forward.
While digital professionals have swiftly settled into the new levels of malleability in their roles––allowing for less time commuting to and from the office, and more time spent with family and loved ones––the same, unfortunately, cannot be said for millions of professionals who cannot work remotely, including those in the hospitality industry.
Labor shortage and employee burnout in hospitality
Hospitality can be exhausting. Skilled hourly professionals work long hours in stressful environments, often into the evenings or on weekends, while often paid close to minimum wage with limited career growth. It can take its toll on even the most experienced workers, especially as the pandemic plunged the entire hospitality sphere into the unknown.
Even as hospitality has begun to emerge in the new post-pandemic environment, staffing shortages are crippling the industry, with many professionals having found work in other industries during the height of the pandemic. The most recent report from the Bureau of Labor found that there are 3.5 million fewer people in the workforce today, relative to February 2020. Furthermore, the July 2021 Labor report found the hospitality industry is down 1.7 million jobs, and the overall turnover rate has reached close to 60%.
Now, as the hospitality industry prepares for the busiest holiday season in nearly two years, staffing shortages are compounding the reality of burnout, with businesses having to stretch available staff to the absolute max. Low wages and lack of flexibility are making it harder than ever for employers to find and retain experienced workers, and causing hourly professionals to feel completely tapped out within their roles. In fact, more than 76% of employed Americans are experiencing exhaustive worker burnout.
What employees want
As hospitality businesses approach the end (and in many cases, the busiest time) of the year, hospitality workers are seeking the same level of flexibility, career advancement, and wages as digital workers.
The pandemic has given these skilled hourly professionals a voice, speaking up about their desires and need to have flexibility and career growth in order to be successful. They have been on the frontlines of this pandemic and it’s time to listen, by providing a way for hourly workers to build their schedule the way they want.
Technology, specifically digital marketplaces and staffing platforms, empower hospitality professionals to build their own schedules, while providing businesses quality and reliable staff to fill open shifts, successfully meeting increased customer demand over the holiday season and beyond. These flexible staffing solutions enable hourly workers to look for positions tailored to their individual skill sets and areas of expertise, during days and times that best suit their lifestyle and needs. We’re entering an age where typical work schedules and norms, across all industries, are going to require adaptation, in order to foster sustainable workplace success for employees and employers alike.
More than just a job
For those who have made their career in hospitality, their experience is a critical asset for businesses looking to succeed. Leveraging that experience will help ensure smooth operations during peak business times and keep customers coming back.
To attract these professionals, employers need to take a step back and re-evaluate the desires and needs of their hourly workforce. A good place to start is leveraging technology that enables open roles and shifts to be quickly filled, while also providing hourly workers the flexibility to recharge in between shifts, build a schedule that best works with their personal needs, and leverage digital training opportunities to sharpen their skill set. This allows skilled hourly workers to show up refreshed, energized, and excited to work. As hospitality professionals put themselves at risk to keep local business open and running smoothly, it’s up for these businesses to work proactively to take care of their workforce, both mentally and physically.
As we continue to race toward 2022, hospitality businesses should keep the needs of their hourly professionals top-of-mind as they plan for a busy holiday season. It will not only allow them to keep up with increased customer demand but also to successfully plan for 2022, knowing they have reliable, skilled workers ready to get to work.