Lockdown conditions created windows for workers to explore where their labor could be applied in other sectors, which has now led to serious workforce shortages in the hospitality industry. The recent labor shortages and the solutions to addressing it are surprisingly not just about better wages.
As with any industry, workers invest themselves in their roles more deeply when they can easily see how their contributions make a positive impact, when there is a clear means for employees to do their best work, and when their strong performance is acknowledged in a material way. Furthermore, when it’s easier for employees to execute their responsibilities without undue stress, workers are more likely to remain in the industry. Technology specifically designed to meet the needs of the hospitality industry is helping to both re-engage and retain hospitality workers.
Systems and processes to enable a sense of accomplishment
People want to be good at their jobs. Processes enabled by technology in hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality contexts are best when they are designed to support user success to promote a sense of accomplishment. When workers feel supported by reliable processes, that contributes to making their work more satisfying because it’s much easier to do it well. Some examples include:
- Centralized and uniform restaurant menu management across all locations. A robust technology platform that seamlessly connects menu display, restaurant point of sale, and kitchen display systems (KDS) helps reduce errors between stations, decrease wait times, and increase overall efficiency
- Hotel property management system (PMS) housekeeping functionality accessible via mobile which can automatically sync maintenance and cleaning tasks to room statuses
- Advanced CRM capabilities make it easy for staff to deliver exceptional and personalized guest services
All of these capabilities make it easier for staff to excel with less guesswork and less stress.
Technology to create greater flexibility
Mobile technology enables greater visibility when responding to guest service requests. Leveraging mobile technology to provide the ability for guests to check in, access amenities during their hotel stay, and check out again without cumbersome interactions with staff also serves a critical function and improves the experience for everyone involved. Self-serve kiosk orders at QSR locations are another example that takes the pressure off staff to manage the details of every order.
Mobile solutions and self-serve options leave more room for employees to concentrate their energies on other aspects of their jobs – cleanliness, receiving, food prep, back-office tasks, regular breaks, and more. All of this helps to contribute to less stressful work environments, which have a significant impact on job satisfaction and retention rates.
Acknowledgement and incentives thanks to good data
When all systems are connected in a common data ecosystem, organizations can more easily identify their high performing employees and structure internal rewards programs and initiatives to connect good work with proportionate incentives. Typical incentives include raises, monthly bonuses, promotions, educational opportunities, bonus paid time off, product and service discounts, and others. This is a material expression of how much organizations appreciate and respond to good work, and how much they’re really invested in their people.
Cloud technology is the most straightforward approach to establishing a common and accessible data ecosystem necessary to make these connections between good work and rewards. That’s why forward-thinking hospitality organizations are at some stage of a digitization process involving investment in cloud technology today. This is in part due to the realization that technology should make things simple and empowering for everyone, now and in the future.
Technology does the heavy lifting
When hospitality solutions are designed with user empowerment and success as essential drivers for the business, strategizing around how to retain talent and create cohesive teams are much easier tasks to accomplish. This is the ideal situation; to make all tasks at the service level intuitive, supportive of company goals and values, and an ultimately rewarding experience for those who do the hard work every day.
Any individual technology solution itself is not the one-time answer to labor shortages and continuing challenges around talent retention and development in hospitality. There are still many other issues for the industry to contend with regarding factors like livable wages, better benefits, and greater support of work-life balance for hospitality workers. But investing in technology that does more of the heavy lifting while removing unnecessary burdens from the shoulders of workers is certainly an important part of evolving hospitality workplaces.