Gradually countries and businesses around the world are starting to think about life post-lockdown and smart hotels are looking to their employees to drive a successful bounce back, writes Planday’s industry expert Oskar Karlsson…
The hotel businesses I speak to everyday tell me COVID-19 is still continuing to make waves across the industry, but smart operators are looking to the future and finding ways to prepare for what may come.
While there is still a way to go — and the whole tourism industry will have to adapt to a new-kind of normal — smart businesses are looking to their staff to get the tips to a successful bounce back.
I think it’s important to remember the old adage that if you don’t treat your customers right, someone else will. Post-lockdown, consumers will be even more discerning about where they choose to go, and outstanding customer experiences — delivered by the best asset in your business, your people — will be what sets you apart from your competitors.
“We spoke to 1,822 people from around the UK, across all parts of the hospitality sector, with more than half of them having worked in the industry for more than a decade.”
It’s also worth remembering that your staff will also give better service when things do reopen if you treat them right now. Make sure you take the time to communicate with them regularly, be open about your plans and the challenges you are facing as a business. Keeping the strength of a good team must be a vital part of your reopening plans.
So to help Planday customers get a better understanding of what their staff expect, and how to keep them happy, we partnered with our friends at the HRC Show to undertake the UK’s largest hospitality worker survey. We spoke to 1,822 people from around the UK, across all parts of the hospitality sector, with more than half of them having worked in the industry for more than a decade.
Based on their feedback, here are my three key tips to make the most of your best asset now so your business can bounce back stronger post-lockdown.
1) Pay people properly
More than ever, the impact of shift cancellations means those who work in shift-based industries like yours are struggling to get by. You can’t check a customer in, work behind the bar, give customers a memorable experience or make a memorable meal for hundreds of people from home.
For 70 per cent of those we surveyed a “fair salary” is the most important factor at work. Paying people properly not only means abiding by the minimum wage, it’s a smart investment on your part to reward and incentivise above it for the people who make your business work.
2) Invest in training and development
The best chefs, concierges, sommeliers, cleaners and check in staff didn’t get there by chance and nor will your staff grow and develop without your ongoing investment in making them better at their jobs
50 per cent of the hospitality workers we spoke to think more training and development is important and will help them grow their careers — and your business — along with it. Right now is a good time to think about plans to increase this once you reopen. Plenty of online training programs and courses are available now, so have a look at what’s around and see whether this can work for your business.
3) Flexibility is your friend
With more demands on people’s time through multiple shift-based jobs, family commitments or study, it’s not surprising that 41% of those we spoke to think flexibility is something businesses like yours should embrace more. A recent HSBC study shows 89 per cent of workers think flexible working can motivate them to be more productive.
Flexibility is more than a buzzword and something people are being forced to do now because of COVID-19. Being responsive and agile to your employees’ changing needs — as well as the global and industry ones – is what will keep your staff motivated and more likely to help you grow your business for longer as you come together again and navigate your way through the COVID-19 bounce-back.
What does this mean for you?
Smart operators must change the way they work to keep good staff for longer by understanding that better customer experiences go hand in hand with better staff experiences. You can’t have a good business without good staff. In order to bounce back stronger post-lockdown, people will be your best investment.
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Main image credit: Planday