Here’s a signal the economy might be back on track: 30 percent of hospitality employers are worried about losing key employees to better jobs, while 46 percent of hospitality employees say they are ready to start looking for a new job. How ready are you to deal with staff turnover at your restaurant?
For operators, two bright spots in the recent recession have been an uptick in the caliber of people who applied for work in their restaurants and a decrease in the often-torrid pace of employee job-hopping. But the findings of two recent surveys conducted for employment specialist firm CareerBuilder show that the era of relative employment calm may be coming to an end.
The company looked at the issue from two different angles. First it surveyed 115 hiring-level hospitality manager and human relations professionals. Subsequently, 365 full-time U.S. hospitality employees were quizzed on a different set of employment-related questions.
Employees, as per usual, pointed to several factors that made them dissatisfied with their current jobs: The top three were pay (43 percent wanted to earn more); work/life balance (33 percent think it’s out of whack); and career progress (38 percent don’t see real advancement opportunities where they currently work).
You could get numbers similar to these almost anytime you took a survey. But workplace practices put into place during the recession give these employee complaints more validity than they ordinarily might have.
“Many hospitality employers were forced to make unpopular, though necessary decisions during the recession in terms of adjustments in headcount, pay and overall strategy,” comments Jason Ferrara, CareerBuilders marketing v.p. “As the economy improves and resources are reinstated, companies are employing different ways to repair and enhance the employee experience and strengthen morale.”
Such as? CareerBuilder says the leading practices in this vein include “offering more flexible work arrangements or more performance-based incentives such as trips and bonuses and investing more in training and promising future raises or promotions topped the list. Providing a higher title without a higher salary also ranked in the top five.”
Will this be enough incentive to keep good employees—maybe your best employees— from jumping ship? The employee survey found that in addition to better pay and benefits—a given—employees said they were looking for a good work culture (61 percent) and a less-stressful work environment (59 percent) as they contemplate making a career move.
Other factors important to hospitality job-seekers include career advancement opportunities (58 percent); training and learning opportunities (52 percent); camaraderie, more family-like work environment (52 percent); company’s financial stability and growth potential (49 percent); flexible work arrangements (40 percent); and a sense of ownership in their position, that they can make a difference (37 percent).
We don’t know how many restaurants are in a position to hand out pay and benefit increases right now, even to their best employees. But some of these strategies that don’t require a cash outlay might be worth a look for many operators.