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The difference good staff engagement makes in hospitality- a post by Tom Debenham, Managing Director, People Insight

People Insight has spent more than 20 years measuring employee engagement and helping businesses be the best employer they can be.

Now People Insight has teamed up with for the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards, which launched last week.

The hospitality industry face numerous headaches– challenging staff retention, low wages, awkward shift work, fast pace and lots of pressure. Your staff are one of your most important assets; and engaging them can make the difference between getting a glowing review or a stinging critique on Toptable, with thousands of people reading about your failures in an instant.

Best employers stand out a mile. Their staff turn up early or hang around at the end of their shift. They help their colleagues with tasks that aren’t in their job description, greet their customers enthusiastically, suggest ideas for menus or specials, and bring their mates or families in on their days off as customers.

The companies we have worked with over the years have all been committed to improving staff engagement. And here’s why:

  • 78% of engaged employees would recommend their company’s products or services, against 13% of the disengaged – (Gallup)
  • 70% of engaged employees have a good understanding of how to  meet customer needs; only 17% of non-engaged employees say the same (Right Management, CIPD)
  • Engaged employees take only 2.7 days sick per year vs. an average of 6.2 (CBI)
  • Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave (CLC)

Our research has identified a number of key factors which contribute to good staff engagement in hospitality. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your staff feel proud of your values?  At Pret a Manager, employees  are proud to know that in some tiny way they are helping towards London’s homelessness problem, as Pret distributes every unsold sandwich to homeless charities each night.
  • Do they feel valued? We find only 51% of employees surveyed feel recognised for the work they do. Do your line managers notice the things staff have done well and praise them?
  • Are they aware of genuine career opportunities? We find only 35% of employees believe their development aspirations are being met. Everyone should have the opportunity to discuss their options and reasons to stay.
  • Do they get a sense of achievement in their day to day work? Focus people on completing small, frequently set goals – be it mastering a new dish or cocktail, or putting a new skill learned into practice.
  • Are they feeling part of a joined up organisation, aware of what is going on? Internal communication is a frequent bugbear in companies surveyed.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be looking at what it takes to be a best employer, and providing tips based on our research. In the meantime, make sure you enter the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards!

Click here for more information on People Insight, click here.