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4 Ways to Keep Your Hospitality Staff Motivated (& Happy)

When it comes to your hospitality business’s success, there’s one fundamental guideline you should always abide by — keep your staff happy.

If you thought “making guests’ happy” is the more critical goal for your bottom line, you’re not wrong. Guests are your bread and butter. But what you may not be seeing is that your staff is the heart of your business and their satisfaction directly correlates to your guests’ happiness. Their friendliness, proficiency and professionalism impact every aspect of the guest experience, from the moment front desk employees greet visitors to the way the housekeeping staff performs their duties. It all leaves an impression that can make or break your success.

But how do you create a culture that inspires your workforce to stay dedicated, motivated and content? It’s actually not that hard.

Remember Communication Is Key

Honesty and openness are the secret to every great relationship and that includes working relationships. Make sure those in management positions are approachable and accessible, giving the staff opportunities to share ideas, ask for guidance and — if mistakes or grievances come into play — explain their side of the story. That open-door atmosphere leads to a kinship and trust that can make an enormous impact on everyone involved. As the old adage goes: communication is key.

Create a Team Environment

Teamwork is more than a clichéd phrase, it’s the foundation of long-lasting success in practically any line of work. That’s why it’s imperative that you foster an environment built on a team dynamic, where everyone understands the importance of their role and how it seamlessly becomes a part of the whole. To ensure that concept is weaved into the fabric of your hospitality business, get creative. Bring in a pro to host team building exercises that are fun and inspiring. Have a property-wide lunch catered in once a month to bring the staff together in a low-key, friendly setting. Show they’re part of your team by asking for their viewpoint on decisions that affect the business. You could even set up a contest soliciting ideas for fresh features like new amenities or additions to room service menus. Involving and engaging. That’s the secret to successful teamwork.

Put Advancement Potential on the Table

Staff overturn is a much too-common problem in the hospitality industry. The number one reason for that plight is lack of opportunity. If your best team members don’t think career advancement is possible, they’ll typically gain experience and then move on. Don’t let that happen. Show them that working hard and being successful in their roles can lead to new opportunities within your business. Make a pledge to promote from within instead of bringing in outside candidates for higher positions. Champion their efforts to earn a hospitality degree by providing partial tuition for long-term, full-time employees. Send interested staff to training seminars and workshops to help enrich their skill sets. Ideas that demonstrate how you’re investing in their potential reveals a sense of appreciation and commitment to their future.

Reward Exceptional Work in a Personal Way

Never underestimate the power of a simple thank you. Or a small gesture that expresses “I know what a great job you do every day.” That acknowledgment achieves more than you can imagine. It tells your staff that you pay attention and that their individual achievements are worthy of recognition. It reinforces their confidence and encourages others to work harder. It stimulates an infectiously positive attitude that can influence everyone from fellow staff members to guests. So observe closely, talk to managers and listen to what guests have to say — then reward those who deserve it the most. That can be in the form of a gift card (i.e. spa gift card or restaurant gift card), a one-on-one lunch out or even just a literal pat on the back. Trust us, it matters. And it works.

Are any of these suggestions already incorporated into your operation? Let us know how you keep your employees happy.