Recruiting, training, and managing a strong and connected team is as crucial for delivering exceptional guest service and attaining success in the hospitality industry as it is daunting. It requires a significant investment of time and resources to ensure that the right people are hired, properly trained, and motivated to stay with your business over the long term.
This can be especially challenging in the hospitality industry, where turnover rates can be as high as 70%. In this article, we will discuss five ideas for creating a cohesive and strong team for your hotel.
We asked 20 hospitality professionals about their most unique experiences when looking for and starting a new role in a hotel.
Hiring done right
Recruitment is the first step in building a successful hospitality team, and it starts with finding individuals who are passionate about the industry, possess the necessary character traits, and are committed to building a career within your business.
However, sorting through stacks of applications can be a daunting task, and differentiating one candidate from another can be challenging. To simplify the process and to find the right candidates quickly, it's essential to establish clear objectives that will help you quickly identify who to interview.
Here are the top tips from our hospitality professionals:
- Be specific and transparent in your job descriptions, employee expectations, and salary. Don’t hide any information that would help you to already sort out some candidates before the hiring process has started.
- When a new role opens, start by looking internally and asking for referrals from current employees - this can often lead to reliable and personable candidates, that fit your current team and your work culture.
- Ask your employees where they would be looking for their next job, and use those channels (like hospitality-specific job boards or social media channels) to post your open jobs.
- Sit down with the team you’re hiring for to create a checklist of required skills and traits can help you quickly and accurately score a candidate's potential. By including your team in this process, you can be sure that the person you are looking to hire, will not only be a good fit on a professional but also personal level.
- Consider using video applications to provide a quick sense of how a candidate might fit into your business. Be sure to set a time limit of 1-minute elevator pitches.
One effective approach to recruitment is to think of it in the same way you would approach trying to win over potential guests. Targeting the right people and showcasing the benefits of working for your business while incorporating your brand identity into your advertising can help attract the right candidates.
Now it’s time to interview - best practices + unique interview questions
During the interview process, it's important to ask questions that provide insight into the applicant's skills, experience, and personality. By doing so, you'll be able to make a more informed decision about whether they're a good fit for the role and your business.
For every best practice, we collected the most unique question our hotel professionals were asked in an interview:
Use role-specific & unique questions: Ask questions that are relevant to the role they're applying for. For example, if they're applying for a front desk position, ask them a question that they couldn’t prepare for, like:
“If a guest approached you and said they lost their wedding ring in their room, how would you handle the situation?”
This question assesses the candidate's problem-solving skills and ability to handle guest complaints or requests. It also tests their honesty and trustworthiness, since it involves a valuable item that the guest may be emotionally attached to.
Ask about problem-solving skills: In the hospitality industry, employees often need to think on their feet and find solutions to unexpected challenges. Ask the candidate how they would respond to a problem or obstacle - use actual examples from your hotel with the help of your current employees. Example question: “Imagine a guest has lost their luggage and needs to attend a business meeting in a few hours. What steps would you take to help them?”
Gauge their communication skills: Hospitality employees need to communicate effectively with colleagues and guests. Ask the candidate about their communication style and how they handle difficult conversations. Example question: “How would you handle a guest who is upset and insisting on a refund, but their issue is not covered by the hotel's policies?”
Assess their personality: In addition to skills and experience, personality is an important factor in hospitality roles. Here’s a question that helps you assess the personality of the candidate: “If you were a hotel guest, what type of room would you choose and why?”
When prioritizing candidates, consider people skills above all else, as personality is often untrainable and crucial when interacting with guests.
Setting your employees up for success - here are our 5 unique ideas for a successful onboarding and training program
The hard work starts once you’ve hired the candidates - it’s time to train them and set them up for success. Here are 5 unique ideas to do so. The goal? Keeping the turnover rate (and thus the costs related to it) to an absolute minimum while building a strong and connected team.
Creating the onboarding program: Create a program that is designed to train employees fully, before you send them into the field - this will save you a lot of time and money in the long-run. By using a tool like Hoxell you can digitalize the trainings materials and make them as easy accessible as possible for your new team members.
Who is who: Make employees aware of where they can go to ask questions, seek help, or discover upskilling possibilities. Example: one of our hotel professional, we’ve talked to, spoke about a time when a hotel he had worked at had “who is who” wall hung up in the back office. It outlined exactly who was the expert in what field within the hotel and who could help with what. For example, Pietro at the front office always knew how to fix key card problems - so new front desk employees knew exactly that he would be the right person to talk to if they ever had a question about programming key cards.
"Day in the Life" Shadowing: Pair up new employees with a more experienced employee in their department for a day-long shadowing experience. This will give them a firsthand look at what their job entails and will allow them to learn from someone who has been successful in the role - also, it will build the team connection.
Gamification: Use gamification techniques, such as quizzes and challenges, to make training and onboarding more engaging and fun. This can also help employees retain information better.
There are many more ideas like those - be creative and involve your best-performing team members in the creating of the onboarding ad training program. Make it unique and personal.
In conclusion, building a strong and connected hotel team in the hospitality industry requires effort and commitment from the entire team. By implementing the tips discussed in this article and utilizing tools like Hoxell Quality Operations, you can create a cohesive team that delivers exceptional guest service and achieves success for your hotel.
A huge thanks goes to our hospitality professionals for sharing their experiences and ideas with us.