Winning the Staff Retention Battle

Winning the Staff Retention Battle
By Max Moussa, Hotel Manager, Ufford Park Woodbridge

According to the 2018 Retaining Britain’s Hospitality Workers report by YouGov and Deputy, the hospitality sector is experiencing high staff turnover rates which could worsen after Brexit.

Unsociable working hours (69%), low pay and benefits (63%), and lack of career prospects (35%) were the top three reasons people cited for leaving the sector. And, as the third largest private employer in the UK, the sector stands to suffer significantly from a shortfall of skilled workers as a result of Brexit.

So how can our hotel industry weather the storm?

There are two main challenges; attracting the right people and keeping them.

The UK hospitality industry has an employee turnover rate of 30 percent, meaning that three in ten leave their role within a year. According to the research, only 40 percent of those surveyed said it is viable to have a long-term career in this sector.

This perception is one that we need to dispel by making it clear that there is room to grow from the outset. Only by offering people the opportunity to progress will we be more attractive for people coming into the business.

Training and development initiatives not only make you more attractive as an employer, they are essential for staff retention. And, recognising employee strengths and enabling professional development is vital for a happy workforce.

The statistics speak for themselves; 42 percent of people surveyed said better career prospects would make them less likely to leave a hospitality role; proving that if we can offer the chance to develop professionally, we can achieve higher staff retention rates.

This is something that is proving successful at Ufford Park.

Our ethos is that to achieve our company vision of customer service excellence, everyone needs to be facing the same way on the bus. And every member of the team needs to buy into what we are trying to achieve.

We make this a reality through staff training and by offering personalised development programmes to every employee. As a result, a large proportion of our team is made up of long serving members of staff.

We are lucky, but this loyalty is not all down to luck, it’s something we have worked hard to create and are incredibly proud of.

So, how do we engender loyalty?

It’s down to three factors:

1. Capability focused recruitment

2. Obtaining ‘buy in’ to the company vision

3. Training and development

Get the right fit when recruiting and you are closer to winning the retention battle.

Our view is that skills can be taught but capability and attitude can’t. We put more emphasis on ‘the right fit’ than on qualifications.

Post-Brexit the skilled workforce pool may be smaller, but this needn’t be a crisis for the hotel sector. By implementing the right staff development programmes and adjusting recruitment strategies to focus on capability over skills, we know we can weather the storm.

Max Moussa is Hotel Manager at Ufford Park Woodbridge Hotel, Golf and Spa, an independently owned family business with a Quality in Tourism 3-star Silver accreditation. For more information visit or call 01394 383555

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