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Key Challenges of Attracting and Retaining Employees in the Hospitality Industry


Assessment Task : For Assessment 2, you selected a sector to study (e.g. agriculture; construction; financial services; health care; hospitality; manufacturing; mining; retail; transport).

You will write an essay on the key challenges in attracting and retaining a workforce in your selected sector.

Your essay will draw on at least five themes from Week 1 to Week 11 of this unit, being those most relevant to your selected industry sector.


Introduction: The hospitality industry is a vast sector including lodging services, theme or amusement parks, transportation services and other sectors of the tourism industry. Hospitality industry provides the customers quality treatment and services. The services of the hospitality industry can be categorized into three major groups- accommodation or lodging, food and beverage or fooding, and travel and tourism. Hospitality industry always deals with customers directly. The growth of any organization of hospitality sector depends on their relationship with the customers. Loyal and long-term relationships are required to thrive in the hospitality sector. The employees of hospitality sector have to deal with the customers in a proper way. A skilled hospitality employee possesses the characteristics of empathy, good communicator, insightful, knowledgeable about different community people. He or she must be good at resolving conflicts. Therefore, staff selection is a very necessary element of hospitality services. An experienced employee can provide more quality services to the customers than an inexperienced one. Therefore, retaining the employees is very important whereas, new employees are also needed to serve the ever-growing customer base.

This essay focuses on attracting and retaining employees in the hospitality industry. The challenges in retaining employees in the hospitality industry are discussed in the essay.

Key Challenges in Attracting and Retaining Employees: From the ancient time, people try to provide warm welcome and special treatments to the travelers and guests. This trend continues in today’s world also. The hospitality industry has become a critical factor in the world economy. Hospitality industry always changes itself according to the society's changing needs and demands. In present day, people prefer relaxation, comfort, and experience over price. In leisure time, people tend to seek luxurious services for entertainments. Hospitality industry includes accommodation, fooding and tourism. These are in high demand of the customers. The hospitality industry is growing massively over last few decades. The economic boom in the developed countries has increased the number of travelers. The technological, economical as well as social developments are the root causes of the growth of hospitality industry. New technological innovations provide advanced services and experiences to the customers. Digitalization has made communication more easy which in turn affected the hospitality industry positively. Grobelna & Marciszewska (2016) commented that in order to satisfy the customers and to fulfill their demands, large number of employees is needed. Hence, hospitality industry has becoming a good option as career. Experienced and skillful employees are needed to deal with the customers.

In order to maintain the quality of services, attracting new employees and retaining the good old ones, both are equally important. Gehrels (2015) stated that loyal and long-term relationship with the clients is very crucial to maintain the growth of the hospitality sector. Retention of the old employees is important for the economic growth of the organization. It helps an organization in many ways. Longevity of the employees increases the reputation of the company which in turn attracts new employees. Vasquez (2014) opined that high employee turnover results in dissatisfaction of the clients related to a particular organization. New employees require training to provide services, whereas, employee retention allows a company to produce more. The time and the facilities to provide training can be utilized to provide services to the customers. A company has to provide a healthy working environment, respect for the employees, healthy communication network within the organization to retain their staffs (Fernandez & Worasuwan, 2017).

The hospitality industry is ever changing. The managers face difficult to deal with the continuously changing workforce. The organizations serving in hospitality sector demand the best possible human talent to serve the customers. The continuous competition between the organizations creates the problem for staff retention. A skilled employee can leave an organization for better opportunities. Providing proper facilities to employees can result in their job satisfaction. Scott (2016) commented that higher employee satisfaction results in higher employee retention.

In the hospitality sector, the human factor is the key aspect. Employee turnover can harm a company in a multidimensional way. Time, money and talent or skills, all are negatively affected by employee turnover. Employee turnover is an indicator of employee dissatisfaction within any organization. The working environment, the rules, and regulations, the relationship between the employees and higher authorities can be the factors related to employee retention. A higher rate of employee turnover of a company depicts that the modification of the organizational structure is necessary immediately. Fair pay and wages make the employees stay in a company for a long time. Chahal & Poonam (2017) stated that selection and hiring of the correct people also affect the employee retention. Along with job satisfaction, organizational commitment is also a critical factor in employee retention. If an employee has moral values to attain his or her commitment to the organization, employee turnover rate will be reduced. Employee retention of a company has a positive impact on the employee’s turnover of the same. Hannington (2016) commented that employee retention is beneficial to build the image of a company.

The attitude of the higher authorities towards the employees is a prime factor in employee retention. The employees of hospitality sector have to deal with a variety of customers. The job of satisfying all the customers is not an easy task. Moreover, if the higher authorities ill-treat the employees, the staff turnover of a company has to increase. Baum et al. (2016) stated that the workplace and the working environment of a company are driving reason for employee retention.

The employees of the hospitality sector spend a lot of time in their workplace. Hence, the relationship with the co-workers and the higher authorities is very crucial. A healthy workplace allows the employees to provide quality services to the customers.

The longevity of the staffs within an organization increases the skill and knowledge of the organization as a whole. Experienced and skillful employees increase the strength of the company. The market of the human labor is volatile. Moreover, the competitive market in hospitality sector increases the chances of employee turnover. The high rate of employee turnover affects the organizational performance of the company. This, in turn, results in the dissatisfaction of the customers.

Baker (2014) commented that a good organization develops a workplace according to the ever-changing needs, demands, and interests of the customers, employees and the organization as a whole. This makes an organization the employer of choice.

The hospitality industry is growing every day. Therefore, the demand of the employees is also increasing. In order to cope up with the changing global trends, an organization has to attract new employees along with attending the old ones. The selection of new employees is very crucial as hospitality industry involves direct dealing with a variety of customers. Outgoing personality and ability to work as a team should be the characteristics of the new employees. The new employees must be trained according to the organizational demand of the company. A healthy relationship between the co-workers helps the new employees to adapt to the working environment easily. Productive interaction with the experienced employees increases the efficiency of the new ones. The employee retention rate of a company enhances its popularity among the potential new employees.

Employees are the critical factor of any company’s reputation. The behavior and attitude of the employees toward the customer creates a brand identity of the organization (Wallace et al. 2014).

Effective leadership is important for employee retention. An effective leader motivates the employees to increase their efficiency, enhances the moral values of them and improves the sense of loyalty towards the company. All these result in, employee retention in a company.

The hospitality industry is very changing and very much competitive. These make retention of skillful employees very challenging. The experienced and skillful employees often leave their existing company for better opportunities. Employee retention is achievable if a company has proper management strategies. The company must encourage the employees to stay. Employee empowerment can be a driving force to make the employees stay. The organizational culture and the working processes should be employee friendly. Higher authority and the general employees should communicate with each other to maintain a sustainable work culture.

The different themes of employee retention are as follows-

  • Onboarding and Orientation: In order to make an employee established within a company, Onboarding and orientation are very much needed. Onboarding is a continuous process of making an employee established from the first day of work. Orientation provides an employee the knowledge about the respective organization and about his or her responsibility. An employee should first know about the products and services of the company and then about the responsibilities that he or she has to perform. Without the knowledge of these, an employee cannot proceed to work. Onboarding and orientation include a series of training or actions that make a new employee productive and efficient in his or her job (Prayag & Hosany, 2015). This increases the job satisfaction of the employees. Job satisfaction is the key to employee retention. Knowing a company closely enhances the relationship between the employee and the employers. Onboarding depicts the day to day task of an employee and how it is relevant to achieve the organizational goals.
  • Mentorship programs: A mentor is an experienced person in a particular sector, which assists an inexperienced one to gain knowledge about the same. Mohan & Arumugam (2016) stated that hospitality sector demands to deal with a variety of people belonging from different communities and cultures. Experience and skill to handle different people are needed to serve the customers. A new employee may not be able to do this from the very first day and this creates pressure on them. This can be a reason for employee turnover. Mentorship program can be helpful to guide the new employees. An experienced employee can be paired up with a new one for few days. This helps the newcomers to get accustomed to the working culture of the respective company. The mentorship program is a two-way communication, where the experienced employee guides the new one and the newcomer can offer fresh viewpoints to the experienced one.
  • Employee Compensation: In the competitive world of the hospitality industry, employee compensation is required to make the employees stay (Boella, 2017). Employee compensation includes fair pay and wages, bonus and incentives, paid leaves, health benefits and it may also include attractive retirement plans. The facilities offered by a company to their employees should be different and more lucrative than that of others. This attracts the potential new customers to join the company and as well as it retains the old employees. All the employees must be aware of the facilities and compensations provided to them.
  • Recognition and Reward System: When an employee tries his or her best to achieve the organizational goal, he or she expects some appreciation from the higher authority. The appreciation can be as small as a sincere email. This motivates the employees to perform more efficiently. As per Naidu & Chand (2014), the hospitality industry is very competitive the employers must be strategic to increase the employee retention. Appreciation makes an employee feel that he or she important for the respective organization. Rewards can also be allocated for hard work. Incentives, an extra day off, bonus or any other rewards can be given as a token of appreciation. This also enhances the relationship between the higher authority and the employees. Not only for hard works, may rewards be provided for innovative and unique ideas also.
  • Work-life Balance: Extreme work pressure, long duty hours, lack of day off can cause employee dissatisfaction. This in turn results in employee turnover of the respective company. In order to attain employee satisfaction a company should allow their employees to maintain a balance between work and life. A healthy work life can enhance the efficiency of the employees. The management team should show empathy towards the employees. The higher authority should encourage the employees to go to vacations on regular interval. Flexible time schedules should be provided to the workers. As hospitality industry demands 24/7 public service, the employees must be given duty hours suitably. For example, if an employee is being allocated to night duty on Monday and morning duty Tuesday, it will be very tough for him or her. The duty hours should be flexible and the employees should not be overstressed. Suitable duty hours attract the employees to stay in a respective company.
  • Dealing with change: The hospitality industry is ever changing. The business strategies of the companies must be modified in regular interval to cope up with the change. The changes may not be pleasant all the time. The employees have to face unpleasant situation due to major changes sometimes. In the crisis situation, the employees depend on the higher authority to recover it. A company should communicate with the employees properly in such situation. The employees must be aware of the coming changes, modifications, and their consequences. The doubts and queries of the employees must be clarified by the management teams. Otherwise, it will give rise to unpleasant rumors. This can be the reason for employee loss.
  • Fostering Teamwork: Teamwork is always more effective and efficient than the individual work. Young & Boluk (2012) commented that fostering teamwork increases the profitability of a company. While working in a team the employees can exchange the knowledge and information to each other. The viewpoints of every worker come up which helps to make the right organizational decision. This encourages every employee to share their ideas. The team objectives and duties, business goals, roles of individual employee are discussed among the employees. This enhances the understanding of the employees. Disciplined and well-managed workplace retains the employees to stay in the respective company.

The hospitality industry is the vast sector combining food and beverages, accommodation and travel and tourism. The industry runs on the basis of customer service. The hospitality industry is ever changing with the changes in social needs and demands. The economic growth in the developed country has boasted the hospitality industry massively. It has become a critical factor in the world economy. Digitalization and technological development have contributed to the growth of hospitality industry. Social and economic development has increased the number of travelers across the world. The hospitality industry needs large human resources to serve a large number of customers. The competitive and ever-changing nature of the hospitality industry results in a large number of employee turnover. The companies face challenges in employee retention.

Employee turnover has a negative impact on the economy of any company. It is an indicator of the fact the company's organizational structure requires modification. Employee turnover causes customer dissatisfaction too. The hospitality industry is built on the loyal and long-term relationship with the customers. Employee retention helps to build the reputation and image of a company. Some of the company uses employee branding as a marketing strategy. The employers undertake different strategies to increase the employee retention as it is beneficial for the company. Onboarding, orientation, mentorship programs are carried out to establish the new employees and to make them aware of their responsibilities. Attractive employee compensation is provided by the companies to be different from each other. Employees prefer companies with lucrative facilities. Rewards and incentives are provided to the employees to appreciate their hard works. Suitable duty hours are offered to the employees to make them stay in respective organizations. The employees are trained well to deal with the unpleasant changes occurring within the organization as a team.

Reference List:
Baker, T. (2014). Attracting and retaining talent: Becoming an employer of choice. US: Springer.
Boella, M. (2017). Human resource management in the hotel and catering industry. Abingdon: Routledge.
Hannington, T. (2016). How to measure and manage your corporate reputation. Abingdon: Routledge.

Chahal, H. S., & Poonam. (2017). Study of Organisational Culture, Employee Turnover and Employees' Retention in hospitality sector. PACIFIC BUSINESS REVIEW INTERNATIONAL, 9(11), 119-125. Retrieved from <> [05/05/2018]

Grobelna, A., & Marciszewska, B. (2016, April). Work motivation of tourism and hospitality students: implications for human resource management. In Proceedings of the 8th European Conference on Intellectual Capital, ECIC (pp. 95-103). Retrieved from [05/05/2018]

Mohan, A. K. L., & Arumugam, D. (2016). A Study on evaluation of Human Resource Practices in Hotel Industry with special reference to selected Hotels in Chennai City. International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, 6(4), 268-273.

Naidu, S., & Chand, A. (2014). A comparative analysis of best human resource management practices in the hotel sector of Samoa and Tonga. Personnel Review, 43(5), 798-815.

Prayag, G., & Hosany, S. (2015). Human resource development in the hotel industry of Mauritius: myth or reality?. Current Issues in Tourism, 18(3), 249-266.

Wallace, M., Lings, I., Cameron, R., & Sheldon, N. (2014). Attracting and retaining staff: the role of branding and industry image. In Workforce development (pp. 19-36). Springer, Singapore. Retrieved from [05/05/2018]

Young-Thelin, L., & Boluk, K. (2012). A case study of human resource practices in small hotels in Sweden. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, 11(4), 327-353.

Online Articles
Baum, T., Cheung, C., Kong, H., Kralj, A., Mooney, S., Ramachandran, S., ... & Siow, M. L. (2016). Sustainability and the tourism and hospitality workforce: A thematic analysis. Sustainability, 8(8), 809. Retrieved from <> [05/05/2018]

Fernandez, K. M., & Worasuwan, K. (2017). Drivers of Hotel Employee Retention: A Comparative Study. Retrieved from [05/05/2018]

Gehrels, S. (2015). Future directions for international education and research on hospitality. Research in Hospitality Management, 5(1), 77-84. Retrieved from [05/05/2018]

Scott, M. E. (2016). Strategies for retaining employees in the hospitality industry (Doctoral dissertation, Walden University). Retrieved from [05/05/2018]
Vasquez, D. (2014). Employee retention for economic stabilization: A qualitative phenomenological study in the hospitality sector. Retrieved from [05/05/2018]


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