Front-line teams in hospitality are feeling under increased pressure as the sector emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, with industry staff shortages a major contributor.
As a result, many workers have become less satisfied with their jobs with nearly half (45%) saying their employment is less appealing now than it was previously.
The findings come in a new survey-based report, Transforming The Employee Experience In Hospitality, from employee experience platform Harri and data and insight consultancy CGA.
The survey also shows that teams would welcome more and better implemented technology in the workplace, with digital clocking-in and out, smart scheduling and shift management highlighted as areas that technology could help improve their work experience the most.
Unsociable hours (cited by 54%), increased workload (49%) and pay not matching the job (47%) were the top reasons given by employees to explain current staff shortages.
While some workers say they lack appreciation, nevertheless, the report reveals that 61% of hospitality employees remain satisfied in their current roles, enjoying more flexibility (54%) and greater appreciation (42%). Those that saw their jobs as less appealing highlighted insufficient pay rises (72%), a lack of appreciation from their employers (53%) and a decrease in tips (34%) as key reasons.
When considering accepting a job, pay (stated by 63%) and flexibility (49%) were the main deciding factors, the survey found. Almost all those surveyed agreed that employers could make better use of technology to improve their work experience, with nine out of 10 saying technology needed to improve within the workplace and 38% believing technology was more important to their role than it was pre-COVID-19.
Overall, employees see staff shortages, mentioned by 58%, as the biggest challenge in hospitality now, followed by unsociable hours (51%) and inexperienced staff (37%).
“Employers can’t do a great deal to fix some of the employees’ challenges mentioned, such as unreasonable guest demands, but it is possible to tackle other bugbears like ineffective communication, lack of flexibility and pressure from managers. By addressing these, businesses can make a significant difference to retention rates,” commented Pete Willis, Harri’s commercial director UK & EMEA.
“Now is the time to repay employees; the industry has taken a massive hit and one of the biggest priorities is to improve their work life; give them the right technology to elevate their employee experience and help them achieve the work-life balance they need through efficient shift management and payroll functionality,” he added.
Karl Chessell, CGA’s director, hospitality operators & food, EMEA, commented: “This research provides fascinating intelligence about the attitudes of current and potential staff, and emphasises how COVID-19 has made them think much more about wellbeing, flexibility and long-term career paths. It also highlights the crucial role of technology in keeping staff closely engaged with their businesses and colleagues. It’s abundantly clear that as hospitality builds back and battles some fierce headwinds, businesses that can deliver good experiences for their employees will have a huge advantage.”
The in-depth Working in Hospitality employee survey was conducted by CGA and Harri among a select group of front-line employees in pubs, restaurants and hotels. Further data has been drawn from CGA’s Brandtrack, CGA & AlixPartners’ Market Recovery Monitor, Coffer CGA Business Tracker, CGA UKHospitality’s Quarterly Hospitality Tracker and the CGA Consumer Pulse surveys. In addition in-depth interviews were conducted with 10 leading employers to compile a full report: ‘Transforming the Employee Experience in Hospitality’. For more information, please contact Chris.Jeffrey@cgastrategy.com