It’s no secret that employee engagement impacts performance, productivity, and guest satisfaction. But keeping hospitality employees engaged has been harder than ever in recent years. With the labor shortage, inflation, and generational shifts within a diverse workforce, hospitality organizations have had to come up with new ways to boost engagement.
At Beekeeper, we have worked with many companies in hospitality that have faced these challenges and succeeded. We spoke with two hospitality leaders to get their perspectives on specific strategies that have helped improve communication.
Our panelists were:
- Andrada Parschiv, VP of Hospitality, Beekeeper
- Melissa Lombardo, Director of Training and Quality, Conrad Hotels & Resorts
- Freddie Harmon, VP of Human Resources, Viejas Casino & Resort
In this webinar, we discussed:
- Frontline workforce challenges
- How to improve communication
- Employee engagement strategies
- The secret to employee recognition
Let’s get a recap of the discussion:
Challenges and Trends in Frontline Work
From our experience working with frontline organizations, we knew that the macro trends fueling the labor shortage included:
- Rising costs due to inflation, putting pressure on employees to find second jobs or jobs that pay more
- Generational and cultural shifts in a global workforce that is younger and more diverse
This means that improving employee engagement is harder than ever.
We wanted to delve deeper into what are the biggest motivators and stressors for frontline workers today.
In our Frontline Survey, we found that most managers and frontline workers are motivated by doing great work.Andrada Parschiv, Beekeeper
As expected, staffing was one of the main stressors for both frontline workers and managers. And while managers were more concerned with keeping their teams engaged, workers were more worried about the health and safety of their families.
When we dug deeper into what drives retention, we found that the most effective strategies were:
- Recognition and acknowledgment
- Predictable and reliable shifts
- Competitive benefits
Employee Engagement Strategies
Effective communication is the core of a successful organization, but it’s not always easy to achieve and maintain in hospitality. We asked our panelists how they have managed to improve their communication strategies.
Before adopting Beekeeper, Viejas Casino & Resort was using traditional communication methods like email to reach their frontline workforce. But only 35% of their staff had email, and most of those employees were part of the leadership and admin teams.
With Beekeeper, Viejas has been able to:
- Ensure every frontline employee receives daily briefs, even when off shift
- Give employees access to policy and process information
- Drastically improve employee engagement
Viejas was also able to digitize menial tasks so that employees can get them done quicker and focus on tasks with more added value. With Beekeeper’s Forms feature, they were able to make operations more efficient and free up time for both employees and managers.
At Conrad Hotels, pre-shift briefings are essential to smooth daily operations. Melissa Lombardo explained that employees were used to receiving all pre-shift information in one document. But for frontline employees who are constantly on the go, that could be hard to keep track of.
With Beekeeper, Conrad Hotels was able to digitize pre-shift information like operational details, VIP names, and service standards. Employees could then refer back to that information during their shifts by checking the app on their phones.
Another way Conrad keeps employees engaged with Beekeeper is by holding contests where employees can demonstrate daily standards. Below are examples of how employees have made the extra effort to stage guest beds.
“It really has sparked internal camaraderie because there’s such a unified pride for what people are able to do.”Melissa Lombardo, Conrad Hotels & Resorts
Building a Successful Employee Recognition Program
Before adopting Beekeeper, Conrad Hotels had a peer-to-peer recognition program for employees to recognize each other for specific behaviors associated with delivering outstanding guest experiences.
Post-pandemic, they sought to breathe new life into the program with Beekeeper’s Forms. Not only did employee engagement increase, but the digitization process helped Melissa with tracking how employee recognition impacts the guest experience.
With Conrad’s new employee recognition program, Melissa was able to see a direct correlation between increased recognition and an increase in both the overall quality of service and the cleanliness of guest rooms.
“We have seen our communication and engagement metric scores in our team member surveys increase anywhere between two and five points.”Melissa Lombardo, Conrad Hotels & Resorts
For Viejas Casino & Resort, digitizing the employee recognition program with Beekeeper has created a significant impact on company culture:
“What has happened that I never had imagined is the camaraderie that it’s built across departments because team members are recognizing other team members in other departments in such an impactful way that it’s bringing our teams closer together and creating an amazing culture.”Freddie Harmon, Viejas Casino & Resort
Humanizing the Relationship with Your Employees
While the past few years have been difficult for the hospitality industry, some companies, like Conrad Hotels, have been able to achieve their highest levels of employee engagement. Melissa says that transparent and frequent communication was essential, especially during the pandemic when many employees were furloughed.
For Conrad Hotels, taking a holistic approach to communication and varying the kinds of information they post on Beekeeper has helped keep employee engagement at an all-time high. Not only do employees have vital shift information at their fingertips, but they can also access mental health resources and short training videos.
Viejas Casino and Resort has also embraced the varied communication approach by making sure there are plenty of lighthearted ways employees can stay engaged on Beekeeper. Using the Streams feature to celebrate employees’ pets has proved to be a massive success. They’ve found that the familiarity employees have with other social media platforms translates well into engagement on Beekeeper, where they can like, comment and share posts.