From the Frontlines: A Conversation with Mikki Taylor on Tech-driven Retention Strategies
Welcome back to From the Frontlines! In this series, Harri highlights members of our team who are up to big things and have inside insights into the hospitality industry. This week we chat with Mikki Taylor, a Sales Development Representative here at Harri. In this episode, we discuss the evolution of hospitality’s labor shortage and team-focused tactics to retain your best workers.
Hey Mikki, welcome back to another From the Frontlines Interview! Let’s start with hospitality’s labor shortage — what do you think is a major cause there?
Thanks for having me, excited to be here! Whether it’s poor working conditions or a lack of incentive for employees to stick with a brand, hospitality was lagging behind other industries on the employee experience front. COVID-19 has highlighted these issues, but restaurants should have been putting practices in place to boost employee retention long before the pandemic. It took a crisis for restaurants to realize the importance of their employees, and now brands are fighting hard for talent.
That all adds up. What are these businesses doing post-pandemic to retain employees and find new hires?
The most successful initiatives we’ve seen boil down to the employee experience. Hospitality operators are getting really creative with quality of life improvements for their employees to create an attractive workplace.
Some examples I’ve seen from top brands to attract and retain talent are GED assistance, higher education tuition aid, offering classes to teach employees a second language, paying student debt, upskilling workers, promoting general managers internally, and more.. Another tactic that yields great results is having executives visiting stores and thanking staff personally for their work.
Great examples. How does an employee experience strategy differ between franchises and privately owned businesses?
Corporate-owned restaurants may be more vulnerable to turnover and should implement employee-facing practices that include team-building and engagement. This helps solidify a team culture that keeps employees with the brand.
Privately owned restaurants tend to have a bit more flexibility as relationships are developed organically. Growth opportunities are more transparent and attainable for hourly workers.
Regardless of the type of business you operate, it’s extremely important to listen to employee concerns and let your teams know their importance and worth to your organization. Happy employees grow with your company, refer new workers, and perform better overall.
The pandemic put hospitality technology on display. Are you seeing any trends as restaurants continue to reopen?
In the past, technology’s focus was to create a great customer experience. Now restaurants are considering how it can be used to improve various aspects of the employee experience to prevent turnover.
We’re looking beyond just payroll, think scheduling, training, performance reviews, and more. Harri puts a good foundation in place to give employees the best experience from the beginning of their lifecycle and as they progress along with the company. To that end, we’re seeing more and more hospitality brands look for technology to enhance every step of the employee experience, making it easier for managers to build an amazing team culture.