Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 29 2013

The Secret to Improving Employee Retention in the Hospitality Industry

By David McMillin, Staff Writer



Employees may come and go in many fields, but they’re doing so at a much faster pace in the hospitality industry. In fact, the turnover rate of hospitality employees is approximately 20 times the national average of employee turnover in the United States.

So how can hotels, restaurants and event planning organizations reduce their number of two-week notices from promising employees? According to new research conducted at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, improving employee retention in the hospitality industry starts with one simple leadership trait: authenticity.

The study involved 236 students in the hospitality industry and aimed to assess the leadership qualities of their direct-report managers. Dr. Anthony Gatlin, HeeJung Kang, PhD student, and Dr. Jungsun Kim conducted the research and found a strong correlation between authentic leadership and an employee’s organizational commitment. This link ultimately translates to a potential increase of 55 percent on employee turnover retention.

SEE ALSO: 5 Signs Your Star Employee Is About to Leave

“Authentic” may sound subjective, but the researchers outline four key traits that define this style of leadership.

Self-awareness - The ability to recognize personal strengths and weaknesses.

Balanced processing of information - An analytical approach to digesting data and making informed decisions.

Internalized moral perspective - A code of ethics that governs the way someone sees the world.

Relational transparency - Open and honest communication skills.

While it’s easy to assume that employees leave because they are looking for new opportunities that will lead to more money, the study highlights what many may forget: people do not simply want managers. They want role models who demonstrate that they truly care about their employees. Here are three easy ways to promote authentic leadership with your organization:

1)  Make your performance reviews meaningful -- and more frequent: Rather than the typical once-a-year check-in, consider asking managers to regularly sit down with employees to what they’re doing well and how they can improve.

SEE ALSO: Are Performance Reviews a Waste of Time?

2)  Focus on the long-term: While we work in a business environment that demands rapid results, employees want to feel like they’re part of something bigger. Think about where your organization is going, and outline that big-picture vision for everyone to help them feel more invested in the long-term payoff.

3)  Give everyone a sense of ownership: Forget micromanaging the team. Trust employees, and empower them to develop their own approach to completing assignments and finding solutions.

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