Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s Hospitality in the News topic: building a hotel staffing model.

Creating a memorable experience for your guests is the most important aspect of being a hotel manager. To do that, you need to have the right staff in place. A team that knows what’s expected of them and how to best do their jobs. But how do you build a hotel staffing model that accurately reflects your hiring and staffing needs?  

Building a Hotel Staffing Model 

There are quite a few things to consider when determining the best hotel staffing model for your property. If one of these steps is missed during the process, it can be detrimental to your operations and/or cost you time and money. Below, we’ll outline the best method for starting to build your hotel staffing model. Hopefully this will be something you can continue to use well into the future.  

Decide who owns the process 

If you don’t have a dedicated recruiter or hiring manager, there may be uncertainty surrounding who oversees hiring and staffing-related processes. This doesn’t necessarily have to be one person because hiring and scheduling can fall into different departments. Part of this decision is making sure the chosen person(s) is comfortable and knowledgeable enough to successfully complete their responsibilities. Otherwise you may run the risk of making a bad hire. 

Figure out what positions you need 

A huge aspect of staffing is having the right number of people available to work. That’s why one of the first steps in building a hotel staffing model is figuring out what positions you need to hire for. If you don’t know where to start, talk to your team members about what departments can use extra help.  

Once you’ve identified the positions, we suggest looking internally first. (It can be an easier way to staff harder to fill positions.) Are there current team members who are interested in being cross trained? Not only can cross training help you fill open positions, but it can also increase employee satisfaction. Teaching employees new skills shows you’re invested in their professional development, which keeps them more engaged.  

In addition to looking internally, you’ll also likely need to hire outside your organization. This is where the real fun begins. To start recruiting, you have to… 

Know how many people you need to hire for each position 

Some positions may require hiring multiple people to be fully staffed. It’s important to keep in mind the following:  

  • Seasonality or increases/decreases in business 
  • Average turnover for the position and your current retention rates 
  • Requests for part-time vs full-time 
  • Whether you need backup workers 

Remember that being short-staffed can have an impact on your current team. If they have to pick up extra hours or their shifts are particularly intense, it may cause burnout. Burnt out employees = higher turnover (something the hospitality industry can’t afford).  

Allocate time and money towards the recruiting and staffing process 

Know your budget and how much time you can dedicate to recruiting and staffing. Without this information, you may not have enough resources to find the candidates you need. Especially because managers interview on average 6-10 candidates before making a final decision. Multiply that by the number of people you need to hire, and it can add up.  

If your chosen hiring manager can’t allocate the necessary time towards managing these processes, candidates can fall off. With so many open hospitality positions available for them to choose from, you don’t want to lose out on great candidates because you didn’t give them the attention they deserve.  

Lay out the job description for each position 

If you don’t accurately portray the position you’re hiring for, you run a huge risk of employee turnover within the first 90 days. By being specific about the position, you may get less candidates up front. But then you’ll get people who are qualified and interested in the job. Factors like responsibilities, pay rate, and expectations should all be included in the job description.  

Choose your recruiting methods 

Recruiting has changed a lot in the last few years – or has it? If you want to actively hire someone, you have to be active about your recruitment methods. Which means you can’t just slap a “We’re Hiring” sign up on your door and expect that to solve all your problems.  

Candidates go through multiple channels to learn about new opportunities. Social media platforms have risen in popularity over the past several years as a place to job hunt. This is a great place to post jobs and find a variety of candidates.  

Traditional jobs boards should always be included in your recruiting efforts because of their popularity. We also suggest you utilize your greatest resource: your team. Ask if they have any referrals or if they could help spread the word that you’re hiring. Implementing a referral system is a great way to reward team members for great referrals and engage them in recruiting. In fact, studies show “88% of employers say referrals are the largest source for above-average applicants” according to BambooHR.  

A final option for effective recruitment is finding a staffing partner. They handle the time-consuming tasks associated with hiring and can provide workers to fill gaps in your team on a temporary or permanent basis. They’re also a great alternative if you don’t have someone who can dedicate their efforts to recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding.  

Begin interviewing and making hiring decisions 

We don’t want to tell you how to hire. What we do want to tell you is the importance of communication during the hiring process. Candidates should be notified whether they were hired or not. Yes, even candidates you’ve chosen not to hire. Why? Because communicating with candidates is one of the best ways to maintain a positive brand image. Word of mouth referrals are crucial and you don’t want someone who had a negative experience with your hotel sharing that information online or with their network.  

For the candidates you choose to hire, be mindful of the fact that the onboarding process is a place you’ll lose them if not engaged consistently. Make sure they have someone to go to with questions and that the process is optimized to be as efficient as possible. Once they’re fully onboarded, getting them on their first shift is key. Make sure they’re on the schedule as soon as possible.  

Carefully manage the schedule 

The final part of building a hotel staffing model is to create and manage your team members’ schedule. You’ll want to be extremely mindful of how you’re placing employees on shifts. Flexibility is a huge factor for workers right now. If you can’t provide that, they may turn to someone who can. In order to retain your current team, factor in their work life balance.  

You’ll also want to consider the following questions when creating the schedule: Are employees getting an equal number of shifts? Are you appropriately covered for seasonal changes in business? Will there be PTO requests you need to account for? Are you equipped to handle last-minute staff shortages due to call-offs and other absences? 

The Secret to Building a Hotel Staffing Model 

Part of your hotel staffing model needs to include a trusted staffing partner. This will set you apart from competitors because you’ll have someone in your back pocket that can cover last-minute staffing needs. No more unhappy guests due to being short-handed. Not only that but staffing partners like LGC can provide full-time employees in hourly to C-suite positions (and everything in between). Plus, staffing partners can assist with recruiting, interviewing, and scheduling. – taking that off your plate. With LGC, all you need to do is tell us who you need, and we’ll make it happen.  

Key Takeaways: 

  • Decide who owns the process 
  • Figure out what positions you need 
  • Know how many people you need to hire for each position 
  • Allocate time and money towards the recruiting and staffing process 
  • Lay out the job description for each position 
  • Choose your recruiting methods 
  • Begin interviewing and making hiring decisions 
  • Carefully manage the schedule 
  • Find a staffing partner that can help you accomplish your goals 

Building a hotel staffing model can take time but ultimately pays off. LGC can assist you with the process so you don’t have to do it alone. We’ll also create and manage an on-call worker pool to account for those tricky last-minute absences. LGC partners with hotels nationwide to fulfill their staffing needs and has experienced recruiters dedicated to working with hotels. Contact us today to learn more.