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Hospitality staff in a cafe looking at a laptop

The secret to staff retention in hospitality

If you’re finding the cost of employee turnover unsustainable – you’re not alone. Hospitality employers across the country are struggling with the cost of recruitment as the industry faces a staffing drought coupled with unwanted levels of staff turnover.

In fact, nine out of ten hospitality business leaders expect to face staff shortages.1 80% of hospitality operators are reporting front of house vacancies.2 42% of staff leave their jobs within 90 days.3 And the sector has an employee turnover rate of 30% – double that of the UK average – and is forecasted to increase.4

But why is the sector facing these recruitment and retention challenges?


Many EU workers have returned home and employers need to recruit UK workers to fill the gap.5

Work-life balance

Long shifts, difficult working conditions and anti-social hours contribute to staff leaving their jobs.6

Lack of career prospects

According to a YouGov study, just 3% of respondents answered that they chose to work in hospitality for the career prospects it offered.7

So let’s explore how the hospitality sector businesses are responding, and how these strategies might help your business reduce the costs of both recruitment and employee turnover.

Closing the skill gap and minimise employee turnover in hospitality

The sector is responding by igniting (or reigniting) a passion for the sector, getting a message out that there are careers in the sector and investing in employment practices.

Innovating to find new talent streams

Businesses are using new tactics including ‘refer a friend’ schemes. One UK pub operator says those hired through ‘refer a friend’ were 80% more likely to stay with a brand for over a year.8

Providing a better employment experience

Hospitality is not for the faint of heart. Even before the pandemic, hospitality businesses demanded employees with passion and gusto for the industry. Small acts of reward and recognition can go a long way to improving morale and staff retention. Flexibility and listening to staff preferences when it comes to shift work will show employees they are valued. Employee benefits that address stress and mental health issues are beneficial in this fast-paced environment. But above all, employers that foster positive mental health will ensure their management team know how to open up to sensitive conversations with their staff.

Focusing on training and development

When you invest in your staff’s professional development, you make them feel like valued members of your team, which decreases employee turnover. E-learning, shadowing and manager coaching are some of the areas businesses are implementing.9

Differentiating compensation models

Profit sharing, tips, friends and family discount, or using your businesses products and services as perks can serve as great incentives to attract and retain employees who work hard and serve customers with the highest standards.10

Calculate your employee turnover rate

Having high staff turnover can be costly. It is now more important than ever for hospitality businesses to revisit their recruitment strategy and elevate their efforts to recruit the best talent. Use our employee turnover calculator to see the cost of disengaged employees, loss of productivity and finding your next new recruit.



1 https://harpers.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/28881/Recruitment_and_retention__91huge_92_concerns_for_hospitality.html
2 https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/news/567435/UKHospitality-warns-sector-faces-staffing-crisis-and-calls-on-Government-to-stick-to-roadmap.htm
3 https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/blogpost/1721400/318825/Closing-the-gap-on-the-candidate-crisis-in-hospitality?h
4 https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/blogpost/1721400/325437/Retaining-Staff
5 https://www.standard.co.uk/business/hospitality-staffing-crisis-restaurants-pubs-vacancies-b936253.html
6 https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/blogpost/1721400/318825/Closing-the-gap-on-the-candidate-crisis-in-hospitality?
7 https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/blogpost/1721400/325437/Retaining-Staff
8 https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/blogpost/1721400/318825/Closing-the-gap-on-the-candidate-crisis-in-hospitality
9 https://www.innform.io/2020/01/16/attracting-and-retaining-top-talent-in-the-hospitality-industry/
10 https://hiring.monster.com/employer-resources/recruiting-strategies/talent-acquisition/5-ways-to-attract-leisure-and-hospitality-candidates/

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