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How Can You Create a Strong Company Culture in Hospitality?

You know your business better than anyone, and you know that company culture plays a vital role in the overall performance and satisfaction of your employees. The personality and character of your organization is one of the significant factors that employees consider when applying for jobs and workplace culture can help you impact an individual’s happiness and improve your employee’s (and therefore your business’) performance. 

It’s no news that the hospitality industry is facing a labor shortage globally. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find people to work in the industry and so a strong workplace culture has never been more paramount. Creating a strong company culture is a key aspect of employee retention, so what really contributes to a strong culture.  

1. Keep Training Your Team

Ongoing training and development allows you to keep your team the best-in-class. Consistently helping your employees learn and grow shows that you are invested in their career and committed to creating a strong, professional, and reliable workforce. Provide them with the skillset to perform autonomously and equip them with the tools they need to progress their career. The more comfortable your team is, the better they will be at their jobs.  

Take Jersey Mike’s as an example. John Hughes, Brand Ambassador at Jersey Mike’s, stated at FastCasual’s Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit that Jersey Mike’s “focuses on teaching employees how to be future leaders. This in turn helps prepare employees to join management if they decide to stay on for an extended period of time.” Hughes also believes “if you don’t train well, it will be difficult to get your employees to buy into your company’s culture.” 

Additionally, Josh Allen, Director of Training & Development at Paris Baguette says their onboarding process is “designed to foster a sense of belonging and community as employees integrate into their new teams and become familiar with coworkers. The goal is simple: to make sure that every new employee knows they are needed, they are a part of the team, and they can plan their futures with Paris Baguette.” 

2. Make Work Fun 

At the end of the day, work is work, but there are things you can do to help make your working environment more exciting and less of a drag. Find ways to utilize gamification elements to drive your team throughout the workday – offer rewards and prizes for achieving goals and benchmarks.  

Use the best technology – the right tech stack will make your employees’ jobs easier, not harder. Unreliable software or disorderly hardware will create frustration, slow down service, and discourage your team. Your technology solution should be easy for employees to use, so create a tech stack that supports your business and enhances your operations. 

3. Recognize and Reward 

A key component of a strong culture is making your team feel like they matter. Employees will be motivated to work harder and be loyal to your brand for longer if they feel recognized and valued; whereas employees who feel their work is not appreciated will put in minimal effort and show no enthusiasm.  

Show your appreciation by thanking them often, providing growth opportunities, and incentivizing them with bonuses. Share birthdays, milestones, and important events for employees to celebrate each other. If you don’t have one in place, consider creating an employee recognition program like ‘Employee of the Month.’ 

4. Encourage Work-Life Balance 

All jobs have an element of stress, and hospitality jobs are no exception. Busy shifts where employees are constantly on their feet and dealing with difficult customers while maintaining a smile and top-notch service can be exhausting and stressful. Paired with day-to-day stresses of life, it can become a lot to handle and could ultimately harm job satisfaction levels. 

Employees who take good care of their physical, mental, and spiritual health will be happier and more productive. Your team should not have to work 100-hour weeks and give up their personal life to achieve career success. Hospitality hours can already be unsociable, so it is more important to encourage a work life balance in our industry than ever. 

  • Encourage your team to take their allotted vacation days to rest and recharge 
  • Work on communication channels amongst the team and have an open-door policy between your team and management. Create an open and trusting culture where your staff feel they can approach management for a confidential discussion.  
  • Let your staff take their breaks! It is far too common for hospitality teams to work through their breaks and exhaust themselves. Encourage your team to step away from their role and rest their legs for a while, get something to eat and rehydrate – they will be more productive on shift with the chance to recuperate some energy 
  • Offer and encourage access to mental health support. There are lots of charities and organizations that specifically target hospitality workers. Make sure your team are aware of the support and how to access it.  

Incorporating training, fun, recognition, and balance into your company’s daily operations will help create a strong, desirable culture which will lead to employee satisfaction and retention. Technology is a great resource to leverage when building programs to address these areas, and it can ensure that these programs are consistent across your hospitality enterprise. A happy and motivated team will drive your company’s success further than you may realize.

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