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Attracting Hourly Employees in 2021

By: Eric Collison, Vice President of National Program Development at KWIG

Hotel managers are working around the clock and taking on the responsibilities of other staff. Restaurants are struggling to hire enough wait staff to keep food coming out of their kitchens, and resorts are limiting occupancy in order to operate with less staff. 

As the hospitality industry braves the travel surge, many employers face unprecedented staffing shortages and are scrambling to hire enough hourly workers to accommodate the upswing in guests. While some laid-off hospitality workers left the industry altogether, others have simply not returned to work. 

Why? Some blame the third COVID-19 stimulus check many workers received in addition to their 2020 tax returns and enhanced unemployment benefits. With these funds, many workers were better off than they would be if they went back to work. In fact, many states are opting out of federal unemployment benefits early in hopes of making it easier for businesses to hire. 

Hotels, resorts, restaurants and any business facing labor shortages, we feel your stress. We understand that staffing shortages threaten your ability to bounce back from the pandemic and provide exemplary customer service. We want to help you attract and retain employees during these trying times.

How to Attract and Retain Hourly Employees

As you rebuild your workforce, consider what differentiates your business from the employer down the street. Sure, you can always offer more compensation, but that just creates a cycle. Attract and retain employees by cultivating a company culture that cares and showing that you care by investing in the health and future of your employees. 

Cultivate a company culture that cares

How would you describe your company culture? Are you known for treating your employees well? Hourly employees are integral to the success of resorts, hotels and restaurants. It’s important that they feel valued and know what they’re doing matters. Employees who feel seen, cared for, and heard are more likely to work harder for their employers. 

Do you regularly promote from within? An employee who sees advancement opportunities may be more likely to seek a career with you. What are workplace relationships like? Are employees friendly with one another? 

From vision and values to communication to behavior, company culture involves everything that happens in an organization on a day-to-day basis. Take an inventory of your company culture and determine how your culture may need to evolve to attract employees. 

Invest in the health and future of your employees

But, attracting and retaining employees does not stop with a company that says they care for their employees. Do the benefits you offer show potential and current employees that you care about their health and futures? 

How much do you invest in employee benefit packages? Two percent of their earnings? Maybe 3 percent? What would your business look like if you invested 7 or even 8 percent? Potential employees may express more interest in coming back to work. 

In addition, what benefits do you currently offer hourly employees? Common benefits include health insurance, short and long-term disability, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance and retirement plans. If you only offer a few of these benefits, consider adding one or two more. Research best practices in your industry to determine which benefits may make a difference. 

Are you already offering all of these benefits? There are also various ways to enhance the benefits you offer to appeal to more employees. For instance, consider contributing more dollars to employee health insurance plans so that the coverage is more affordable for the employee. Employers are required by the Affordable Care Act to provide health insurance, but a lot of hospitality workers don’t make enough to pay for a healthcare plan and will decline the coverage. Increasing your employer contribution is not only an easy way to attract employees who are seeking more affordable health insurance, but also build a healthier and happier employee base. 

KWIG is dedicated to providing the right solutions for the way you lead

Company culture and employee benefits can give you a leg up in hiring. If you’re interested in discussing enhanced employee benefits to attract and retain employees, contact Kemmons Wilson Insurance Group to consult with a corporate benefits advisor. 

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