Sustainability Gives Hotels An Edge In The War For Talent. Or Does It?
— 12 experts shared their view
The hospitality industry has long been suffering from failing to attract and bind talent. The labour turnover rate is shocking: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hospitality employees quit their job two to three times more often compared to other industries. Researchers have painted a similar picture with employee turnover rates of anywhere between 60% to 300% across the hospitality industry. A stressful work environment, low wages, stringent rules, and hierarchies, as well as a lack of identification and purpose, might be some of the reasons behind this situation. With a new generation entering the labour market, can sustainability be a determining criterion to attract talent? And if so, what kind of sustainability commitment are young people looking for in their prospective employer? New talent will inevitably impact the existing workforce and is as such an opportunity to manifest sustainability further into the corporate culture. Workforce cooperation and cultural integration are vital factors for a thriving sustainability engagement. What steps can be taken to turn employees into sustainability ambassadors? Ultimately, how can a culture of sustainability be achieved in hotels?
PhD, Founder & Editor, Sustainability Leaders Project
This is a great question and one closely linked to our recent Sustainability Leaders Project panel question - whether sustainable tourism leads to more and better jobs. The panel's conclusion was that there is a notable relationship between sustainable tourism and jobs, mostly in terms of staff retention (because of more caring, fairer workplaces and a stronger sense of commitment and shared values). Also because sustainability in practice means that a focus is on employing locals - both in management and operational roles.
The key to attracting and retaining the right talent is that sustainability isn't just something the hotel's housekeeping or marketing team is working on, but that its principles are embedded in every aspect of its strategy, and that the owners and managers walk the talk. Otherwise, there's no credibility which can lead to frustration and disassociation.