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?
Associate Professor at Institut Paul Bocuse
The potential of CSR in attracting talent was uncovered over two decades ago, and findings support the notion that some types of CSR/ sustainability can achieve this goal. However, there are at least three scenarios: 1). CSR activities targeted at employees themselves, 2). activities employees can participate in, and 3). those activities a company engages in without employee involvement. The first type often blurs with employee incentives or regular job training. The common wisdom has been that the second type is the gold standard, as it lets employees experience responsibility themselves. However, the third type may be equally effective if company commitment to the field is genuine; with this type, working for a company can become an ethically meaningful work experience.
A major issue in this field is measuring the value of engaging employees. A true commitment to sustainability can be expensive, and while employee commitment, engagement, and job satisfaction are highly important, they are hard to match with costs. I believe we need a way to quantify the monetary value of employees finding their company CSR meaningful. This would allow financial investment in responsibility to be justified without having to rely on soft arguments that constant pressure for higher profit can easily undermine.