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The great staffing challenge in hospitality – and how to empower, engage and build the smartest model

Clearly one of the biggest questions faced at the moment is how to retain, motivate and attract staff?

The hospitality sector has been disproportionately affected by the onslaught of the pandemic. Over the past two years, hotels, leisure centres, travel companies and more have undergone massive changes to adhere to government restrictions – often at great expense. This, combined with multiple lockdowns, reduced capacity due to social distancing and many other factors, means the coffers of many in the industry have run dry.

Those working in hospitality then, have often felt vulnerable and this has led to an exodus, with too many people leaving the sector and not enough joining in return. Part of this will lie in the impact of Brexit, with the wealth of talent on the continent now either unable to seek work here or unwilling to.

Despite the challenges though, the sector is clambering back to its feet, and hotels are looking to recruit and retain a passionate and motivated workforce. The question is though: What is the best way to achieve this?

We aren’t recruiters at LiBi but we do see, understand and focus on the importance of mindsets and that has some real relevance for rebuilding staff culture and numbers. For customers it’s about how we are creating a culture of ‘me time retail’ and a shifted sense of buying occasions. For employees, it’s about how to create a greater sense of engagement and belonging.

With a high turnover rate of 70%, in combination with the growth of the hospitality industry, hotels are consistently on the lookout for new employees.

Hospitality leaders need to reinforce the message that within their hotel world, employees can gain a real sense of belonging to something with a clear personality and ethos.

A great way of fostering that sense of positivity is to involve employees in creating an authentic brand story. By building a brand staff can believe in and including them in its creation, you’ll get full investment – and firm advocates of your offering. And an increased appeal for potential new joiners

This might include

  • A greater focus on transferable skills being learned
  • Understanding of the steps being taken to shape and improve on environmental leadership with the hotel model
  • With invitations to contribute thoughts and ideas
  • An understanding of brand partnerships, guest understanding, internal marketing and areas of business growth
  • Employee referral schemes – where staff are incentivised to recommend friends and acquaintances
  • And greater investment in sharing hotel backstory, living colour and future ambition. People are joining a brand should be the message, above and beyond the job on offer

At LiBi, we’re able to help hotels develop that sense of brand, as we help to build an emotional connection with guests in the same way employers need to build a greater emotional connection with staff. Our QR codes model can help tell the individual stories and share the thinking behind the items and furnishings found throughout a property

For instance, the GM of one of the hotels we know well, the Devonshire Arms, is constantly asked questions about their dog themed wallpaper – just one small facet of their wider story that draws attention, intrigue and appeal.

And here the level of thought that goes into creating a hotel’s environment is clearly in evidence and is something that will be appreciated by guests. For staff, the knock on effects of this means they’ll be benefitting from the sense of pride in working for a well-rounded brand with a thoughtful and considered approach that comes from understanding the big picture of their hotel and a deeper connection with their place of work

Of course, there are other essential components; fair wages, incentives, bonus schemes, after work socials, personal development through on the job training and so on – all help to both attract staff and encourage loyalty and retention once they’re here.

But as hoteliers have an enormous challenge to deliver all of this given the recent hits to their revenue stream, we think it’s the detail and passion that can help make a tipping point difference.

Alongside LiBi’s ability to help build and showcase a sense of purpose and brand storytelling we also of course help with revenue. With hotels getting a percentage of each purchase made via our QR codes, it all helps to boost the bottom line – pushing the envelope for hoteliers and allowing them to invest more in their staff and help solve the issues of attraction and long term retention.

To find out more and discover the flexible and bespoke approach we bring, talk to the LiBi team at