How to find the best staff for your hotel

Fact: the hotel industry is a people industry. As a hotel manager or owner, you want to make sure you're surrounded by the perfect staff, who can handle their tasks and wow the guests. But how do you find (and retain) the right people? 

Here are our four steps to success.

1. Decide what skills you need

Entrepreneur reports that 30-40% of all innkeepers and independent hotel owners don’t employ any sort of staff.

But if you have more than five rooms, doing it all by yourself just isn’t sustainable in the long run. While you may be extremely talented, hiring others is better than trying (and failing) to do everything at once, all by yourself. Remember that spending money can make you money. Invest in quality staff to surround you. 

And let’s be honest: you simply can’t do it all. There are some areas that you enjoy and are naturally good at, and vice versa.

Find those skill sets that you do need – is it bookkeeping, cleaning, or cooking? Or do you need a multi-tasker who can do a little bit of everything? Remember that your time is better spent on servicing guests and learning how to do things properly. 

Create a detailed job description once you’re sure you know what you need.

2. Get the word out

The next step is getting your job description out to a talented pool of individuals:

  • Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)
  • Family and friends
  • Association job boards
  • Innkeeping website forums
  • Regular job boards

You may have to pay a fee to post the job online, but it will be well worth it. After all, your accommodation business is your baby!

Each hiring decision will affect your guests experience. The job posting fee will pay off when you find that it brings you only the best candidates. 

You can also post for free and have friends spread the word online. Make sure your social media accounts are up to date and interesting. Your online presence is the first impression a potential candiadate makes of your business. Give them something to get excited about working for you. 

Start networking with fellow professionals in the hospitality industry. It doesn't cost anything to connect with a talented individual through LinkedIn. He or she could be your next hire.

3. Interview candidates

When the time comes to actually hire candidates, you will have to conduct structured interviews. Make sure the process is consistent so that you can compare all candidates equally.

  • Ask open-ended questions to reveal their true character
  • Conduct practical tests (eg. cooking, if this is part of their job)
  • Get references from past employers

It’s also important to consider cultural compatibility! Get other employees to interview them and/or ask someone you trust to join you in the interview. You should only hire people you feel you can trust.

4. Create an ongoing positive working relationship

It’s not over yet – now you need to maintain a good working relationship amongst all staff members.

To keep staff happy, make sure you:

  • Are fair in compensation. Without this, it’s impossible to start off on the right foot.
  • Try to help them do their jobs. Ask them what frustrates them and how you can help.
  • Schedule regular meetings to find out how things are going. Be open and honest in your communication about their performance (without being a bully).
  • Involve them in big and small decisions. Whether it’s choosing the wallpaper or changing up the breakfast menu, make them feel like their input is valuable.
  • Challenge them to have pride in their performance. Say thank you. Notice the little things they’ve done.

Here’s an idea: why not treat your staff to lunch or dinner at the nearby restaurants that you have them recommending to your guests?

They will be able to give a first-hand review, thus enhancing the guest experience – and they will also really appreciate it.

Remember, happy staff make happy guests!