3 Culture-Driven Ways to Transform the Hospitality Industry

May 24, 2022


The challenge of talent turnover and retention

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the restaurant and hospitality sector has an annual turnover rate of 73.8%. According to Joblist’s U.S. Job Market Report, more than half of employees who work in travel are thinking of not going back to work. The industry’s inability to retain and attract employees forces company leaders to reflect on what’s gone wrong and what should be done in the post-pandemic era. 

The world of work is changing. The pandemic has accelerated trends such as the digitalization of experiences, automation, and human-centered artificial intelligence. How can the hospitality industry leverage technological innovations to respond to the priorities and demands of its employees sustainably?

Creating an engaging culture in hybrid contexts

In an Oxford Economics survey, 49% of respondents stated that they “would leave their jobs for a lower-paying job in exchange for a better organizational culture.” Investing to create a positive culture is a strategic move, so it should be a priority for all companies in the industry.

Engagement is like trust: you build it little by little and should nurture it every day. And just like trust, a lack of engagement can affect productivity and loyalty.

Many companies have adopted a hybrid model, combining in-person and remote work. Under this dynamic, it’s natural for leaders to worry about the possibility of a weakening culture.

What’s the secret to keeping employees engaged even in hybrid contexts? Their wage is not enough. What will truly determine how they engage and behave will be their “emotional” salary —acknowledgment, continuity, and growth.

You can always resort to cultural operating systems to “scale” your culture and keep the workforce motivated and engaged. Globant created StarMeUp, a platform that fosters recognition, appreciation, and gratitude among colleagues, building a true sense of belonging.

One of the most valuable aspects of this kind of solution is the possibility of getting real-time insights into the behavior of employees, both individually and collectively. With people analytics, leaders can see the level of job satisfaction and identify people at risk of leaving the company, and take steps to prevent that from happening. Imagine how useful this tool could be in combating turnover and churn in the industry.

Use technology to connect personal purpose with work purpose

The “new normal” has changed people’s expectations forever.

According to a survey, 65% of employees agree that the pandemic made them rethink how their jobs fit into their lives. A study on Gen Z found that 70% would rather do something meaningful than make a lot of money. If companies understand and approach change with a more people-centric mindset, they will be able to retain their employees and empower them to go above and beyond.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, technology could be a great enabler of purpose-driven work. Automating repetitive tasks make work processes more agile, minimizes errors, and most importantly, allows employees to focus on strategic responsibilities.

RPA can also significantly accelerate the tourism industry, facilitating more efficient experiences and enhancing the entire digital ecosystem.

To use this cutting-edge technology correctly, three key elements must be considered:

1) People-centric experiences. Companies must focus on identifying touchpoints and delivering relevant, efficient, and memorable experiences.

2) From processes to “employee journeys.” Companies should be rethinking models to seamlessly integrate both your back and front processes. For example, it won’t matter if your check-in experience is fully digital if the back processes remain manual.

3) Understanding the life cycle of data. Companies must understand changes in data and use insights to benefit their people. For instance, knowing this information allows companies to identify the processes that they could automate, which has a significant impact on the business.

People want their jobs to have transcending meaning. They want to feel part of something bigger, so business leaders need to offer engaging experiences closely connected to sustainability, diversity, and meaningful purpose.

Design the employee experience with a digital mindset 

The travel industry owes an outstanding debt to its workers. Employees want to feel valued and see that organizations are invested in them. Those companies that want to take a step forward should know that other industries are developing platforms based on artificial intelligence and machine learning to support the employee experience throughout the entire work life cycle, from talent recruitment and onboarding, and training to retirement.

The hospitality industry has an additional challenge: many employees do not work in offices or hybrid environments. Once again, technology will need to bring those experiences to the workforce’s flexible, dynamic, and mobile world.

Culture as a differentiating value: get ready to meet expectations

A lot has been said about reinventing the customer experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. And much like customers, employees are rethinking loyalty in the post-pandemic era. The difference is that the industry has invested in data and technology for years to offer customers innovative and personalized products and experiences. Now is the time for companies in the industry to look inward and think about how to make a difference for their employees, using technology to create motivating experiences that show they are recognized and valued. An outstanding employee experience and an engaging culture go hand in hand and can boost productivity and loyalty. It’s time to take action.

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The Hospitality & Leisure Studio enables our clients to ubiquitously connect with their guests, fully engage with their employees, and maximize the relevance of their offerings and brands. We help companies in the travel and hospitality industry build experiences that create long lasting memories.