A housekeeper wearing a Relay device with a panic button feature.

Could Upgrading Your Employee Safety Tech Help Solve The Hotel Labor Shortage

Last fall we released results of a survey we conducted with fascinating results: Almost 50% of workers polled said they would consider quitting their jobs for better, safer workplace communication technology. In fact, if we had to distill the survey results to a single takeaway, here’s what it would be. Survey takeaway: All the employee incentives in the world won’t matter if your staff hates your current walkie-talkies. 

Before we take on the way you’ll keep your staff happy and hopefully avoid losing more hotel staff in the future if you upgrade your associate alert devices, let’s take a bit of a deeper dive into the turnover rate that always existed in the hospitality industry.

High turnover in the hospitality industry is nothing new

In March 2020 4hoteliers.com ran an article called Why Does the Hospitality Industry Have Such High Turnover? The author of the article shared some startling statistics including claims that the hospitality industry holds a turnover rate of almost 74% which is significantly higher than the national average of 10%-15%. As the Great Resignation rages on, MSN reported that the U.S. is still missing roughly 5 million pre-pandemic jobs. And while better pay and incentives are considered ways to lure staff back to your properties, it isn’t the only option offered.

Beyond emerging from the pandemic and back to better business, it’s important to understand the high turnover before it can be remedied.

Why don’t hotel staffers stick around?

The hotel industry is often seasonal. While some properties operate year round, others are staffed to accommodate ski season or an extended summer break. It makes sense that staffers might move around from property to property and even on to competitors offering better incentives. 

Improved employee safety technology = happier and more loyal staff

As evidenced in the results of our survey, staffers demand better tech to stay at their current jobs. More than that, everyone from the housekeeping to kitchen and restaurant staff want and need to feel safe at work. 

In an era of mandated walkie talkies, your property has to provide staffers the best devices and experience possible. If you don’t, they’ll seek employment at hotels that are committed to protecting staffers while keeping them connected.

At Relay, we’re proud that our devices connect distanced workers and empower them through the use of a panic button and a completely connected cellular network. Contact us to find out how to empower your staff and clientele through connectivity with a device that alerts anyone to potential danger.

Updating your safety tech will keep staffers loyal

While upgrading your walkie talkie system isn’t the only way to keep your staff happy, it is a major priority for them – and therefore should be a major priority for you.

Last year, Karen Fichuk, CEO of temp and staffing agency Randstad North America, said in a media report that “the COVID-19 pandemic has had the most significant impact on the labor market since the Great Depression.” In discussing job recovery efforts, Fichuk also said “The pandemic has exposed deep-rooted vulnerabilities to the workforce and has underscored the need for policies that will promote a fair and even recovery.” And the way to counter vulnerabilities felt by frontline workers is to empower them with agile, easy to use walkie talkies and safety technology that makes them feel less vulnerable.

5 ways to improve employee safety technology at hotels

It isn’t enough to simply place an associate alert device in a housekeeper’s hand and wish them well. To ensure that your staff knows you’re committed to their safety and wellbeing, you have to improve the technology that keeps guests and staffers safe. 

Don’t go for flashy or expensive tech upgrades before you understand what staffers need most.

Here are a few great ways to start:

  1. Address critical upgrades first. Don’t go for flashy or expensive tech upgrades before you understand what staffers need most. Ask your CTO to compile a list of staffers favorite tech products and the ones that they hate. If needed, create a staff focus group for them to share wish lists of tech products.
  2. Always follow protocol. Even if you pride yourself on being a family business, you’ll have to stringently keep to the law and all new updates and mandates. There’s nothing cute about asking staffers to share a walkie talkie if your state mandates one walkie per staffer. This isn’t the place to save money either. 
  3. Prioritize spending. We can’t stress enough how important it is to keep updating your planning budget. And as more properties add in fully digital hotel capabilities, you need to keep up without looking insecure. If it helps, don’t draw up your entire year’s budget until you’re sure of how post-pandemic travel will affect your bottom line and then budget and spend accordingly.
  4. Don’t cheap out on panic buttons. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the best associate alert devices possible. What you do have to do though is invest in products that will empower your staff without overwhelming them. To keep staffers loyal and to attract new employees, you need to remind them how important each and every one of them is. And that means taking the time to understand and address their concerns. And because you can’t accompany every staffer to every area of the hotel and property daily, their walkie talkie reassures them that they’re safer and accounted for.
  5. Train your staff vigorously. In addition to budgeting for actual hardware, you’ll need to budget for training sessions. What good is the latest touch free check in system if staffers have no idea of how to help guests who become stuck in the process? Your goal of keeping employees on staff by switching to the newest safety technology will fail if there’s no response system in place. 

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