“ Get together in a talking circle with a core impact group of your managers and employees and let them vent .”
— Michael Tompkins are still processing the grief and loss of the last year and a half ), they should see leadership modeling the same effort , too . At Canyon Ranch , Cooper shared , general managers can be found many mornings stepping in to serve breakfast to guests . With regard to staff , “ to support them is really just to be with them ,” Cooper said , “ even if it ’ s folding laundry .”
Reshaping the Labor Landscape Staffing concerns aren ’ t unique to the U . S . hospitality market , either . Emlyn Brown , global vice president of wellbeing for Accor , joined the panel from Dubai . “ It ’ s a wonderful industry ,” Brown said , “ but we ’ ve taken our labor in many cases for granted .” Simply put , there is no quick fix for these challenges ; for the most impactful results , spa owners should be thinking of solutions in terms of years , not months .
What # StrongerTogether Looks Like in Practice
Director of Rooms for Sea Island Company Ella Kent points to a silver lining of the labor shortage : it ’ s a useful reality check for luxury brands that once rested on their reputation as their most valuable recruitment tool . Instead , “ this is the time to slow down ,” Kent said . “ You ’ ve got to nurture what you have .” She shared a formula for deepening connections that can carry a team through difficult periods . “ When you take time to be real and genuine with people , you develop relationships . From those relationships , then you can have respect . And from that respect , you can build results .” But , Kent cautioned , a results-driven approach can ’ t take center stage just yet . “ Nobody cares about [ results ] right now — they ’ re trying to get through the day .”
Industry stakeholders need to be ready to embrace a perspective shift , whether that ’ s creating more attractive and flexible opportunities , exploring new staffing pipelines or implementing innovative tech and automation solutions . Companies turning to fresh ideas are finding better success in attracting and retaining talent . The team at Sea Island put this into practice by launching a program that brings operations staff into schools to share employees ’ career journeys .
For Brown and many others ,“ This is an opportunity to rethink our industry and our practices .”
One suggestion is to invest in non-traditional or entry-level hires , which can pay off with the right support early on .“ Get young people out , spend more time with them , be more empathetic in terms of their training and delivery , and give them a chance to develop their careers .”
To that end , Huey added ,“ As gatekeepers to these jobs , we need to reimagine who ’ s coming into them . It ’ s time to shake new trees to get new fruit .”
Attracting & Retaining Talent Of course , one of the best ways to support existing staff is to fill vacancies by standing out to job seekers . One key consideration is competitive compensation , especially for frontline staff . Tompkins , sharing hiring data and insights from Hutchinson ’ s 2021 compensation study , noted that staff positions like front desk and reception , which were not always easy to fill even pre-COVID , have seen hourly increases in some cases up to $ 17 per hour . This increase is being offset by redistribution from other roles ; for example , senior and executive level positions have seen wage cuts of around 25 %, a shift that Tompkins stressed is likely here to stay .
And compensation is just one piece of the talent puzzle . Building a workplace culture that prioritizes work-life balance , invests in professional development and fosters genuine community draws a heartline to the ethos of your business that can help attract the best-fit talent for your team .
Another consideration is how to navigate the first few months post-hire . Kent challenges spa owners to maintain the self-discipline to train new hires fully . Rushing the process can overwhelm new team members , which Tompkins points to as a major cause of early turnover .
In the wake of the global pandemic and the push to reclaim normalcy , we ’ re seeing a paradigm shift . As Brown noted ,“ Hospitality and wellness are changing .” To thrive in the seasons ahead , we ’ ll have to be ready to meet those changes head on . n
JANUARY 2022 n PULSE 55