Could better staff technology solve hospitality’s recruitment problem?

Staff turnover costs the hospitality industry £272m a year as, with every staff member who leaves, so does a wealth of knowledge about customers and the company’s investment in their training.

As one of our key hospitality predictions for 2016, we know that staff retention has a significant influence on customer satisfaction. Engagement is key, as staff that feel their contribution isn’t being recognised will look elsewhere for a better job. This will impact the customer experience and, in a saturated market, standard of service can make or break customer loyalty.

Technology is playing an increasing role in the engagement of both staff and patrons. In our recent report, Battle of the Bandwidths: why customers are won and lost on the strength of hospitality networks, we found that customers are increasingly demanding staff be connected, with 24% wanting staff to be equipped with tablet technology.

This technology allows front-line personnel to provide ordering and payments services at the table, and also offer bespoke information such as nutrition or personalised suggestions based on a previous interaction with that customer. It can also enable better communication across the venue, such as instant sharing of information about large groups or availability issues, which could affect overall experience.

With the shortage of skilled hospitality candidates being the biggest issue identified by employers, investing in technology offers new training and support opportunities. Research from People 1st shows hospitality businesses believe 66% of vacancies are hard to fill because applicants don’t have the skills they need. But, while two thirds of employers invest in staff training, 41% of hospitality employers continue to believe that performance has not improved.

The benefit of a connected hospitality experience is that not only do staff have the information they need to support the customer journey, but managers have a platform that provides an overview of the staff in real time, enabling them to analyse their staff’s performance in terms of sales and upselling.

Vendors who are committed to customer service should take every opportunity to keep hold of quality personnel. Technology is an effective way to empower staff, increase their productivity and give them greater ability to provide a richer customer experience at the front end, and benchmark their performance and increase communications transparency internally. This ultimately creates a happier, more profitable work environment, which makes talented workforce more likely to stay.

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