Eleanor Erickson was a general manager with Hampton Inn by Hilton for 22 years and sees a big problem ahead for our industry if we don't change course.
"We're investing in getting staff in the door, but not investing in keeping them engaged."
In the US alone, hospitality employs more than 15 million people. We need a lot of people to keep our industry going. But we're not investing in their longevity. We're just investing in getting them in the door and getting a job done. And it feels like sometimes we're doing that day over day over day.
"Longevity is possible."
When I stepped away from my general manager position, I had been in my role for 22 years. I had a night auditor who'd been with me for more than 20. My executive housekeeper just came up on 18 years. Longevity is possible. It's tough work, but if you nurture your teams, they're going to stay with you.
Today, we are welcoming all sorts of new people into hospitality. It's cool and exciting, but it's not without challenges. Hospitality can be grueling. There is a lot of hard work involved, especially if you're in the heart of the house. If you're cleaning rooms, if you're doing laundry, if you're working in food and beverage, it is physically hard work and you don't always understand that when you see an Indeed listing for a housekeeper.
Hospitality can also be mentally exhausting, especially for those on the front lines chatting with the fussy people and trying to navigate new standards as they come out. We are assuaging people's fears and anxieties throughout the day.
We need to get back to a place where we're bringing people into our teams and we're nurturing them and empowering them and engaging them and loving them so they don't leave. We want them to stay with us. In order to have a truly sustainable workforce, more businesses have to do this.
We're spending so much time focusing on exterior stuff - guests and competitors - when our people are the biggest resource we need to double down on.
The bottom line is if your team members are happier, you will have happier guests. Your guest scores are going to go up, you're going to make more money, and you're going to be busier.
What can you do today to make a career in hospitality more sustainable?