According to a recent Workday study, frontline hospitality employees are also tired of feeling less valued than back-office workers. Only 34% of hospitality respondents say that they value frontline staff as much as office staff.
Hospitality leaders will need to attract and retain frontline workers by giving them more control over their work lives and focusing on their development and wellbeing. One way is by offering more flexible scheduling options to compete with remote and hybrid jobs. They’ll also offer more visibility into additional opportunities available within the organization, so that workers can see a path forward that doesn’t require leaving for a better position elsewhere.
“It’s become quite evident that sensitivity to your workforce is more mission-critical than ever before,” notes Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia Business School. “People who run businesses need to have their frontline workers staff their business. But, if they’re not sensitive to their frontline workers as human beings, they may not have a large enough workforce to do business at all.”
The enormity of the labor issue also requires careful use of data to track employee engagement. According to Workday research, 29% of organizations say an inability to quantify the value of an engaged frontline workforce or to gather the data necessary to do so are barriers to improving their frontline experience.
One way businesses will address this issue is through technology. Tech will help hospitality organizations better understand the distinct needs, preferences, and goals of each worker.
Machine learning (ML) will help personalize experiences so that employees can grow, be more productive, and feel more supported.
“It’s about asking, ‘How can I help you? How can I make a comfortable environment for you to work in?’” says David Morrell, a human resources leader and assistant professor at SUNY Empire State College. “You want to help the employee to be as satisfied, comfortable, and happy as they can be.”
4. ESG Emerges as a Growing Competitive Differentiator
Consumers and investors alike are paying more attention to hospitality companies’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices, such as green accommodations and climate risk disclosures, and are adjusting their purchasing and investment behavior accordingly.
“Customers want to understand and feel confident that the products they’re buying and the operating model of an organization fit their values from an ESG perspective,” noted KPMG’s Rankin at Workday Rising.
To meet these increased guest expectations, as well as regulatory requirements, hospitality companies will need to not only collect the correct data—from both internal and external sources—to properly track ESG initiatives, but also incorporate that data into core finance and human resources (HR) processes through a single platform.
This creates what Stefan Ball, a senior solution marketing manager at Workday, calls “a robust central repository” for managing ESG performance, allowing operations, HR, and sustainability teams to work together to accomplish ESG goals.
Hospitality companies’ finance teams, in particular, will be called to track information for ESG reporting and analyze how ESG objectives align with business performance. Empowered by cloud-based planning platforms that house financial metrics and ESG statistics in the same place, finance leaders can track ESG progress with integrated data from finance, operations, and other business units. This will help hospitality leaders immediately understand the ESG impact of business decisions and make adjustments as necessary.
With the right commitments powered by the right technology, the industry can succeed in taking care of both its guests and the world at large.
5. Hospitality Will Embrace AI and ML to Better Manage People and Operations
Not only do 70% of restaurant operators not have enough workers to support current demand, they also don’t expect a reprieve anytime soon. That’s a situation that extends across the industry—and one that leaders will need to address by investing in contactless capabilities and workflow automation across the employee life cycle, from recruiting and onboarding through offboarding.
To augment the gaps in their human workforce, restaurants will increasingly leverage AI (artificial intelligence) for chatbots, personalized content on mobile apps, social media ordering, and administrative support.
At Shake Shack, CIO Dave Harris says the organization automates processes wherever possible to reduce the time that managers spend on administrative tasks so they can spend more time with their teams and guests.
Hotels, meanwhile, will depend on AI to improve personalized customer experiences and smart room service. While many guest-facing experiences are already conducted through autonomous channels, 50% of hospitality and travel operators by 2026 will fully automate tasks such as booking and staff interaction, personalized check-ins, maintenance, and occupancy and room optimization.
Automation will also grow beyond more simplistic tasks. “I look at automation in two different buckets,” Deloitte principal Duffy says. “One is automating tasks, like automating flipping a burger. But then there’s also automation around decision-making, and that is where I think a lot of investment is going to be made over the next couple of years.”
The same data used by AI and ML to make operational decisions will also strengthen the hospitality industry’s skills-based approach to hiring, resulting in a workforce that’s better equipped to face future challenges. For example, AI and ML applications can speed up recruiting processes, scraping high volumes of resumes to highlight best-fit candidates for open roles. At Shake Shake, automated systems search for candidates with a growth mindset who are looking to develop new skills, rather than candidates with specific restaurant experience. Skills-based hiring will be a critical tool for the hospitality industry as leaders vie to attract workers from a smaller talent pool.
To learn more about how Workday can help your hospitality organization evolve, visit our website.