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For the love of linen and housekeepers

Delving into the challenges faced by hotel housekeeping managers, with Vision Linens

Housekeeping has always been an integral and important part of the hospitality industry. From ensuring the cleanliness and maintenance of guest rooms to keeping the common areas tidy, housekeepers play a crucial role in creating a memorable experience for guests. However, the industry is currently grappling with several challenges that have significant implications for housekeeping professionals and ultimately the success of hotels.

Here Vision Linens highlights the biggest challenges faced by housekeeping managers today and looks at how the industry can try to overcome these difficulties.

Recruitment and the labour crisis

One of the biggest challenges facing the hospitality industry is recruitment. The industry is struggling to find and retain skilled workers, including housekeepers. This is largely due to a labour crisis caused by a combination of factors, including an ageing workforce, Brexit, losing workers to other industries and a lack of investment in training and development. For the many hotels, the ability to attract and retain talent seems like an impossible task with the lack of competitive pay and benefits packages, particularly in comparison to what workers can attain in other labour markets.

To tackle this issue, hotels and other hospitality establishments are turning to alternative recruitment methods, such as hiring through social media. LinkedIn, as a professional social networking platform, leads the way when it comes to job seekers and employers. It’s a convenient way of accessing huge networks which can be leveraged for sourcing candidates.

Many hotels have started hosting employment fairs set on a specific date, where interested candidates can come along to talk to the hotel team managers and gain more of an understanding of the jobs offered across the hotel and what the jobs entails. This is particularly useful for those who haven’t worked in the hospitality industry before, and also allows the hotel to target a wider audience if they are prepared to invest in marketing to get the message out there. Again, platforms such as LinkedIn can help with this.

One well-proven and successful method of recruiting in the hospitality industry that shouldn’t be overlooked is setting up a robust referral system for your own employees which rewards those who provide referrals. Head housekeepers have the work cut out for them as they’ll have to think of more creative ways to access pools of talent.

Many hotels have started hosting employment fairs to help with recruitment drives

Stalled wages

Despite the high demand for housekeeping staff, wages in the industry have remained stagnant for years. Many housekeepers are paid at or just above minimum wage, which is not enough to cover the rising cost of living. This has led to high turnover rates and a shortage of skilled workers.

To address this issue, the hospitality industry is starting to pay more attention to employee welfare and job satisfaction. Housekeeping is anything but straight forward, with each day presenting its own challenges. At times it can feel unrewarding, especially with the work taking place in the background, going unnoticed compared to other hotel job roles. To instore passion and pride in a housekeeping team is key. It’s essential that individuals feel that their work is recognised and that they are an important member of the team.

This is why, dedicated housekeeping award shows are so important to this industry. Take for example, the widely recognised Triple H Awards, which aim to recognise companies and individuals that stand out from the crowd. They showcase exceptional industry professionalism and outstanding customer service, and demonstrate innovations and initiatives that make every guest experience special. The awards are open to all sectors within housekeeping, back of house and hotel laundry, and receiving a nomination alone, is a huge privilege to staff, giving them the recognition, they so much deserve.

Staff numbers and smaller hourly working contracts

Hospitality is seeing a shift towards hiring a larger number of staff with smaller hourly working contracts. This has been driven by the need for more flexibility in staffing levels and the desire to reduce labour costs.

For working parents, flexible hours are becoming increasingly important. The traditional 9-5 workday is no longer feasible for many, especially those with young children facing the rising costs of child care. Many are looking for work that allows them to balance their professional and personal lives.

To accommodate this growing demand, some establishments are offering flexible working hours, including 10-2 shifts that allow working parents to drop off and pick up children from school. This has also been found to improve employee productivity and job satisfaction.

While this approach can be beneficial for both employers and employees, it also presents challenges. For example, smaller contracts can lead to uncertainty and financial instability for workers, and can make it difficult for them to access benefits such as pension plans. In summary, the hospitality industry is facing significant challenges when it comes to housekeeping. However, by investing in recruitment and training, looking after staff wellbeing, encouraging a passionate team and providing flexible working arrangements, the industry can create a more stable and rewarding environment for housekeeping professionals.

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