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Looking to reduce turnover? Start with manager training

Understaffing and high employee turnover are significant concerns in the hospitality industry today. According to a recent report, “Trends in Hospitality Training & Development 2019,” by CHART and TDn2K, more than 69 percent of responding organizations report being understaffed in front-of-house hourly positions (with 94 percent annual turnover), and 93 percent are understaffed in back-of-house hourly positions (with 105 percent annual turnover). With estimated turnover costs of just over $1,800 per hourly employee, employers are asking the question, “How do we retain the people we already have?”

While there are multiple reasons that employees may leave, many of which are out of the control of employers, one element that can be addressed by nearly every organization has been shown to offer a significant benefit: focused training for managers. The CHART/TDn2K study found that increasing manager training in two key areas, leadership development and human-resources topics, resulted in a marked decrease in turnover rates for hourly employees.

According to the study, organizations that spent more than 10 percent of total manager training time on leadership development and/or HR topics saw reduced turnover rates ranging from 25-35 percent.

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Leadership development training gives managers the skills they need to more effectively communicate, motivate teams and manage people. Good leaders inspire and encourage their team members, so it follows that employees whose direct managers have training in this area experience greater success and job satisfaction, which often translates to longevity. Additionally, investing in the development of emerging leaders aids retention by showing employees that growth opportunities exist within the organization.

Human resources topics such as discrimination and harassment also have come to the forefront as hot-button issues faced by many organizations in recent years. Understanding of and sensitivity to these topics can go a long way toward improving workplace culture. In addition to helping employees feel safe and respected at work, training managers to proactively address these kinds of HR issues tells employees that the organization cares, which can positively influence their desire to stay. 

By implementing focused training for managers, organizations create better, more prepared leaders who can effect positive changes in organizational culture, including increased job satisfaction and employee engagement. This in turn can significantly lower turnover, resulting in reduced expenditures associated with recruiting, onboarding and training new hires.

Monique Donahue is the director of e-learning for Hilton Grand Vacations in Orlando. She is president elect of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART). She can be reached at: [email protected]

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