What do employees really want?

Written by Sarah Pickering

Despite being a popular industry, employee retention within the hospitality sector has always been a challenge. YouGov reported last year that staff turnover was at 30% and 42% of people in hospitality left within 30 days. On top of that, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) revealed that firms in the hospitality sector are most likely to face challenges when recruiting, with 87% reporting difficulties, according to their Quarterly Recruitment Outlook (QRO) for Q4 2022.

With this in mind, Polaris Elements has joined forces with Growth Partners to give you advice on how to recruit, and retain your staff. The team at Growth Partners commissioned a report with KAM insights to ask employees in the hospitality sector what they really want from their employers, and here they reveal all…

KAM Report Findings

One thing’s clear, flexibility is key. Employees mentioned working within the hospitality sector means unsociable hours, so a requirement for flexibility around shifts is not surprising although only 38% of respondents reported having this.

This desire for flexibility is seen through other important services too, such as flexibility around pay, or with annual leave – being able to trade in unused annual leave or being offered more than statutory amounts. 43% of respondents had taken advantage of a benefit to receive their pay earlier than pay day, 48% were accessing their pay documents online and 30% had used online pay support.

Each year KAM report an increase in people wanting to look after themselves more – with more and more people prioritising both physical and mental health. Hospitality employees follow this macro trend, with gym discounts and healthy eating programmes. 49% of those surveyed reported using gym discounts and 48% healthy eating programmes.

Now it’s one thing having these benefits in place, it’s another making them easy to access so your employees know about and use them. The research showed there is a huge need to ‘reduce the clicks’ with 77% of employees surveyed saying they would use more of the employee benefits available to them if they were all in one place (e.g. an app) and 68% agreed they would use their benefits more if they were easier to access. Half of employees reported receiving information from their employer by email; yet only a third said this is their preferred method of communication.

Gen Z

Team Polaris also conducted their own research back in 2022 and created a handy guide on how to recruit and retain employees. As well as general research and advice, the e-book delved into what the upcoming workforce really look for in an employer.

Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) is the latest generation to join the employment market and will make up nearly a third of the global workforce in 2025. The hospitality sector will need to learn how to embrace and be an attractive career choice to Generation Z.

Like KAM have said above, flexibility is important. They are also more passionate about mental and physical wellbeing so employee benefits are a real appeal. This is backed up by reports such as The Workforce Institute which show that environment and positive working conditions are extremely important to them. 32% of Gen Z is motivated to work harder and stay longer in organisations with a supportive manager, and 45% would not tolerate an unsupportive environment.

Scott Read, CEO of Growth Partners said: “Having lots of benefits isn’t always the answer. It’s about getting things right for your people. Ultimately if you want an engaged workforce, check in with your payroll team or provider first. Getting pay right each and every time is key. Then layering flexibility on top becomes a great benefit. Then if you genuinely care about your employees and believe they are the key to business success, ensure you invest in the right suite of benefits for them. 3 in 4 hospitality employees say they are happier in their role because of employee benefits but the return on investment can be hard to justify – especially when some services on offer come at a significant cost.”

Neil Westwater, Director of Polaris Elements added: “Understanding the needs of your team is not just good business sense; it’s the linchpin for success in any industry. Paying attention to employee aspirations, whether it’s career growth, benefits, or workplace flexibility, is more than a managerial task – it’s about creating an environment where each team member thrives. Because in the broader landscape of employee satisfaction, we’re not just managing a workforce; we’re fostering a culture that values individual wellbeing and success.”

We’re making it easy for you

We’re working with Growth Partners to give you access to cost-effective benefits for your employees and help grow your business. Together we have drafted a handy White Paper on how to create your own Wellbeing and Engagement Strategy – and why it is crucial for your business to have one. Download it here: Wellness and Engagement Strategy White Paper 

At Polaris, we can provide practical technical solutions to support your business to create an attractive culture, such as shift planning and forecasting software as well as an employee app and instant messaging to support clear and timely communications. Multiple time-saving functionalities within Polaris Data such as workforce management, reduce the time spent on paperwork and necessary but laborious admin. This enables GMs, managers and supervisors to spend more time with their teams and customers, building relationships and training.

Growth Partners will provide a suite of financial, emotional and physical wellbeing services with your own employee engagement manager plus a monthly employee engagement support payment. To find out more visit https://growthpartnersplc.co.uk/polaris-elements


Source: Employee Engagement Services in Hospitality 2023, KAM in partnership with Growth Partners

Share this article

Customer Stories

Don’t take our word for it