What Causes Employee Turnover in Hospitality?

The hospitality industry has one of the highest rates of employee turnover, therefore managers and recruiters are fully aware of the challenges and impacts of constantly changing organisational structures.

Hotels face a drop in service quality due to frequent rotations, which impacts customer experience, property ratings, and revenue. This is in addition to the impact of hiring expenses and more time spent on recruitment and training programs.

So how do you combat this? What actions do you need to take? 

In this post, we'll look at the reasons behind staff retention and why it is a challenge in the hospitality industry

What Drives Employee Turnover in the Hospitality Industry?

The number of employees who leave during a specific timeframe is known as employee turnover. This comprises employees who voluntarily leave their jobs, retire, or are laid off. On the other hand, the ability of a company to retain its employees is referred to as employee retention.

The hospitality industry often faced problems managing employee turnover. This comes from a variety of factors, some of which are not the company owners' fault. People may choose to leave the hospitality industry for a variety of reasons, some of which are listed below.

Role Unsuitability 

As a company owner, you need to understand that a high employee turnover rate or low employee retention doesn't necessarily mean your business is a terrible workplace. Sometimes an employee isn't fit for the job, and it doesn't become clear to you until after you've hired them.

And besides, customer service isn't everyone's cup of tea. Some people really lack the skills necessary to handle the fast-paced hospitality environment, despite receiving the best training. Even though it can be upsetting, it doesn't speak to the company's ability to provide a good workplace for employees.

Unreasonable Work Hours 

Generally, the operating hours of the hospitality industry differ from those of other industries. This is due to the fact that rush hours occur when the majority of the working population enters establishments. Therefore, it is typical for hospitality employees to expect to work on weekends, late nights, and holidays.

Even the most dedicated employees may find that this lifestyle is undesirable over time. As a result, they could look for a career that makes it easier to find a good work/life balance. Additionally, the hours are typically longer compared to other areas in the hospitality industry. Even taking breaks isn’t easy either. 

This is one of the most prevalent issues that impact employee retention in the hospitality sector, which also can cause workers to become overworked.

Lack of Adaptability

The flexibility of shifts and schedules is one of the key attractions of working in the hospitality industry, yet it's also a usual reason for staff to resign. Employees in the hospitality sector should be adaptable in order to meet the companies' needs. 

Moreover, it is common for employee rosters to change late in the day, which over time can be stressful. There aren't many options for employees to change their own schedules, too. It can also be challenging for employees of a small company to take any time off without feeling as though their absence will negatively affect other employees.

Inadequate Recognition Programs

A successful shift in the hospitality industry is one where everything goes according to plan and the customers are satisfied. However, people find it easier to focus on flaws than to recognise good work. 

These workers usually don't get the recognition they deserve because of the thought that they were able to finish their shifts successfully. Despite enjoying their role in providing outstanding customer service, this can cause them to feel undervalued and unhappy with the industry.

Photo by: Maria Lindsey | Pexels

Toxic Environments


As we already know, the hospitality industry is fast-paced and can be hard to work in. More so, workplaces in such industries can become toxic if interpersonal tensions go unsolved or if communication falls down.

There are several telltale signs of a negative environment:

  • Poor communication across the entire organisation

  • Selective behaviours and social circles

  • poor management or management

  • unmotivated workers

  • high employee turnover

This type of work environment fosters indifference and could make employees lose interest in their work generally. If your employees are no longer motivated to excel in their roles, it will surely have an impact on customer service quality. Therefore, your company's success and reputation are at risk. 


Also, your employees' physical and mental health suffers when they work in a toxic environment. This will drive employees to feel as though they have no choice but to quit their jobs. And this is why the employee retention rate in the hospitality industry is low. 

Limited Future Growth

Young people usually enter and thrive in the hospitality industry; however, many people seek to advance their careers elsewhere. This is due to various reasons, but one of the most typical is that there are few opportunities for growth.

Many people seek potential growth opportunities in their workplace, and they are likely to go elsewhere if their options are limited. This can have an impact on employee retention because many employers view their workers as part-timers who will eventually resign.


Why is Employee Retention a Problem?

Statistics show that a hospitality employee stays in a company for an average of one year. Having a high employee turnover rate has major drawbacks for the hospitality industry. Not to mention, the expense of finding, hiring, and training new employees is costly.

This has an impact on customers as well. They go to hospitality establishments hoping to receive the best customer service possible. Running a business with insufficient staff while actively seeking new hires can mean that your existing employees are unable to deliver their good service.

This could tarnish your company's reputation apart from losing profit because customers are not coming back. 

Key Takeaway 

Not every employee you hire will stick with you, yet poor staff retention can cause unnecessary problems in the hospitality industry. The industry may have a high turnover rate, but your business doesn't have to experience the same thing.

That said, the right hiring practices and performance evaluation procedures can make a significant difference in terms of employee retention. 

Make managing your employees easier by using RosterElf. You can seamlessly manage the scheduling of staff, monitor employees' time and attendance, make use of the time clock app, and many more.

Learn more about how rostering software can help hospitality businesses.

RosterElf: Rostering Made Easy 

RosterElf’s cloud-based payroll and rostering software truly is a game-changer. Say goodbye to roster conflicts and chase employees for their availability to work. Instead, employees can easily update their availability to work and notify managers about it through a smartphone app. 

Staff set the times and days they can work, and RosterElf does the rest. Our software then automatically suggests available employees to fill shifts. 

What are you waiting for? Time to take your rostering and payroll game to the next level and boost your business’ performance. Call us now at 1300 353 000, and our team will be more than happy to assist you. 

To get a clearer view of how our app works, enjoy 30-day access to our tool for free!

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