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6 ways an employee recognition program will help your hotel retain talent


Is your hotel’s employee recognition program really that important? Let’s look at the following statistics:

  • 55% of millennials indicated they would leave the hospitality industry within five years1
  • 57.2% of hospitality workers aged 18-35 felt undervalued despite competitive compensation2

With pay at an all-time high and unemployment holding steady at 3.6%3, hotels need to retain their best talent and attract new hires through benefits that go beyond the paycheck.

An employee recognition program, when implemented properly, can transform your hotel’s revolving door of talent into a one-way stream of motivated workers who want to build a career at your company. It will also improve guest satisfaction and boost your GSS score.

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Why are employee recognition programs so successful?

Appreciated employees stick around. They feel valued by their supervisors and peers and arrive to work with a sense of purpose. The impact of a well-implemented recognition program is undeniable. In a recent SHRM survey4, 68% of respondents said their company’s recognition program positively affected retention while 56% also experienced benefits in recruitment. Another study5 by Bersin & Associates showed that companies who institute such programs experience 31% less voluntary turnover.

So, whether you need to put a plan in place or reevaluate the effectiveness of your current plan, make sure you do it the right way.

6 strategies to make your hotel employee recognition program a success

Recognize staff for specific achievements or results.

Don’t make the mistake of giving out awards arbitrarily for a “feel good” effect. That will quickly dilute the program’s value. And while it’s nice to honor tenure milestones, such as employment anniversaries, keep those separate from a recognition program that awards outstanding performance and results.

Encompass all areas of the hotel.

You may want to design specific recognition programs for different areas of your hotel. For instance, the criteria for back of the house employee recognition may differ from front of the house. Just be sure that all staff, regardless of their job role, can be recognized.

Encourage peer to peer recognition.

While employees like acknowledgment by their supervisors, peer recognition often feels more genuine, encourages team spirit, and motivates staff to work collaboratively. Management can still be part of the process but drive the program by asking staff to nominate coworkers that shine.

Promote your employee recognition program internally and recognize staff often.

Continually remind employees about your program and the criteria for recognition. Don’t let your efforts falter because the hotel staff isn’t aware the program exists. Recognition that is awarded infrequently or inconsistently is a guaranteed way to lose traction.

Celebrate the winners.

Recognize those stellar employees in a way that wows. A little pageantry can have a big impact, so don’t just hand them a certificate behind closed doors. Throw a party, cater a lunch or celebrate success with an after-hours get-together. Your employee did something outstanding to be recognized, so reward the accomplishment. Inviting hotel staff is a great way to inspire others to step up their game.

Use employee recognition as a recruitment tool.

Recognition programs can effectively retain employees, but they’re also an excellent way to attract prospective hires. Promoting your hotel as a recognition-rich workplace can draw in talent that may feel undervalued at their current job. Advertise your program in literature, social media and in job postings. And if you’re effectively recognizing employees, you can bet they’re sharing that story with family and friends in the industry.

Heart of the House Hospitality is a managed hospitality service provider focused on putting people first. Our employee recognition program, Stars, is just one of the ways we help over 500 client properties hire and retain talent daily. To learn more about our services visit us at www.heartofthehouse.com and connect with us on LinkedIn.


  1. Oregon State University
  2. Hotel Management
  3. Bureau of Labor and Statistics
  4. SHRM
  5. Bersin & Associates

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