While at the HR in Hospitality Conference last week in Las Vegas, we attended a panel discussion on HR Tips and Trends. The panel consisted of senior HR executives from 3 major hotel companies, the founder and managing partner of HCpartners and a professor from Cornell University. These five respected industry leaders provided innovative ideas and viable solutions for many of the challenges facing today’s Human Resource professionals. Topics included the potential increase of the federal minimum wage, maintaining competitive wages with minimum budgets, performance reviews, engagement and job loyalty. Below are some of the top tips and trends from this session.
If the federal minimum wage is raised to $10.10 an hour, the concern among the panel members is compression. A study done in Seattle, WA was sited during the discussion. Results of this study showed minimal employees below $10.10 an hour, and even most tipped employees in the industry make at least two times their hourly base rate. The issue of compression however was a concern among the panel members. Substantial increases may be needed in order to maintain healthy distances between new hires and longer term employees as well as between managers and supervisors and their subordinates.
Another compensation challenge discussed is maintaining competitive salaries with limited budgets. Recruiting top talent, especially from other industries, but also from within the hospitality industry was seen as a top issue. Top talent demand top salaries which adds to budget concerns and internal equity issues. The HR Executives on this panel stressed they are looking for more variable compensation opportunities and inexpensive rewards with high impact. One HR Executive mentioned sending employees to international locations that have training needs which acts as both a developmental tool and a reward. The advice was ‘Be Creative’.
Employees’ well-being was among the top issues with the future of social security threatened combined with the fact that the lower wage earners generally don’t save. Therefore negative enrollment 401(k) plans are seen by the panel as a necessity today. While few low wage earners will voluntarily enroll in a 401(k) plan, once they are passively enrolled, very few will opt out.
The panel discussed the performance review process and some were in the process of surveying, researching, redesigning and piloting new innovative approaches to this age old problem. Training for both managers and employees was seen as key to a successful process. An approach that is gaining popularity is limiting the core competencies in the performance review. Thorough research and surveying managers and employees should be done to determine what competencies are most valued. Another approach being piloted is ‘anytime feedback’, where feedback can be given anytime anywhere and it becomes the culture to do so.
The panel members felt that engagement and job loyalty required strong leaders who genuinely connect with employees and show that they care. One example was given where a housekeeping department had a 97% job approval rating and this was completely due to a housekeeping manager who connected with her team on a personal level. One way she connected was ‘Happy Mondays’ and ‘Happy Fridays’ where she asked each team member their plans for the weekend and subsequently what happened over the weekend. A small gesture that went a long way to make these employees feel valued and cared for.
Other topics that were discussed were labor shortages with large numbers of boomers preparing to leave the workforce and smaller numbers of millennials entering the workforce. The panel members agreed strong succession plans must be in place. Work-life balance initiatives with flexible schedules and restorative time off are seem as imperative. Millennials value work-life balance more than any other generation. Work-life balance initiatives are also seen as a way to keep women in the workforce long enough to promote. Though about 57% of new hires are women, only 7% become General Managers.
Today’s world moves fast, and as an employer you should constantly be monitoring and adjusting your business operations to meet the ever changing wants and needs of your employees. At WageWatch, we offer accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including market compensation data, benefits survey data and salary reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.