By Juli Jones, vice president, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
Today there are multiple opportunities and threats facing the sales discipline. Recruiting and retaining sales team talent is hardly the least of them.
HSMAI and the HSMAI Foundation—along with our Sales Advisory Board—are tackling these issues on multiple fronts. Recently we dug deep at the 2021 Sales Leader Forum with insights from John Brich, vice president of Searchwide Global.
John recommended two big steps that can help a hotel company survive the war on talent.
1. Break the mold.
Roughly half of the workers in a recent survey said they would turn down a job offer that mandated full-time in-office work.
What does that mean for hotels? Across the industry we must overhaul and modernize our staffing levels, compensation models, and ways of managing people and the work. John recommended a few things you can do today to break the mold:
- In your recruitment efforts, home in on the industry’s strong value proposition: stimulating, fun, and travel-centric careers with significant job diversity and growth opportunities.
- Recruit talent from other industries with transferrable skills to bring in new and different perspectives. This article from HSMAI’s Sales advisory board outlines professions and industries can you target for talent.
2. Maintain motivation (yours and your team’s).
No one wants to work 60 hours a week! Work-life balance is here to stay—and that is a huge adjustment for our industry. As leaders, we must all be more focused on balance and flexibility.
John recommended considering a menu of flexible benefits that give today’s sales professionals what they are looking for. Think about flexible hours and vacation, flexible workspaces, enhanced health benefits, and childcare.
As your staffing budget recovers, he suggested taking some of the pressure off your team by recruiting utility players who can effectively do 2-3 jobs and are happy for the diversity. Also, gig workers and job sharing can be an important part of your rebuilding plan.
John had the Sales Leader Forum attendees share their most popular and effective strategies and best practices for maintaining motivation. Some of their recommendations include:
- Illustrate growth opportunities and career paths, and have a development plan for each employee.
- Provide flexible work space, and allow employees to make their work environment what THEY need/want.
- Offer sign-on bonuses and referral incentives.
- Schedule regular skip-level meetings and one-on-ones where the employ sets the agenda, not the manager.
- Recognize and show appreciation for the team, and celebrate successes.