Employee Retention Term Paper

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Employee Retention

The hospitality industry has seemingly exponential growth potential as the economies of many nations begin to merge, creating an environment of heavy travel and increased dependence on an increasingly global economy. Additionally, the increasingly global economy will likely continue to influence leisure exposure to different cultures and places, therefore stressing the importance of industry answers to growth. Through this emphasis on the global nature of business, as well as many other factors the hospitality industry stands to gain members as both customers and employees in just as exponential a fashion as the growth of the industry itself. (Daniels, 1985) Sustainable growth is then the primary factor in need of address in the industry and growth brings with it a whole set of special concerns and problems, one of the greatest being employee retention. (Lucas, 2003, p. 88) the hospitality industry is experiencing a relative crisis with regards to recruitment and retention as a result of exponential growth as well as factors such as increased diversity (Aronson, 2002, p. 46) (Waldinger & Lichter, 2003, p. 215), a difficult imbalance between skilled and unskilled labor needed to sustain quality (Waldinger & Lichter, 2003, p. 36), nonexistent benefits, such as health insurance, profit sharing, retirement benefits as well as environmental constraints that are particular to the industry.

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Though a new emphasis on service industry growth in the national and global economies has begun to address issues of equity in employment in the hospitality and other service industries, where employees are seeking to remain longer in such positions, and therefore need to have incentives to do so. There are still many issues yet to be addressed with regard to how to come to equitable terms for an employee working a job that was traditionally thought of as temporary, in the scheme of ones life, especially in the case of a field where there is limited opportunity for education and few positions for advancement. (Hall & Jayawardena, 2002, p. 12)

TOPIC: Term Paper on Employee Retention Assignment

The American values of individualism and meritocracy suggest that workers should improve their lot by moving out of fast-food jobs rather than by improving the compensation and working conditions in these jobs. (Leidner, 2002, p. 27)

In fact some hospitality industry jobs and the employees that fill them, are thought of as social pariahs if they are sought and retained by intention.

The hospitality industry, as well as all service based industries must rise to the occasion, by creating employment situations and packages that answer the need for long-term, quality employees, through both social and economic means. (Mor Barak, 2000, p. 339) There are at least a few examples of best practices in the hospitality industry that provide creative means to support a growing industry.

An example of a mutually beneficial program to employ welfare recipients is the Pathways to Independence program, sponsored by the Marriott International hotel and hospitality chain (Laab, 1998). Pathways is a reality-based, 180-hour training program (60 hours of classroom training and 120 hours of occupational training) that helps welfare recipients develop the skills they need for full-time employment with Marriott or other hospitality industry employers. Participants who complete the program successfully are guaranteed an offer of full-time employment with benefits. Marriott employs staff mentors in its program who serve as counselors and help individuals struggling to break free from welfare pasts to stay with the program. The program has been very successful in different sites. For example, the Los Angeles Airport Marriott hotel Pathways program, begun in 1995, has graduated 110 participants and placed 80 people in jobs of whom 83% have been retained. (Mor Barak, 2000, p. 339)

Creativity is the key to change and making nontraditional partnerships with employees and outside agencies can benefit the industry greatly, the above example is a retention program that works as it offers a system were people seeking employment, with a great desire to keep it are getting the benefit of education and placement and the employer is tapping a previously underserved portion of the population to recruit and retain staff.

Major Obstacles to Employee Retention:

To rise to the occasion the industry, as well as individual entities within it must first recognize the factors that engender employee retention, on every level, including economic incentive, benefit incentive, social incentive and potential for personal growth incentive. Industry models must become inclusive work places, according to a model that best meets the needs of all parties. (Mor Barak, 2000, p. 339) the industry must address the availability of personal growth opportunities, including continuing education and the availability of enough positions within the industry to accept those who choose to explore this option. Sadly, when seeking information on continuing education offered within the hospitality industry one is more likely to find hospitality listed as a top three expense to be accounted for when other business types are offering continuing education for employees, than you are to find an industry leader that offers such services to its own employees. (Glover & Law, 1996, p. 49)

Questions of equitable pay in a scale that can be perceived to provide increased income based on years of service, a particular weakness in the hospitality industry where many positions offer little to none in the way of increased earnings, with low ceilings and low entry level wages.

Not only do workers get ranked. Jobs also stand in a hierarchy, with the characteristics that workers value (pay, stability, benefits, and autonomy) typically going together. So there are "good jobs" and "bad jobs," and the size of the potential pool of candidates varies with the quality of a given position. At the top of the labor market, there is often an ample labor supply; even if employers experience spot shortages, the job-seeker correctly perceives that the number of good jobs is almost never sufficient. (Waldinger & Lichter, 2003, p. 9)

Within the hospitality industry this is an even more serious situation, as there is much larger pool of entry level jobs, than there is a pool of available high-skill level jobs. "Hospitality employment across the globe can be characterized as 'vulnerable' employment, and is subject to regulation in areas such as minimum wages." (Lucas, 2003, p. 1) Some industry leaders have responded by creating pseudo-high ranked jobs, such as say, shift supervisors and/or team leaders but across the board these positions are likely to be an assumption of responsibility with very little real additional compensation.

Performance-based promotions. Conventional pay prevents supervisors and managers from directly and immediately paying a subordinate for a job well done. And tight pay bands reduce the ability to reward performance adequately through annual pay increases. The consequence is that many supervisors and managers must promote top performers to reward them. This creates competition among employees and forces the best performers out of their jobs and into management. (Abernathy, 1998)

In an industry where there is such an extreme imbalance between entry level positions and management positions it is clear that the standard business model associated with performance-based promotions should be thrown out the window, as when and employee sees little in the way of real job advancement seeking quality becomes personally unproductive.

As frequently noted, work expands to fill the time available. When you are paid by the hour, it is not in your financial interest to work more efficiently, since doing so will simply result in more tasks being assigned or, worse, a cutback in your hours. This problem is compounded when employees depend on overtime pay to supplement their base income. I find it amazing that management really expects employees to form teams to develop more efficient processes that will simply result in their having to learn additional jobs for the same pay or that might even cause them to lose their current jobs. (Abernathy, 1998)

In this environment the sad but rather logical answer then becomes a situation where the good is not rewarded and the bad is punished, which is contrary to the overall environment of the workplace and simply leaves people feeling even less secure in their employment.

While Redman and Matthews (1998) contend that effective retention programmes will achieve higher levels of SQ, there is a view that the most talented people leave the sector, while the less competent stay for fear of becoming unemployed (ILO, 2001). In spite of the increase in hospitality management programmes and more hospitality graduates (Ineson and Kempa, 1997), there are poor graduate transfer rates (Barron, 1997) and demand outstrips supply (Purcell and Quinn, 1996). (Lucas, 2003, p. 88)

Management strategies become counterproductive and do not offer the employee real incentive to strive for achievement, and a downward spiral ensues, where time limits and quotas, rather than quality and careful attention to detail, crucial in the hospitality industry, drive workplace motivation and drive good employees out of the job/field/industry.

Diversity is also an issue that needs serious address within the hospitality industry as so many entry level positions in the industry are filled by the available pool of entry level employees, many of whom… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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