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3 key people challenges in the leisure and hospitality industry – and how to fix them

The leisure and hospitality industry is a fast-paced, dynamic environment that requires employees to have both creative and professional skills. Unfortunately, this can lead to the emergence of various people challenges such as high turnover, lack of motivation, difficulty in training and more – indeed, a recent Gallup survey found that only 35% of employees in the leisure and hospitality industry say they’re engaged.

This article will discuss the key people challenges in the leisure and hospitality industry, as well as strategies for addressing them in order to create a successful work environment that motivates employees.

1. High turnover

The leisure and hospitality industry is characterised by high turnover rates, as employees move from one job to another in search of better pay or a more suitable working environment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee turnover rate in the leisure and hospitality industry is 75%.

This can have a significant effect on productivity and profitability, especially when hiring costs are factored in. Additionally, it can be difficult to keep staff motivated and engaged when they feel like their job may not be secure.

2. Lack of motivation

Low morale is a common issue in the leisure and hospitality industry, as staff often experience feelings of burnout from long hours or lack of support from management.

Employees who are uninspired by their work can lead to reduced productivity, thereby impacting overall profitability. It can also be difficult to attract and retain the best talent when staff morale is low.

3. Difficulty in training

The leisure and hospitality industry often requires employees to have a variety of skills – from customer service know-how to creative expertise. As such, training can be more complex than in other industries, particularly for entry-level or junior staff.

Organisations may have to invest time and resources into ensuring their team is up to date with the latest trends and technologies in the field.

Addressing workplace challenges to create a motivating environment

In order to ensure a successful work environment in the leisure and hospitality industry, organisations must take steps to address the people challenges discussed above. From training and development initiatives to employee recognition programs, there are a number of strategies that can be implemented in order to create an engaging work environment for staff.

A key strategy for businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry is to invest in high-calibre or high-potential employees (HIPOs). This means looking beyond qualifications and experience when recruiting and instead focusing on traits such as creativity, problem solving abilities and a passion for the field.

In order to create an engaged team, organisations should aim to foster a culture of collaboration and creativity. This can be achieved through various initiatives such as team-building exercises, regular one-on-one meetings with staff and opportunities for employees to share their ideas and opinions. Organisations should ensure employees feel appreciated and valued by providing them with meaningful recognition for their efforts.

Understanding what employees really think about your organisation

Understanding what your employees think about your company is crucial – and that’s where employee surveys come in. They can provide valuable insights into how your people perceive their work environment, job satisfaction, and opportunities for growth, and help leisure and hospitality organisations to identify problem areas and address them in a timely manner.

High levels of employee engagement translate to increased productivity, higher customer satisfaction, and lower turnover rates. Through employee surveys, employers can identify areas that may be causing low engagement levels and take corrective measures to address them.

Employee surveys also provide a platform for employees to voice their concerns and provide feedback on their work environment – including things like the effectiveness of training and development programmes, which we’ve already highlighted as a focus area.

By listening to their employees’ feedback – and acting on it – leisure and hospitality organisations can identify workplace issues and implement changes or interventions that lead to a better work environment. Addressing workplace issues can enhance employee satisfaction and boost morale.

High employee turnover can significantly impact a leisure and hospitality organisation’s performance and customer satisfaction. Employee surveys can identify factors contributing to high turnover rates, such as inadequate compensation, lack of opportunities for growth, or a poor work environment. By addressing these factors, leisure and hospitality organisations can reduce turnover rates and retain top talent.

Finally, as long as your organisation makes a clear effort to address the feedback received, employee surveys can strengthen communication and trust between employees and their employers. By seeking their employees’ feedback and responding to their concerns, leisure and hospitality organisations can enhance their employees’ sense of value and investment in the company – which, in turn, can improve loyalty and retention.

Why should you focus on employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a deep rational and emotional connection to your organisation and the work you do. It’s the outcome of a great employee experience, and starts during the recruitment process – before you even turn up for your first day.

Engagement is important because it unlocks the potential of each individual, their motivation, and maximises their discretionary effort. If they’re engaged enough to become advocates for your organisation, engagement can live on long after employees leave – which has a tangible impact on commercial outcomes for your business.

You can read more about how to reach and engage employees in the leisure and hospitality industry in our article here, and how to improve employee engagement here.


WorkBuzz helps you can gather real-time feedback from your people through regular employee listening, via our fast, simple and flexible employee engagement platform. We also offer expert consultancy through our People Science team, so you can action the feedback in a way that drives positive change across your organisation.

Our team comes with a wealth of experience supporting leisure and hospitality organisations of all sizes, including Five Guys, Leonardo Hotels, Prezzo and more.

If you’re looking for more advice on how to support your leisure and hospitality organisation during these challenging times, don’t hesitate to book a demo today. We can help you devise and implement strategies that will ensure the continued success of your business in the years to come.

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