Employer Advice

How To Reduce Staff Turnover

The Hospitality industry experiences a high level of employee turnover, which decreases productivity and costs a company time and resources. A number of factors influence the high turnover ratio in the hospitality industry, and one reason is ineffective recruitment. Many hotels & Restaurant struggle to identify and hire the right employees. Hotel employees need advanced soft skills, which are difficult to measure during the interview process. However, you should develop hiring strategies that give you the best chance of identifying and recruiting the best workers. Understanding what to look for in a job candidate during the recruitment phase can help hotels or restaurant reduce employee turnover. Staff turnover can be a costly business. With each employee who leaves to move goes a great deal of investment, in both time and money. In the worst-case scenario, turnover can have a snowball effect, causing other employees to follow suit and leaving you scrambling to reassemble your staff resources.

Every employer faces the challenge of staff turnover. But how do you, the employer, determine whether the level of turnover you experience is normal / average for your industry or if there are underlying problems with your staff or the working environment?

Here is our checklist of things you can do to ensure that your staff remain engaged and happy and turnover is reduced to its natural minimum:

1. Review Your Hiring / Terminations  History

It’s good practice to look back and review this as a senior manager or HR professional at least once every few years. There are many online tools to help you calculate your precise turnover rate.

Here are a few examples:

However, most companies find quarterly or annual turnover rate calculations more useful, because it usually takes longer for their numbers to get large enough to show meaningful patterns.

Here’s the formula for annual turnover rate:

So, if you have 45 employees at the start of the year and 55 at the end and 5 employees left during that year, your annual turnover rate would be:


*Required Fields


If your turnover rate is higher than 15-20% you probably have some issues to address. If it is significantly higher (i.e. 25%+) then you should be seriously concerned.

In examining your staff turnover you first need to determine what has been due to external factors beyond your control – such as family issues, relocation, change of circumstances, changes in market conditions, the economy and a competitor opening up nearby etc – and what has been prompted by internal factors that you could control,
reduce or alter completely.

2. Review Your Hiring and 'On-boarding' Process

HR is in a quandary. Latest figures suggest that 90% of large organisations can predict and model their budget yet only 4% can model and predict their workforce. With such uncertainty, employers must reconsider their talent acquisition strategies.

Employer branding, culture and the candidate experience all play a role in attracting qualified candidates but most organisations are guilty of overlooking the final and most important element of the candidate experience – “onboarding”.  Adapting a candidate to survive, survey suggests that one in five new hires leave within a year, with 22% of these employees leaving within the first six weeks

Poor onboarding process plays a key role in these figures.

Why does onboarding matter?

Today’s new hires expect more than a brief orientation and a fistful of paperwork to review before being introduced to their new colleagues. The early stages of a fresh role bring enthusiastic employees who relish the challenge of a new job. As an employer it’s your opportunity to make a great first impression.

Effective onboarding accomplishes the following:-

Onboarding ensures your new hires remain engaged and feel part of your company culture, improving turnover levels. The new employee gets on with their job without feeling overly stressed or anxious about whether or not they are a suitable ‘fit’.

An onboarding experience which reflects the promises made during the interview process will ensure greater satisfaction, engagement and loyalty from your new employees.

It reduces the time-to-productivity, a critical metric in successful talent acquisition. With a third of GCC companies experiencing turnover levels as high as 21% (Association of Talent Development) A strong onboarding programme will reinforce the new hire’s value to employers and motivate them to succeed. 

The world’s most successful Hospitality employers have an integrated onboarding programme to help them achieve just that, resulting in the following:-

66% improved integration of their new hires

62% higher time-to-productivity ratios

54% higher engagement levels

Consider also the possibility that it may not be your workplace that is the issue – you could simply be hiring the wrong people, who in turn then do not thrive in the job at they should. Review your interviewing questions and techniques, as well as looking at the staff who are making the hiring decisions. The hiring process should be successful in finding candidates who are not only capable and qualified for the job, but who also fit into the work environment and want to stay long term. Look at the company’s success stories to find out what techniques were used, then replicate this process.

The first 90 to 180 days of employment is a critical time period for any new hire. You may need to review your “on-boarding, training and orientation procedures” to ensure that they are as effective as they could be. Look for ways to help make new employees feel more confident and comfortable in their new role and they will develop, grow and ultimately stay

3. Providing Regular Feedback is Key

Engaging in regular feedback sessions and providing appropriate affirmation for a job well done is a good way of letting people know that they are valued and are contributing effectively to the success of the business.

What’s a cheap, fast, and easy way to stoke employee productivity and interest? Just tell them how they’re doing and provide some feedback. It took just a few seconds to send that note or email over, but the employee’s ROI was through the roof and you will see the benefits both in your operation and the employees all-round motivation.

This also shows good leadership, which is critical to the success of any business? The executive or manager who took the time to send the note or email showed what true leadership is about. No classes needed. No books to read. No off-sites needed. If you treat your team well they will preverbally walk through fire for you and go that extra mile needed.

The recipient of the note or email will get the endorsement for the skill and ability and duty that is critical for their future success in your organisation.

However, there are some basics that you have to know and that is dealing with and motivating people. If you have to read a book to get a sense of how to get that right, you may just have a little problem yourself?

In the end, it is all about the people. We all want to be treated with respect, and for the most part, we want to succeed. How do you help your people do that?

Your role as a manager is to help and facilitate your team to succeed. Train them when they are struggling and mentor them when they need it. It is a managers’ job to get them on board and keep them on board. If you are leading a team, your role is to bring out the best in your people. A great manager will increase performance any way they can. Give an employee the tools, knowledge skills, guidance and direction and they will thrive.

The bottom line is a great a manager gets the work done through his team. More importantly, they care about the people that work for them. That is why feedback is so important.

Feedback is an essential element

Feedback is an essential element for everyone in an organization’s workforce. Giving feedback is a task you perform again and again as a manager. It’s about letting people know where they are and where to go next in terms of expectations and goals — yours, theirs, and the organization’s.

This CAN’T wait until some performance review. It has to be done on a consistent basis.

Your objective in giving feedback is to provide guidance by giving information in a timely manner, either to support effective behaviour or to guide someone back on track toward successful performance.

There are two approaches that I love in this situation.

  • Feedback should be given as soon after an event as possible. Otherwise, the input isn’t memorable and may not come across as sincere.
  • If someone was very helpful, creative, or insightful at a meeting, say so before you leave the room. Tomorrow or the next day or week may not matter. Whether it is in an email, handwritten note, or one-on-one, it does not matter. The important thing to remember is give it up as soon as possible.

Employees tend to be hungry for feedback that will help them thrive in the workplace.

This is an effective way of helping employees to feel valued and that their voice is being heard

4. Conduct Exit Interviews for every Employee Departure

You’re going to lose employees every now and then -- that much is a given. But don’t let their departures be in vain. Why people leave should always be taken seriously and investigated further by asking leavers detailed questions and, if necessary, reading between the lines!

The exit interview is an invaluable source of information to assess the overall quality of work life within your organization and identify opportunities to improve retention and employee engagement. 

Here are ten reasons why you should be implementing a structured exit interview process in your organization:

1)     Departing employees are generally more forthcoming than those still in their jobs

2)     You will learn the reason for an employee’s departure (it may be different than you think!)

3)     The exit interview allows the employee to provide constructive feedback and leave on a positive note

4)     That last touch point provides you with an opportunity to review continuing obligations with the employee (e.g., non-competes, intellectual property agreements ,company property, handovers etc.)

5)    It provides the opportunity to ask if there are any open issues of which you need to be aware.  This can help reduce risk and identify matters that may require immediate attention to prevent other employees leaving.

6)     You will get a candid assessment of your organization’s environment and culture

7)     Insight into recruiting, on boarding and training needs may be revealed.

8)     The feedback will help you to identify areas that can help improve staff retention and engagement.

9)      Improvement opportunities in management development and succession planning can be detected if this is a reason for an employee leaving.

10)   It’s cost effective and easy to facilitate with HR. The benefits certainly outweigh the time it takes.

Often people don't reveal their real reasons for leaving, since professional staff always try to not burn bridges with former places of employment, which is a diplomatic and professional way to exit. This is why some insightful interpretation of the results is necessary.

Exit interviews should be formal and standardised, using the same questions for everyone where possible. The key to gaining the benefit from this procedure is to follow up on the results. Gather your management team to discuss the findings of your survey, then develop strategies to address issues of concern regarding any grievances that have been expressed.

Make your exit interviews into something more than a chance to communicate information about benefits and other off-boarding matters. Simply going through the motions is a lost opportunity to get feedback about your organization and find out why you’re losing employees (especially valuable ones). Getting the perspective of departing employees can help you develop retention strategies for the future.

Get the most out of your exit interviews by asking these questions.

Why are you leaving?

Probably an obvious first question, but it’s an important one. “This gives the employee a zero-pressure opportunity to tell you if your compensation structure stinks, or if they just got everything they could from your organization and now want to grow their career elsewhere,

What could we have done better?

With this question, you’re looking for information on how to make your organization a better place to work. The responses will help you keep current employees happy and engaged.

What does your new company/position offer that made you decide to leave?

The answer to this question can be telling - not only in terms of who you’re competing with for talent, but also in terms of areas where your organization may be lacking in terms of benefits, flexibility, culture or professional development opportunities.

Were you comfortable talking to your manager about work problems?

This question is helpful in evaluating a manager’s ability to interact effectively with his or her direct reports. The response can inform not only the process for replacing the exiting employee, but the professional development of his or her former manager, as well.

What three things could your manager/the company do to improve?

Among the most common reasons employees leave jobs is feeling as though they’re not a good match with their manager or the company. Even if this isn’t the reason an employee is leaving, there’s always room for improvement.  

Did you feel you were kept up to date on new developments and company policies?

Transparency is important for any good organization. Before they’re out the door, use this opportunity to find out whether your exiting employees felt like they were a valued part of the company, and how much transparency they felt there was from the management team. If one employee felt as though they were on the outside looking in, chances are there are more who feel the same way; knowing this can help you address the issue before it becomes a bigger problem. 

Were you given the tools to succeed at your job?

If employees aren’t set up for success, then they’re not going to stay engaged - or with the company - for very long. Finding out what you’re doing right or wrong in terms of supporting your employees in their roles will help you identify areas for improvement moving forward.

What was your best or worst day on the job?

The answer to this question can provide useful insight into employee engagement – what your staff likes, what makes them feel successful or where you’re missing the mark.

What did you like most about your job? And what would you change about it?

If the job/position itself was the problem for your departing employee, then finding out their likes, dislikes and what they’d change about the role will help you avoid running into the same problem with his or her replacement.

If you had a friend looking for a job, would you recommend us? Why or why not?

“Bad word of mouth about an employer is hard to overcome,” says Rodgers. So if your employees are leaving with a sour taste in their mouths, it’s good to find out what you’re doing wrong so you can fix it.

Are there any other unresolved issues or additional comments?

End with an open question. It’s kind of like opening Pandora’s box, but it’s better to hear it all at the exit interview rather than afterwards from gossip – or worse, on a website reviewing employers,

But don’t let the exit interview be the only time you check in with your employees. If you’re serious about developing a retention strategy, then a comprehensive approach to soliciting feedback, like surveys lets your employees tell you if they are comfortable allowing them to open up not just when they’re leaving, but also when they’re staying.

5. Employee Recognition Schemes

Appreciating and recognizing employees are at the heart of any business. Disgruntled or apathetic employees can suck the energy out of any organisation or department which will in turn affect the department or properties performance. Engaged employees pass on their enthusiasm to customers. In fact, customers are more likely to become engaged if they are served by passionate employees. In other words, engaged employees are a boost to any business’ bottom line. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to boost employee engagement. Affordable staff appreciation activities can boost engagement, particularly through relationship building.

Employees who feel they have a positive personal relationship with their manager and supervisors are more likely to be engaged, and staff appreciation get-togethers provide opportunities for employees to connect with their peers and their superiors.

Here are some ideas for staff appreciation that can be executed with very little cost.

  • Ask peers to nominate and vote for employees of the month. Team members will appreciate the recognition that they often notice and appreciate the day-to-day actions of their peers. If you do award Employee of the Month awards, be specific: write out and publicly explain exactly why a certain employee was selected.
  • Start a staff appreciation program. Like a rewards program that department stores and supermarkets have. Staff Appreciation Programs can award points for punctuality, and any traits you would like to encourage. Points may be redeemed for small prizes, or certain privileges, like leaving a half hour early one day. The institution of such a program can energize your employees.
  • Plan a surprise achievement celebration for an employee or a team of employees. Even if you just put on some great tunes and provide the soft drinks and cakes, the employees you recognize will be delighted that their work was noticed and appreciated.
  • Pass on the praise. If you hear a positive remark about a person from a customer, repeat it to that person as soon as possible, perhaps via email. Copying managers and supervisors on such comments is an especially powerful way to help employees feel appreciated.
  • Call an employee to your office to thank them. Since most employees assume that something is wrong when they are called to a Manager or supervisor’s office, they will be especially pleased to receive your honest gratitude for a job well done.
  • Set up a suggestion program. This can be as simple as setting up a suggestions box or as thorough as completing company-wide questionnaires. Employees who feel that their opinions and ideas are taken seriously are more likely to be engaged
  • Express interest in your employees’ professional development. Even if your firm cannot fund the employees’ professional development at this time, your employees will appreciate your interest and guidance on achieving their dreams.
  • Post and follow a large Celebration Calendar in your office. Celebrate employees’ birthdays and employment anniversaries.
  • Hone your communication skills. Refer to employees by their first name. Listen actively and carefully to their thoughts. Even non-verbal communication can provide encouragement and recognition; when was the last time that an honest smile or strong handshake brightened your day? The most simple gestures are often the most effective.
  • Establish relationships between staff and upper management. Employees like to feel that they know upper management, even if they don’t work with them on a daily basis. Perhaps you’ll encourage interaction across your organization’s hierarchy by sending new employees out to lunch on their first day with your senior manager. As a manager, take time to get to know your employees.
  • Cross training is an important tool so each department can feel valued , as well as for co-workers to know what challenges and responsibilities they have in their daily duties. This can lead to better team cooperation within your organisation
  • Send thank you notes to employees who work long hours and work above and beyond therir duties. This method may be even more effective if you send thank you notes to employees’ home addresses. This acknowledges that you understand how much home-time the employee sacrificed to complete that complicated project.
  • Wherever possible, allow employees to select their next assignments and path of their development. If you can allow employees to choose their work, they will be more engaged and dedicated. (everyone loves to have choices, right?)
  • Have an employee representative attend a “special meeting” they wouldn’t otherwise attend. This can lead to a feeling of inclusion when the junior staff of an organisation know what is happening.
  • Recognize your employees’ personal accomplishments. Running a marathon? Or just donated gallons of blood to their local hospital? They will appreciate your recognition of their personal accomplishments, even if all you do is acknowledge them at the beginning of your next staff meeting.
  • Give employees something they are not expecting - an extra long lunch break, to go home early or come in to work later that normal. These little things count.
  • Get creative in your praise. Although you pay your employees, it’s often the thought that counts in employee recognition. If you know an employee is into rock climbing, for instance, you could give them a book on this topic with an inscription of your thanks. Or perhaps you’ll Photoshop an employee’s face on to a picture of saying, “Thanks a Million.” Get it framed and present to them.
  • Make it personal. It can be tempting to have your HR department handle such events as workplace anniversaries, but without manager involvement, such recognition can come off as going through the motions – its better coming from their direct manger as it makes the employee feel a sense of inclusion
  • Ask for employees’ ideas on retreats, meetings, and other “fun time.” Why should the administrative assistant get to decide where your next company outing will be? Include employees in planning company events by collecting feedback from every employee, or asking a certain dedicated employee to volunteer to help plan an event.
  • Establish a yearly award session to recognize employees who consistently do their job well. Too often, employees are only recognized for one instance of going above and beyond company expectations. And yet many employees work very hard to accomplish the regular duties of their job. Encourage consistency by recognizing employees for doing their job well—after all, it’s not easy to find good employees. Awards of recognition and small gifts go a long way
  • Support employees by providing space for their fliers. If you highlight and support employees’ personal endeavors in this way, they will know that you care about their personal well-being.

With so many ways to frugally recognize employees, there’s no reason for any employee to feel invisible or under-appreciated. Creating increased opportunities for recognition in the workplace helps employees to feel valued and important, which in turn generates loyalty towards the employer.

6. Improve Your Incentives and Perks

Create more ways in which employees can earn rewards, such as additional holiday time, bonuses, material rewards etc.

Here are several perks to consider at your start-up.

1. Unlimited Vacation Time

Letting employees decide how much vacation time they take may seem like a slippery slope. But it can actually help motivate them to work harder. You trust them to do their jobs, and, in exchange, they’re free to take time off as they need. Many of today’s fast-growing companies including have adopted unlimited PTO policies (paid time off or personal time

off). Fundamentally, an employer then trusts employees to think about what’s best for the company, their work, and themselves. And that’s a really empowering perk.

2. Sabbaticals

Like many busy work environments, it’s logistically impossible for employees to take off more than a couple weeks or more than a month at a time. But offering a lengthier break after, say, five years of employment can differentiate your company from competitors and let your employees recharge. This in term can boost retention, while providing valuable personal and professional development opportunities for an employee.

3. Flexi Time

In a customer focused and services industry this is often difficult to offer. However when you have an environment that is not governed by time it’s a nice way to compensate for that “always on” work mentality is by giving them a little flexibility in their work hours.

You can set this up in various ways: Some companies require their employees to work certain core hours, but let them create their own work schedule around that time frame. Others allow them to work whenever they choose, as long as they produce quality work and finish it on time.

There are many benefit to giving your employees flexitime. A work-life balance is among the biggest benefits. Not all employees have a flexible schedule. Employees may have all sorts of conflicts in their personal lives that don’t allow for a typical job, yet need to stay in a full time position for financial reasons.

Giving employees flexitime allows them to schedule their lives around work in a more according way without sacrificing work productivity. When employees are free to get their personal objectives accomplished, while still working full time, they are free to focus on doing the job at hand, rather than worrying about their personal lives, and how they’ll get everywhere on time.

4. Fitness Membership

Healthy employees are good for your business, as they can lower your insurance costs while also preventing sick days. And while you may not be able to install an on-site gym, you can give employees a monthly allowance to pay for gym memberships, yoga sessions, or other fitness classes.

5. Travel and commuter benefits

Getting to work can be a costly expense for your employee each month. Consider helping them pay for these travel expenses. This is a good benefit to offer in kind to all employees.

6. Free Food

Everyone needs to eat, and so food on duty should be a benefit always given. Whether this is stocking the refrigerator with yummy health snacks or providing a catered for breakfast, lunch or dinner if you are a larger organisation that has the facilities to do so. It’s a relatively small cost that can pay back in dividends by strengthening your workplace culture.

7. Staff Discounts

Employee discounts normally vary from company to company. But it’s a great low-cost perk that makes it easy to give employees access to discounts in you company for services that they would not normally get the chance to experience. These discounts may not cost your business much (or anything), but they’re great perks to offer and employees appreciate them.

Ultimately, every workplace is different and the most valuable benefits will depend on your employees and their personal needs. It could mean the different between securing a new employee or not and one staying or leaving.

7. Remove Negative Influences

Negative Employees: How to keep one from spoiling the whole bunch

Do you have a bad apple that’s spoiling the whole bunch? Negativity in the workplace can be contagious and affect your whole team. But how do you approach employees about their bad attitudes and behaviour?

Negativity can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from poor employee performance or a bad attitude to not contributing to the team.

This behaviour can affect your other employees and your business’s bottom line in many ways:

  • Morale – Misery loves company, and when your team is focusing on what’s wrong with a company they work for, it’s hard for them to recognize what’s right with the company.
  • Resentment – If you, as the manager or superior, do nothing about a negative person, the rest of your team may grow to resent you for bringing them all “down” to become part of the negative element.
  • Absenteeism – Other employees won’t want to put up with the negativity, even if other aspects of their jobs are rewarding. They may not show up for work if they’re scheduled to work with a difficult employee, or even get to a point where they seek greener pastures. Now, you’re dealing with the cost of finding and onboarding new employees as well as dealing with negative employee and their impact.
  • Productivity – People do not like want to work with “Negative associates” this in turn can affect productivity of your organisation.
  • Customer dissatisfaction – If your negative employees deal with your customers, beware. They more than likely will not be giving the level of service that customers expect as they often fail to follow the guidances set out.
  • Company Profitability – If you’re missing deadlines because of productivity, you may lose jobs or get a reputation for not delivering or delivering substandard services or products. If you can’t produce results, your customers won’t be happy and they’ll go somewhere that can match their expectations.

If you are faced with any of the above its time to act.

If you have an employee whose behaviour is having a negative impact on the department or organisation you need to nip it in the bud.  Expedite this in a timely manner because negativity can spread like a virus.

When you confirm you negative employees, let them know that the negative attitude is a performance issue that is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. When they are disrupting the team or your organisation, not contributing and affecting productivity, make it clear that them not performing their job responsibilities will not be allowed to continue.

Discuss how their behaviour affects the team, the company and their relationships with in the company. Be very clear about what you expect and the outcome you want. Make sure they understand what will happen if the negative approach and behaviour continues. This process should be outlined in your company policies. Your company policy should also cover the subject of respecting the rights and feelings of others and refraining from behaviour and actions that would be considered harmful to their co-workers or the company.

Deal with negativity on a case-by-case basis. An employee’s bad behaviour may be a result of stress or personal issues. Advise you want all your employees to be successful, and if it’s an issue that can be helped then let them know that you available to help where you can.

If it’s not getting better

As a Supervisor or manager, you should keep a diary of each of your employees. It will include notes on what they do well and where they need development. This is also where you can note when you’ve talked to them about their behaviour and performance – positive or negative. Following from the initial chat and record keeping, if you see negativity popping up too much in a diary, it may be time to take the talks to the next level which would normally involve progressing to a discipline process. This can be a tricky and sensitive issue to address, but it is important because just one negative or uncooperative team member can adversely influence an entire team. Take steps to address such behaviour.

8. Reduce Stress In The Workplace

Stress is overwhelmingly prevalent in modern society. Sleep depravation, poor health, relationship woes and financial concerns can all take their toll, however the number one cause of stress, according to Statistic Brain, is work related pressures.

High stress levels often cause or can worsen a long list of health issues, including heart disease, obesity, depression and diabetes. 



In order to reduce stress in the workplace, it’s important that you as a manager lead by example. As a leader it is critical you keep a lid on your own emotions; don’t let negativity, anger or stress rub off on your employees. Practice what you preach and ensure you give yourself enough time to de-stress at the end of the working day – go for a run, enjoy quality time with your family or arrange to socialize with friends. Likewise, organizing walking meetings rather than meetings in the boardroom, taking regular breaks and booking a holiday will not only put you in a better frame of mind, it will also show your employees that it’s okay to take some time out.


Exercise and a healthy lifestyle is extremely important when it comes to combating workplace related stress. Employee wellness, such as paying for a portion of employee’s gym memberships or running group is a good way to help employees unwind and feel better about themselves. Start a departmental tournament – football, cricket, volley ball, etc is a good easy start.


Employees spend a lot of time with their co-workers and therefore it is important they get along. The more people enjoy their time at work, the better the atmosphere will be – and a better organisation atmosphere leads to productivity, creativity and collaboration. At least once a week set aside an hour to bring your department team together in a fun environment; play a game, go out for lunch or arrange just to do something together. Social activity is good for reducing stress, boosting morale and team building.


Open communication is critical in leadership; keeping employees up to date regarding changes within the department and organisation. Your expectations and their own performance not only keeps them on track but also reduces feelings of stress and anxiety about” how am I doing”– after all no one likes to be kept in the dark. Open communication works both ways and the more you converse with your employees, the more likely they are to share concerns, ideas and thoughts making for much stronger working relationships and a happier healthier overall company culture.  

Any way in which you can improve efficiencies or simplify processes in the workplace will contribute to a reduction in the stress on your employees and improve the working atmosphere.