Prioritize Recruitment or Retention? Striking a Balance

Jul 25, 2023

The hospitality industry has always been a highly competitive field, constantly seeking ways to attract and retain top talent. Traditionally, recruitment efforts have been the focus, with organizations dedicating substantial resources to finding skilled individuals to join their teams. However, there has been a notable shift in priorities in recent years as the industry recognizes the significance of employee retention and its impact on overall success.

In the past, the emphasis on recruitment was driven by the high turnover rates commonly found in the hospitality sector. Jobs in this industry often involve long hours, demanding work environments, and seasonal fluctuations, leading to a revolving door of employees. The cost of constantly hiring and training new staff members became a significant burden for hospitality businesses. As a result, efforts were primarily directed toward attracting new talent to fill these vacant positions.

However, forward-thinking organizations are now realizing the benefits of prioritizing employee retention. The hospitality industry is beginning to understand that retaining skilled and experienced staff members can lead to improved customer satisfaction, increased productivity, and, ultimately, higher profits. Let’s explore some key reasons why the shift in focus is occurring.


  1. Enhanced Customer Experience:

    Employees who have been with a company for an extended period develop a deep understanding of its values, processes, and customer expectations. They become more adept at providing personalized and attentive service, leading to an enhanced customer experience. Retained employees are often better equipped to handle challenging situations, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and increased customer loyalty.

  2. Knowledge and Expertise:

    Experienced staff members possess valuable knowledge and expertise that can significantly benefit an organization. Their familiarity with internal systems, operations, and industry-specific best practices enables them to contribute more effectively to the business’s overall success. Retaining these employees allows organizations to tap into their wealth of knowledge, ensuring higher quality in service delivery.

  3. Cost Savings:

    The financial implications of high turnover rates in the hospitality industry must be considered. Constantly recruiting and training new employees is not only time-consuming but also costly. Organizations can significantly reduce recruitment and training expenses by focusing on retention, leading to substantial cost savings. These saved resources can be reinvested in employee development programs, improved benefits, or enhanced workplace culture.

  4. Employee Morale and Engagement:

    High turnover rates can negatively impact employee morale and engagement. Constantly working with new colleagues can create a sense of instability and disrupt team dynamics. In contrast, a stable workforce fosters a positive work environment, promotes better teamwork, and enhances employee satisfaction. Happy and engaged employees are more likely to stay with a company for an extended period and are motivated to deliver exceptional service.

To effectively shift priorities towards retention, hospitality organizations must implement strategies to engage and retain their employees. Here are some fundamental approaches that operators can adopt:

  • Comprehensive Training and Development:

    Offering opportunities for skill development and career advancement demonstrates a commitment to employee growth and fosters loyalty. Organizations should invest in training programs that enhance the skill sets of their staff members and provide a clear path for professional development within the company.

  • Competitive Compensation and Benefits:

    Offering competitive wages and benefits packages is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. Organizations must conduct regular market research to ensure their compensation packages align with industry standards. Additionally, providing benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and flexible work arrangements can significantly contribute to employee satisfaction and retention.

  • Employee Recognition and Appreciation:

    Recognizing and appreciating employee contributions is crucial for building a positive work culture. Implementing recognition programs, conducting regular performance reviews, and celebrating milestones can create a sense of belonging and boost employee morale.

restaurant workers

  • Work-Life Balance:

    The hospitality industry is known for demanding schedules and long hours. However, promoting work-life balance is becoming increasingly important in retaining employees. Organizations should explore flexible scheduling options, paid time off, and other initiatives that prioritize the well-being of their staff members.


The hospitality industry is witnessing a significant shift in priorities from recruitment to retention. By recognizing the benefits of retaining skilled and experienced employees, organizations can improve customer experiences, reduce costs, and foster a positive work environment. By implementing strategies prioritizing employee engagement, development, and well-being, hospitality businesses can create a loyal and dedicated workforce that contributes to long-term success.