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Enamor younger workers in the hospitality industry with 5 strategies.

attracting young talent

The world of work is constantly evolving, and the hospitality industry is no exception. Today, one of the biggest challenges facing hotels is how to attract young talent.

This generation, composed mainly of Generation Z and Millennials, has its own expectations and priorities when it comes to looking for work, and if the industry wants to count on them, it is going to have to get its act together, adopt changes and above all: listen to them and understand them.

"Young people born after 1995, will represent 75% of the workforce in less than 10 years and to meet this challenge, the entry into the labor market of the new generations, much more digitally adapted, is essential."


In this article, we will understand why hiring and retaining young talent is a challenge, and more importantly, effective strategies to win back these talented young professionals. 

The current hospitality landscape

The hospitality sector is a fundamental pillar of the tourism industry and has experienced steady growth in recent years. However, this growth has not been without its challenges. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a number of difficulties, such as declining demand, travel restrictions and the need to implement stringent yet costly health and safety measures.

In addition, as we have discussed previously, the hospitality industry is in a constant struggle to attract and retain talented workers, especially younger members of the workforce. Worker expectations have evolved, and traditional job offerings are no longer sufficient to attract this generation. This translates into fewer workers, reduced services and a more "fast-paced" work style.

"Services now are fairer, there is more running. If you want to provide good service you have to take action."

José Luis Yzuel, President of the Spanish Confederation of Hotel and Catering Businesses (CEHE)

As a result, establishments are implementing management strategies to cope with fluctuating seasonal demands. In high-demand tourist destinations, such as Benidorm during the summer months, it is common to observe the optimization of available space. This translates into closing sections of restaurants or reducing capacity on terraces.

In addition, venues are readjusting their hours of operation to accommodate the variability of customer flow. The president of Hostelería España points out that modifying opening hours has become a common solution for establishment owners. Instead of closing for good, the trend is to reduce operating hours, which allows businesses to maintain their flexibility and adapt to changing market circumstances.

In short, the hospitality industry needs to adopt strategic and flexible measures to remain competitive in challenging times, but above all to solve the reason that is causing all this: lack of personnel.

Why is it a challenge to recruit and retain young people?

If you don't listen to the needs of younger workers, it will be difficult to understand what they are looking for when it comes to choosing one job or another and solving the great challenge of the sector. So first of all: listen, listen, listen.

Here are some of the main reasons why building loyalty among young people is proving to be a difficult task for the industry:

Great competition: 

The hospitality industry is facing fierce competition for young talent. Not only are they competing with other hotels, but also with technology companies, startups and other industries that offer attractive work environments and development opportunities. This makes attracting, hiring and retaining them a constant challenge.

Lack of professional development:

Lack of professional development opportunities is another factor fueling this problem. Workers want to know that they can advance their careers and acquire new skills on the job. If a hotel does not offer a clear path for growth, young workers are likely to look elsewhere for opportunities.

Unfavorable work culture:

Workplace culture plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining talent. Young people are looking for inclusive, collaborative work environments that foster continuous learning and wellness. Hotels with toxic or unattractive work cultures will have difficulty retaining their teams.

Lack of understanding and willingness to listen to them and implement changes:

As we said at the beginning, the key is to listen to them to understand what they are looking for and how to give it to them. There is little point in listening and then turning a deaf ear or not wanting to implement changes. If there is a drop in demand among young people when it comes to looking for jobs in the sector, something has to be done. Directors, managers, human resources managers: listen to them and implement all the necessary changes to recover the talent that still exists. In the same way that strategies are adopted for other problems that arise in the company, this is no exception and cannot be solved in any other way.

5 Strategies to attract young talent in the hospitality industry:

Here are 5 key strategies you can start doing today:

Training and mentoring programs

Designing training programs that give new hires the opportunity to acquire new skills and advance their careers is critical. Likewise, establishing mentoring programs that connect young employees with more experienced professionals will allow them to learn from experience and receive personalized guidance. A good strategy would be to implement a rotation system in which all new team members rotate through different positions within the hotel. This will help them understand how the operation works and which areas they feel most qualified or prefer to work in.

Good working environment: 

Cultivating a positive and healthy work environment is key to retaining young talent. Encouraging collaboration, open communication and a culture of recognition and reward will make them feel valued and committed to the organization. One strategy that works very well is to hold regular team building activities.

Labor and time flexibility: 

Flexibility is something that everyone works for, needs and will ask for. Offering remote work options for those positions where it is possible, flexible schedules, and the ability to balance work and personal life will increase team satisfaction, efficiency and commitment to the hotel.

"Young people, the historical quarry of the business, are looking for better working conditions, especially in terms of schedules."

José Luis Yzuel, President of the Spanish Confederation of Hotel and Catering Businesses (CEHE)

Constant communication and feedback: 

Keeping lines of communication open and providing constant feedback is essential. Workers want to know how they are performing and what opportunities they have for growth. Establishing a regular review and feedback process can strengthen the relationship between workers and the organization.

Digitization and automation of tasks with people management software: 

In the digital age, the implementation of people management software, such as niikiisis a great tool to build loyalty among younger workers, and also to facilitate the day-to-day work of them, their managers and even executives.

Digitizing a hotel not only simplifies administrative tasks, but also allows employees to access relevant information more quickly and efficiently and positively impact the customer experience. 

In addition, software like niikiis not only improves operational efficiency, but also shows younger employees that the organization is committed to modernization and continuous improvement. This can significantly contribute to making them fall back in love with the hospitality industry and keep them happy, productive and engaged in their day-to-day work.

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