Blog / Covid-19 Resources

Five Solutions for the Labor Shortages in Hospitality

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The labor shortage in hospitality is a major concern for the industry during this critical recovery period. CNN Business reports that “tales of worker scarcity in the food and hospitality business have grown in volume in recent weeks as restrictions are loosening, and an increasing number of restless, vaccinated patrons are opting to dine out.” The New York Times is reporting on labor shortages in Rehoboth Beach as a preview of summer challenges ahead. And the Washington Post cites shortages of restaurant workers in Miami as an obstacle to recovery.

As hospitality venues re-open and see increased demand from customers and guests, it’s clear: labor shortages could slow the recovery, hampering businesses trying to capitalize on the booming consumer demand. From kitchen staff to waitstaff to housekeepers to front desk managers, the hospitality industry is faced with one of the tightest labor markets in years amid an economic recovery from one of the worst crises in living memory.

KBS is helping clients work through these challenges with solutions that deliver immediate impact. Here’s how:

Supplemental Staffing

HSS, a KBS company, is the largest supplier of staffing to the hospitality industry nationwide with over 30 years of experience with many of the largest brands in hotels, resorts, and restaurants. Supplying contingent labor in a wide range of positions from housekeepers to kitchen staff to janitorial, HSS works with clients through 90+ offices to recruit and place staff for short and long-term assignments.

In addition, HSS understands where the local workforce cannot meet the needs of a particular hotel or property. To that end, the company developed mobile teams, an innovation in hospitality housekeeping. Mobile teams of room attendants travel to and service different hotels for extended periods where labor shortages stubbornly persist. This allows properties to maintain high standards amidst spikes in bookings.

Outsourced Cleaning

The labor shortage in hospitality has led many organizations to use existing staff to complete cleaning tasks outside their core jobs. This can lead to greater inefficiencies, lower worker satisfaction, higher turnover and ultimately lower standards and quality. KBS outsourced facility hygiene programs not only reduce labor needs for cleaning positions, they also reduce turnover for other employees who no longer need to worry about cleaning duties. And, as employees concentrate on core competencies, their own performance improves, resulting in better customer and employee satisfaction. This is critical as guests and employees are returning with higher expectations driven by the focus on cleaning during the pandemic.

Recruiting Assistance

The labor shortage in hospitality comes at a time when internal recruiting talent has been severely depleted. HR leadership and departments were lost during the height of the pandemic and whole departments have disappeared. KBS, through its hospitality division HSS, offers clients direct hire and temp-to-perm recruiting options for all levels from executive to front-desk to housekeepers and waitstaff. These fee-based programs can help address the labor challenge leveraging a trained, professional, focused national recruiting team at your disposal, allowing leaders to focus on running the business instead of spending all their time recruiting.

Full Department Outsourcing

Labor shortages today range from hourly positions to management. For decades, HSS has worked with leading casinos and resorts on programs called full department outsourcing in addition to its contingent labor services. These programs hire, train, and manage entire departments such as housekeeping and janitorial with success being driven by quality scores. In today’s environment, outsourcing can help alleviate the search for labor and management talent while still delivering top-notch quality to guests.

Bundling Services

Bundling services can further help hospitality venues address the labor shortage. By outsourcing other services such as snow removal, landscaping, and window cleaning, hospitality facilities can centralize management, ensure quality control across many sites, and save money. KBS partners with hospitality clients to bundle solutions which can help lower costs while still maintaining high standards.

As the hotels, resorts, and restaurants recover from what was arguably one of its worst years for hospitality, the labor shortage brings an additional challenge. With tight budgets coming out of a catastrophic 2020, it may be tempting to reduce outsource solutions. But this strategy will worsen the problem. Now is the time to bring new solutions to bear on tight labor markets that may ultimately lead to long term changes to how the industry addresses healthy operations. The industry may have been hit hard by the pandemic, but, with the right partnerships, there are strong opportunities ahead.