8 Ways to Avoid Employee Burnout

Burnout is a crucial reason why so many in the hospitality industry have left. Even before the pandemic in 2019, eighty percent of those in the food service and hospitality sectors reported feeling this way, and the job has only gotten harder since, with increased customer expectations, intense cleaning protocols, and staff shortages. 

Staff shortages and burnout create a vicious cycle. The fewer people there are, the more work they have to do, which can lead to further resignations. Here’s how to prevent burnout and ensure employees’ needs are met at your property. 

Hire Enough Staff

While hiring enough staff is obvious, it’s also trickier with current labor conditions. To find people, look beyond traditional hospitality boards and get creative. Remember that while job skills can be taught, attitude cannot. 

An employee referral program is an especially good way to go about hiring new people because employees know the facets of the job and can help prevent misunderstandings. You can also ask a friend or relative to look at your job description from an applicant’s perspective and let you know if anything confuses them. Clarity is key. Hint: Make your application simple and easy to fill out.

Check how your competitors advertise their open positions and see if there are any techniques you can steal. Are they marketing a benefit that you provide as well? If so, it’s time to promote that benefit in your own materials. 

Be Considerate in Your Scheduling

If you can, allow your staff to choose the hours they work and keep those hours as consistent as possible. Always let staff know in advance when they’re expected to come in so that they can relax and make plans during their off hours. You can expect staff to be on-call, with pay, but not all of the time. If staff can’t recharge outside work, they won’t be able to function well when they’re on the clock. 

While the busy season is inherently busy, offer as much time off as you can (perhaps by hiring seasonal workers to pick up some of the slack). Constant overtime should be avoided. If an employee has been pulling double shifts all week, it’s time to send them home with your thanks. Give staff an inch, and they’ll be much more motivated to give you a mile. 

This consideration goes for smaller tasks within the hotel as well. Allocate more time for tasks that you know will need it. For instance, cleaning a guest’s room after three days of no housekeeping takes longer than if it had been done daily. 

Breaks should really be breaks. Don’t assign staff tasks when they’re off the clock. Even if those tasks only take a minute or so, the minutes add up. Establish a comfortable place where staff can get off their feet and not have to worry about delivering that coffee to Room 3. 

Have Their Back

Keeping a smile on your face is emotional labor, and it’s even harder if a guest is being rude or unnecessarily demanding. The customer is not always right. A manager should listen to both parties and back their staff up if it turns out that the guest was in the wrong. 

Bonus tip: WebRezPro allows you to flag unwanted guests as “banned” to protect your staff from future interactions with bad customers. 

A smiling hotel receptionist with tablet device in hand greets guests at the front desk.
Support staff with tools to make their job easier and more enjoyable.

Use the Right Technology

Modern cloud-based property management software makes life easier for hotel staff by automating routine tasks and saving time. 

A good property management system makes information easy to find and enables staff to communicate efficiently. It also integrates with other systems in the property’s tech stack and eliminates the need to manually duplicate data. Authorized staff can access the system from a mobile device—they don’t have to waste time trooping back to the front desk. 

Though an advanced system can save time, it can also take up more of it, if it isn’t user friendly. There’s nothing more stressful than wondering what you clicked to make things go so wrong. Even if your software is easy to use, mistakes still happen, so strong customer support for each system in your tech stack is critical. Before you invest in a system, call their customer support number and see how quickly a real person answers. 

Lastly, remember that while you can do more with the right technology, there should still be limits to prevent staff burnout. Let staff catch their breath or try new ideas rather than cramming yet another task into the time they saved. 

Provide Accommodations Where Needed

Your guests aren’t the only ones with protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (or other legislation if you live elsewhere). Make sure that you accommodate staff needs without requiring them to jump through hoops and know that not all disabilities are visible.

Almost half of all workplace disability accommodations in the USA can be implemented at no cost to employers, and the median one-time cost for the rest is only $300. You aren’t losing out on anything if you let your housekeeper use headphones while they work to manage their ADHD. Be flexible wherever you can. 

Offer Wellness Perks

Specialized wellness perks can be helpful to employees if managed correctly and supported by adequate benefits, maternity/paternity leave, and insurance along with a positive workplace culture. Lunchtime yoga does no good if you know your manager is going to scream at you in the afternoon. 

Health and wellness benefits don’t have to be complicated or overly expensive. You could simply give employees complimentary or discounted access to the same wellness activities your guests enjoy or provide a healthcare spending account to use as they wish (they know their own health needs better than you do). 

Keeping it simple and allowing staff to decide their own level of involvement is best. It will backfire if staff feel they’re being infantilized or judged… Whatever you do, don’t hold a company weight loss competition!

Allow Employees to Grow

Allow staff to learn new skills, grow in their roles and, if possible, move up in the company. Boredom contributes to burnout, and employees won’t be as happy at work if they’re stagnating. 

Clear communication and feedback are key; feedback needs to happen more than once a year at performance evaluation time. Staff can’t grow in their roles if they don’t know what’s expected. Let them know how what they do contributes to the business as a whole. 

Ask Your Staff

Your staff know the most about what they need and which parts of the job stress them out, so ask them what would make things easier. Though you may not be able to do everything they request, you can still work together to find another solution or meet them halfway. Asking for their thoughts shows that you respect them and gives them agency over their situation. For ninety-five percent of employees, it’s either somewhat or very important to be respected in the workplace. 

Burnout is a very real struggle in the hospitality industry—especially recently. Use the above tips to ensure that your staff has enough energy and motivation to engage with guests and contribute to a great company culture. Your staff—and guests—will thank you for it!