Best Practices and up to the minute news on Customer Experience Management and Service Excellence

Navigating Housing Policy Interference in Hiring: Insights for Hoteliers

Sometimes, workers would like to start a job in the hospitality industry but can’t find adequate housing in the area.

Many struggle to find and maintain affordable housing, and those issues bleed into the hiring process since many workers are wary of making a long commute to and from work every day. As a business leader, here are some ways you can make the best of oft-complicated situation.

As a business leader, here are some ways you can respond both to those workers and the public officials making decisions about housing in the area.

Consider renting to employees

If local officials or public servants don’t want to build more housing in response to long-term demand, there is a scenario where you can provide housing to your employees. Disney, Google, and other companies nationwide have provided housing in past years, and it’s worth at least considering as a business leader if circumstances. The costs incurred with that housing might be steep, but having employees that stick around and better ingratiate with the company is an added benefit.

Speak with public servants

Local officials in your city or county may not be much help, but I’d speak with them so they would be at least familiar with the issues you’re having with helping folks find housing. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to speak with folks who can help you with vouchers or other benefits that may ease the burden of finding housing in the area. They should at least in theory be concerned with business owners who cannot find housing in the area since the issue can have such a sustained impact on operations and thus the tax base.

If you live by a college or a university, see if you can work out a deal

Many universities open up their housing to the public during the summer for folks who may move into a given locale for a summer internship or externship, for example. Higher education personnel may be wary of letting non-students stay on campus in perpetuity, which is a valid concern.

If you can get them to agree to make their housing available in the summer at least, you can set up employees with housing during peak periods of the year like early December and the summer months. If you need seasonal employees, at least try to find them some seasonal housing. Vail Resorts is a good example.

Revamp your HR operations

Adding a question about a work commute to an interview is easy, and asked correctly, it could give you an idea about the type of commute that an employee may have to make in order to get to and from work each day.

If you know where your workers are coming from, it’s a short jump from there to figuring out where there may be good places to look for affordable housing. My suggestion is that your HR staff seek out local realtors, or that you pay an HR rep just to help prospective employees find housing — it’s that important where worker retention is concerned.

Consider more remote work

Many hotel and hospitality jobs more broadly are public-facing, and those jobs can’t really be replicated in a virtual environment. For the ones that can be remote part of the time or permanently, offer that as an option.

Not only could that make the job more attractive to applicants, it potentially could keep costs and traffic down. Keep in mind that paying competitive salaries is still imperative since you could lose good employees to other companies if you aren’t careful.

Pay accordingly

It can be tempting no doubt to try and stick with pay rates of old, but people can only make ends meet for so long before the rubber meets the road.

If you figure out that pay is one of the reasons you can’t find the volume of workers you’re looking for, it’s time to increase that pay rate. If need be, cut costs in other places so you can find a rate that workers will accept. As the costs of housing and food and gas rise, you must adjust lest your employees losing their buying power. Once they do, it may be just a matter of time before they find some other job.