Benefits & Incentives
Tourism employers can’t always offer high rates of pay, therefore it is very important to offer other forms of compensation & benefits – some ideas are:
- Competitive wages
- Sales bonuses, incentives and profit sharing for high potential, loyal employees
- Wage raises for exceptional performance and for returning to the workplace
- Bonuses for staying until the end of the season
- Bonuses for chefs, housekeepers, supervisors and managers based on productivity
- Pay for training and emerit certification
- Support for formal education of high-potential employees with a requirement that they return for a predetermined amount of time
- Food and room discounts, golf memberships, fitness centre memberships, discounts on taxis, discounts on dry cleaning, and so on
- Sales promotions with rewards such as a trip
- Group insurance plans and medical coverage
There a number of different incentive programs to reward employees who perform well. Incentive programs are paid in addition to their regular wage/salary.
Milestone Bonus is used to recognize an achievement such as completing a project or a length of time with the company (for example staying till the end of the busy tourism season).
Referral Bonus – Sometimes a great way to recruit new staff is to look to your existing staff. A referral program encourages your existing staff to recruit on your behalf. A bonus is given to the staff member if the person they referred is hired.
Sales Commission – Is a percentage of the item sold. It can range anywhere from 0-50%. This type of incentive is used in retail shops and other sales environments to motivate employees to sell.
Employee Satisfaction Survey
An employee satisfaction survey is a great way to get feedback from your staff- it’s like a performance evaluation for the organization. You find out where the company is excelling and also where it is lacking. Sometimes employees are cautious about giving negative feedback because they are worried they will somehow be reprimanded. So maintaining anonymity is very important.
Employees who are engaged are more productive, enthusiastic about their work and are more likely to be loyal to an organization. When organizations put sound HR practices in place, they are more likely to discover that employees are more motivated, feel respected and safe… and that means they are more likely to stay put.
Tips on Keeping Employees Engaged:
- Communication is key – If there is a negative situation, be honest with your staff and trust that they will understand.
- Training and Development – Offer employees the opportunity to advance their skills by participating in a course or training.
- Welcome feedback – Employees like to feel respected and that their opinion matters.
- Performance Management – Providing feedback should be on-going activity and not just during a performance evaluation. When employees feel like their work is being noticed and appreciated, it gives them the encouragement to keep performing.
A Workplace Matters Panel Report, click here (PDF).
The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) Workplace Matters Panel Report on Employee Engagement.
Six Tips To Help Retain Skilled Seasonal Workers
By Heather Kennedy
As we finally shake off the last traces of winter, many foodservice employers are gearing up for the busy summer tourist season: changing menus, cleaning off patio furniture and hiring seasonal staff.
Scouting for skilled and enthusiastic workers each spring can be a difficult prospect. Scanning through uninspired applications from candidates looking for any summer job to pay next year’s tuition is not always the most rewarding venture, but with a shrinking youth labour market, this is the reality many face. However, having staff who will impress your customers is an essential HR strategy. For businesses only open during the summer season, good help is vital.
A particularly efficient way to employ talented people for the summer is to retain your employees from the previous season. Keeping your best staff members year after year allows you to save on recruitment and training costs and ensures you have a qualified, experienced and committed staff. Here are some tips to ensure the return of as many of your seasonal employees as possible, and strategies to hire new ones as necessary.
- At the end of the summer season, ask employees whether they would like to return the following year. Consider conducting exit interviews to find out why some employees are keen to return while others are not. Some will be leaving for legitimate reasons such as a school work placement or a move after graduation, but others may wish for a workplace with more benefits or training. Use these results to weak HR policies. The results will not only boost seasonal retention, but make your longer-term employees more committed as well.
- Keep in touch with employees you would like to re-hire. Sending a quick email to say hello, a holiday greeting, or an invitation to a staff party will keep your operation top-of-mind when they start thinking about summer plans. Consider creating a social networking group where current and former employees can chat with each other and you. Also, encourage seasonal staff to swing by and have a meal when they are in town – a discount or freebie is a great gesture and could even encourage new business if they bring along family or friends.
- Offer extra incentives to returning employees. Whether it’s a higher wage, a promotion, non-monetary bonuses, or training for a supervisory role, they will feel encouraged to come back. Make sure the incentives build with each year employees return.
- Be a choice employer. This is the most effective way of encouraging employees to return. Providing a fun, flexible, and positive workplace will have seasonal staff looking forward to returning the following year. Make such issues as work-life balance, training, teamwork, and communication a priority. You’ll earn a reputation as a place people want to work, resulting not only in repeat seasonal employees but also in other qualified workers hoping to gain a position with you.
- If your top seasonal employees are not returning for reasons unrelated to the job, ask if they have family members or friends who would be interested in coming on board. If they genuinely enjoyed their time working for you, they will not hesitate to recommend hardworking individuals to take over the role they are leaving.
- Expand your focus from the typical student-on-summer-break to other labour markets. Retired individuals may be looking for new experiences and extra income; their maturity and varied work history can bring an added dimension to your team. Winter employees will need to find work until the snow falls again; as many have prior tourism experience, they possess a great range of customer service skills suited to the foodservice industry. Some summer employers even have reciprocal agreements with winter operations to hire off-season staff. This benefits both employers, who retain experienced workers who are less likely to have forgotten skills in the offseason, and the employees, who are provided continuous employment and opportunities for cross-training. Also consider targeting international workers with the appropriate visas, as many are looking for short-term work and may offer foodservice experience and additional language skills for your overseas guests. And don’t forget untapped labour pools such as people with disabilities, new Canadians and Aboriginal persons. While you won’t be able to retain all your best seasonal workers year after year, being an employer of choice who offers a great work environment and perks to returning employees will go a long way to ensuring that a high percentage will happily come back.
About the author:
Heather Kennedy is a Manager of Marketing and Communications for the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC), a national organization that addresses labour market issues and promotes professionalism in the Canadian tourism sector. For information on any of the programs, services or products offered by the CTHRC, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 613.231.6949 or visit www.cthrc.ca.