Ensuring job security and sharing benefits with employees is the key to retaining people in the hospitality industry, which traditionally has a higher-than-usual attrition rate, an industry veteran said on Wednesday.
Hospitality is a “people-driven industry, whether it is the person greeting a guest, a chef or a housekeeper” and, if employees do not have social security, the industry would lose qualified people to other industries, said Suborno Bose, founder and chief mentor of IIHM (International Institute of Hotel Management).
Bose was speaking at the launch of his book The Art of Sustainable Hospitality at the IIHM Global Campus in Salt Lake on Wednesday evening. The book provides a guide on sustainable practices in the industry. The Calcutta launch was preceded by programmes in Mumbai and London.
“During the pandemic, many qualified and talented people left the hospitality industry never to return. An organisation that has employee welfare policies and shows empathy to its workers, especially during tough times, and providing them with benefits wins the loyalty of the employees,” said Bose.
“We can lose talented people to other industries if they are not taken care of during tough times,” said Bose.
“If an organisation is unable to retain its manpower, it will find it difficult to survive long term,” he added.
Bose, with close to three decades of experience in the hospitality industry, has made it his mission to promote sustainability.
On Wednesday, he said there were three aspects to sustainability — environmental, social and economic.
“Social security is paramount and an organisation should keep a reserve fund for employee benefits. If the people do not stay back in an organisation, then economic sustainability will not happen,” he said.
Bose said in this day and age, many environment-friendly practices have been incorporated into the hospitality business. There are hotels that follow a strict no-plastic policy.
“There are hotels where water is recycled. Water is not served to guests in packaged plastic water bottles but in glass bottles. They have their own water treatment plants,” said Bose.
Hotels are saving energy by installing sensors so that electricity is not wasted.
The book launch was followed by a conversation between Paul Walsh, former British diplomat and founder of the rugby club Jungle Crows, and Bose.
“I started writing just after the pandemic because post-Covid the hospitality industry went through a sea of change in terms of sustainability. Sustainability, at one point in time, was a fancy word. Covid taught us that sustainability is important to our very existence. When we talk about sustainability it is not about biological sustainability but social and economic sustainability. These things have to come to light after the pandemic, possibly in a more forceful way,” Bose said.