Hospitality is in the envious position of being an industry that can benefit from the contributions of a broad range of generations, from frontline staff to C-suite. We can find as many as five demographic sub-groups occupying today’s hospitality workforce—from early-stage Baby Boomers to Gen Z. Interestingly, Gen Z, those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, comprise about a quarter of the U.S. population.
With good leadership, training and staff motivation, this multigenerational workforce can be an advantage, as discussed in a Forbes article, “Why A Multigenerational Workforce Is A Competitive Advantage.”
The author, Wes Gay, notes “Having a multigenerational workforce can, and should, be a distinct advantage for companies today. The wide range of ideas and knowledge from a broad group of people can actually serve the company well, and help employees excel in their work.”
At a time when the hospitality sector faces staffing pressures, especially in select markets, embracing a multi-generational work force makes more sense than ever. Hotels offer great entry-level positions for students looking for part-time work and a leg up on a possible career while attending school all the way to seniors working part-time to stay active and supplement a retirement income. What better way to retire than live in a great resort-like community while working part-time to help with expenses?
Two keys to making this multigenerational workforce succeed, according to Gay, are having all participants act as leaders and having generations learn from each other. This fits the hotel environment perfectly.
Consider younger people who are familiar with and adept with technology, increasingly important in running a hotel, being able to team up with valuable older staff less familiar with smart phones, tablets or data entry on a desktop computer. On the other hand, older workers can share their experiences across many industries or careers, as well as other life experiences. A more diverse work force will also help the hotel staff appeal to a broader age range of guests.
Technology also has a role in managing the multi-generational workforce and in maximizing its productivity at a time when operators are working to cope with labor scarcity and costs. For example, hotel task optimization software platforms can help with on-boarding and initial training, scheduling of housekeeping assignments or work orders, track staff performance and improve intra-staff communication.
Overall, when wisely applied, technology can help bridge the concerns that hotel operators might have when recruiting people who are new to hospitality or from other non-traditional labor pools, while enhancing the contributions and value of all staff members.
As we said at the top, the more generations the better.