September 11, 2023

All About Engagement and Increasing Productivity in the Workplace (A Preview)

Annual Convention
Written by HFTP Publications

As the hospitality industry ramps back up to pre-pandemic levels, the industry has struggled to follow-suit with reliable and sufficient staffing. The key is to nurture a mutually beneficial relationship with your employees and establish a rewarding workplace. Two sessions at the upcoming HFTP 2023 Annual Convention address how to best onboard new employees and how to turn a “quiet quitting” situation around.


By: Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHE, CHAE+, CHIA, CAHTA and Arlene Ramirez, MBA, CHAE, CHE, CHIA, CAHTA

In the hospitality field, we are experts at innovating to attract and keep customers. But when it comes to keeping our staff on board, things seem to fall a bit flat. What’s causing new employees to second-guess their choice of work and explore other options?

The numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS], 2022) tell a sobering story—hospitality sees an 86.3 percent turnover rate, hitting us hard in the wallet. A bunch of reasons contribute to this revolving door, from low pay and unpredictable hours to working weekends and holidays, plus a lack of proper training and career growth (Rasheed et al., 2020). While some of this is tied to the nature of our business—24/7 operations and seasonal fluctuations—there are two areas where we can take control: training and career growth. How do we make sure new hires know they’re in for good training and that we are invested in their growth within our ranks? In essence, we’re saying: “Stick around, we want you!”

It’s just like that old song says: “Let’s start at the very beginning—a very good place to start” (Wise, 1965). To tackle employee turnover, we need to kick things off with onboarding. Recent studies show that the first 45 days are the riskiest when it comes to losing new hires (Conway, 2023). We put in a lot of effort to bring in new talent, but somehow, we lose steam once they walk through the door on day one. Here’s the bottom line: onboarding isn’t just a formality; it’s a big deal for getting and keeping great employees, so it needs careful planning.

Now, let’s talk about the early stages of an employee’s time with us. This is where we have the power to stop the revolving door and make employees feel valued and committed. Picture an onboarding experience that’s engaging and sets the tone for a dedicated team, all in for the success of the company. Think about that new employee’s first day—it’s a memory they’ll carry for years.

Join us at the HFTP 2023 Annual Convention this October for our session “Creating Memorable Onboarding Experiences: The Key to Retention in Hospitality,” where we will discuss how to retool your onboarding process and make it part of your overall employee retention and talent development strategy.

  • Find a complete list of references at the bottom of this blog post.


By: Mark Pate, CHAE, CHTP, MBA

“What’s up with Barbara? She used to always get here early to make sure everything was in place and ready to go before her shift started. Everyone seemed to love her, and she was the go-to person if you had a question. Now, she barely shows up on time, most of the time she seems like she’s in a fog, and she really doesn’t want to engage.”

“And what about Luke? I heard they were looking at him to be the front desk manager or even assistant general manager. He really understood how this place ran and now, I have to double-check everything he does (if it actually gets done), and it seems he could really care less about his job and his co-workers.”

Does this discussion sound all too familiar? You may have a “quiet quitter” on your hands and not even know it. Are there individuals on your team who arrive physically to work every day, but their mental and spiritual presence seem to be on extended vacation? These enigmatic beings are now known as “quiet quitters.”

The session “Crack the Code: Managing the Elusive Quiet Quitter” at the HFTP 2023 Annual Conventionwill help you unlock the secrets to effectively identify and manage the “quiet quitter” and unravel the challenges they pose in the workplace. Get best practices to ensure your team remains a well-oiled machine and keep spirits high with strategies designed to increase engagement and productivity. 

You will discover the answers to some all-important questions: what is the cost of a “quiet quitter?” What are the distinctions with this type of employee in a club or hotel versus the corporate office? What are the causes and consequences of quiet quitting? And what can we do about it? The experienced panel (which also includes Bruce Tracey, Logan Quataert, CHAE and MieYoung Reed) will be able to offer many success stories of transforming “quiet quitters” into valuable and productive team members once again.

It’s time to crack the code of the quiet quitter!

The HFTP 2023 Annual Convention will be held October 18-20 at the JW Marriott Indianapolis Hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana. See the full schedule online and register to attend the Annual Convention today.

Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHE, CHAE+, CHIA, CAHTA is a professor and the Conrad N. Hilton Distinguished Chair at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership. She is a past HFTP Global President and HFTP Paragon Award recipient. Her research interests are mostly in accounting/finance, technology, education, and development. DeFranco will co-present the Annual Convention session, ““Creating Memorable Onboarding Experiences: The Key to Retention in Hospitality.

Mark Pate, CHAE, CHTP, MBA is the Immediate Past President of the HFTP Global Board and assistant controller & IT director for Highpointe Hotel Corporation. He will participate on the panel for “Crack the Code: Managing the Elusive Quiet Quitter” session at the HFTP 2023 Annual Convention.

Arlene Ramirez, MBA, CHAE, CHE, CHIA, CAHTA is principal and founder of Ascend with over 20 years of professional experience in hospitality finance, including roles with luxury hotels, clubs, management companies, hotel development and hospitality education. She is also a past HFTP Global President, as well as a doctoral candidate in the Instructional Systems Design and Technology program at Sam Houston State University. Ramirez will co-present the Annual Convention session, “Creating Memorable Onboarding Experiences: The Key to Retention in Hospitality.”

References List:

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022, March 10). Table 16: Annual total separation rates by industry region, not seasonally adjusted [Table]. Economic News Release Job Opening and Labor Turnover. U.S. Department of Labor. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.t16.htm

  • Rasheed, M. I., Okumus, F., Weng, Q., Hameed, Z., & Nawaz, M. S. (2020). Career adaptability and employee turnover intentions: The role of perceived career opportunities and orientation to happiness in the hospitality industry. Journal of hospitality and tourism management44, 98-107.

  • Wise, R. (1965). The Sound of Music. Twentieth Century Fox.

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