What a hospitality employee engagement strategy looks like in action

Posted on: July 4, 2024By: Sandra Kerr

What is the hotel workforce experience? A front desk staff member probably comes to mind, or someone delivering room service meals to your suite. But the hotel workforce spans a much broader scope of people from housekeeping to kitchen and restaurant staff, valet workers to porters, security to event staff and other roles that can make the associate experience varied and disparate. 

And so too can the experience these staff members face be disparate and varied—especially when the tools, support and resources they have access to aren’t consistent and aligned. 

In other words, hotels bring together an interconnected but highly diversified network of staff like no other, all with the same goal; creating world-class guest experiences.  

But it can be easy for these teams to experience fractures and disconnects in their associate experience simply because there’s such a range of roles. And the less aligned these teams are—at their own property, at others within the same hotel brand, or within a hospitality organization as a whole—the less a hotel is able to consistently deliver world-class guest experiences from property to property.

That’s where employee engagement comes in. 

What is hospitality employee engagement?

An engaged hotel workforce will look slightly different from one hotel chain to the next, but there are a few common denominators: they’re connected, agile, in-the-know, safety-focused, feedback-forward, celebrated, nurtured and development-focused.

That’s what it looks like, but how do hotel chains get there? Frontline employee engagement is achieved through investment in learning and development, two-way communication and operational support. For more (way more!) on building a full frontline employee engagement strategy, check out our Hotel Employee Engagement playbook!

The role of hospitality employee engagement

Far too often, employee engagement is seen as intangible, vague—a nice-to-have to keep workers happy and loyal. But hospitality employee engagement is far more powerful than that. Engagement has the ability to unite and align the sometimes massive workforces that hotels employ under one guiding light. It can rally workforces toward common goals and common driving forces. If it’s done right.

It’s not enough to offer up opportunities for staff to connect with head office or engage with their peers. A proper employee engagement plan requires far more robust strategy, tools, tactics and measurement. 

What hospitality employee engagement looks like

Before you start building out your employee engagement strategy, a good first step is getting a solid idea of what the end result might be. Here are a few examples of what a learning-forward employee engagement plan might look like for a multifaceted hotel chain, which includes front desk staff, housekeeping teams and more.

Front desk staff/Concierge 

A front desk staff member starts their shift and opens their phone to do a few minutes of daily training. While in their learning app, they see an announcement from their manager congratulating the team on recent guest feedback scores exceeding expectations. The staff member celebrates the win with the team by sending digital kudos.

General manager 

A general manager is onboarding a group of new hires. To help them develop connections and community within the organization, they encourage the team to engage in peer chat and social forums within the organization’s learning and enablement app. The manager can track platform usage and team engagement to identify at-risk new hires who may need additional support.


A housekeeper logs in to do their daily training. While in the app, they see a reminder to review the standard process for turning over a room along with a task list to ensure no steps are missed. They also notice some self-directed learning paths with upskilling opportunities to help them grow in their career and start a path toward management roles. They join a peer chat to tell their colleagues about the management learning path they’ve found and see if anyone else is starting it. 

Guest services agent 

A guest services agent clocks in at the start of their shift and starts their daily training. They see an announcement about a new service being offered in the spa and review the instructions for promoting and upselling to guests. The agent feels more confident speaking to the new service with this knowledge.

Lounge server 

In the lobby lounge, staff is busy preparing orders quickly and accurately. They’re thankful that the latest safety updates and preparation requirements are reinforced in their daily training so they can always feel confident that they’re doing the right thing at the right time, and they’re wasting less time looking up processes or recipes. They also enjoy sending digital kudos to their fellow team members when they hit order accuracy targets.

Now that we’ve outlined what employee engagement is, can you see how all of the pieces fit together? Once you’re ready to start engaging your workforce, get our Hotel Employee Engagement Playbook for the ultimate field guide to engaging and enabling every single worker in your hospitality organization, at any scale. 

Sandra Kerr

Sandra Kerr is an industry specialist obsessed with the hospitality worker experience.

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