By Tommy Beyer
Why stay in hospitality? Be honest; you have asked yourself this same question a few times. Why stay in this job? Why stay with this company? Why stay in this industry that seems to not be as monetarily rewarding as that of your friends who now work on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley? It is quite a natural and a very healthy question to ask as it has profound implications for a modern career in hotels.
We live in a day and age where people are not very inclined to stay in hospitality for many reasons, the perceived lack of copious remuneration being just one. Indeed, this ‘brain drain’ of millennial and centennial candidates preferring STEM or finance career paths cannot be good in the slightest. It prevents our organizations from propagating a corporate culture of ingenuity and grit because the best, brightest and most ambitious will already have dismissed our line of work as second-rate.
While there is little we individual hoteliers can do to halt these macro-forces, we can indeed focus on instilling in the next generation of managers the value of ‘staying’. Nowadays, it is easy to all too easy to give up and make your way towards some greener pasture in another industry. It takes effort and dedication to remain loyal.
Based upon what I’ve gleaned from my time at Newport Hospitality Group (NHG) and its compelling ‘bench strength’ of managers who have been with the company for more years than I can count, let’s go through the reasons why staying in a hospitality job is more beneficial than immediately moving on. In doing so, my hope is that you can inspire those rising stars within your own organizations to stay with you through thick and thin.
Consider the Alternative
Whether it is a tempting LinkedIn message from a recruiter or meeting someone at an industry event who raves about their company, even I have been tempted to leave my current post as a Vice President. If you are excelling in your property or management company, you shouldn’t be surprised to get a call from someone soon to offer you a position in a similar-yet-more-alluring organization. The offer will likely sound very attractive…they always are in the beginning.
Take your time to consider the alternatives, and this is indeed something we coach to our younger managers at NHG as part of our succession planning program. If you are currently working for a great company, take your time to think through the decision carefully. Do your research about the offer, specifically who you would be working for. Ask others who have worked there.
Undoubtedly the new company will have its own set of challenges that you will have to face. But leaving is hardly ripping off a band-aid, so you must think through all the emotional factors in your current role and if the shiny new toy is doing any better in these regards. Do not take this decision lightly.
Change is Scary
If you have put in any tenure with a company, making a change is a big deal. You are building your resume and need to make sure you are progressing properly in your career. At NHG, we make it abundantly clear to all aspiring managers that promoting from within is easily achievable with hard work. Indeed, there are countless examples of the NHG team members who have started working in line-level positions and have moved to roles in management or even the corporate office. We also do our best to broadcast these success stories so others know it is possible.
Specifically, NHG has a well-established Emerging Leaders Program that serves two main functions. First, this initiative works directly to identify talent potential within our company in order to help move promising talent up the organizational chain to where these individuals feel the work is challenging enough for their abilities. Second, this initiative pairs newer managers with suitable mentors so that there’s always a receptive lifetime for any problem, be it dealing with a certain situation or work-life balance issues.
The key through any of these propositions or internal programs is making your team realize the long-term prospects of upward mobility within your hotel or management organization in addition to giving all managers a proper support network so they feel overwhelmed. Inevitably, because we have such great tenure at NHG, this ultimately ends up saving owners more money due to the aforementioned bench strength whereby they don’t have to pay for expensive recruiting, training or relocation bills.
Staying is Boring
One of the many knocks on the younger generations of workers is that they will often times leave a company rather quickly for one that is offering more money or a better benefits package. I would argue that if you are working for a company that truly cares about you and about your career path, you would be better off financially by staying with them. Your current company should realize your value and reward it without you having to constantly bring it up.
It can be true, there can be some level of boredom that comes along with staying loyal to a hospitality career. However, if you are constantly pushing yourself to learn more about your role or educating yourself on other aspects of the job that will eventually land you in a better position, the boredom quickly subsides. If you work to hone your skills and master your current role, it should not take long for your superior to recognize this and either reward it with a raise or promotion, or both.
This is one of the fundamental aspects of having an internal employee engagement team who can help to motivate managers and show them other facets of the industry that may intrigue them to keep with it through the daily minutia of their current roles. Something we cherish at NHG and worth investigating for your own hotel organization, the prospects of internal continued professional education (CPE) will do wonders to boosting your culture and ensuring that managers stay with you for the long haul.
Ultimately, there are many great companies out there that reward loyalty and reward high performers. I happen to find that choosing to stay takes more grit and determination than leaving. Call me a bit old school but choosing to stay loyal to my company and family has been nothing but beneficial for me. If you choose to stay, I believe more often than not it will be the right choice for you as well.
Tommy Beyer has a degree in Hospitality Management from the University of South Carolina. He has also completed the PDP Program at Cornell and is a Certified Hospitality Administrator from AH&LEF. For over a decade, he’s been a vital component of Newport Hospitality Group’s success, progressing from Front Desk Associate to General Manager, VP of Operations and finally to his current role as VP of Development. Tommy’s ability to develop meaningful relationships with his clients allows him to continue to grow Newport. He has also won numerous awards throughout his career including, Top 30 Under 30 GM of the Year for the State of Georgia, as well as the Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader of the year for the AH&LA.