How to motivate employees in hospitality

How to motivate employees in hospitality

Jessica Bilston-Gourley, Director of Positive HR, has created this article as part of our Locimo Experts series.

The end of the year is packed with celebrations and welcoming the new year with a bang. More and more people are spending time outdoors and enjoying the beautiful summer days at their favourite cafes and restaurants. With the restrictions easing, it’s a busy time for businesses and one that will definitely benefit your hospitality business and support the industry to rebuild. As business owners, we’re thinking about making the most out of the increased foot traffic and sales — but don’t forget to keep a pulse on our employees. In this blog, I share some tips on how you can motivate your employees during this busy and festive season.


Deck the halls


When customers are frantically trying to get their shopping or errands sorted, they want the right environment to relax. Good vibes are contagious, so your employees will be motivated to serve and spread good cheer. 


How you decorate your cafe, to how you make the cappuccinos can make a welcome impression on visitors. You can increase the engagement of your employees by getting them involved in creating the right ambience for the cafe, such as decorating the store to mixing an upbeat playlist. It helps to break up the routine, and who doesn’t love Chrissy decorations (while listening to Mariah Carey)! 


Daggy Christmas shirt anyone?


I remember back in school, mufti days were my favourite. Students wear casual clothes instead of the usual school uniform, usually to raise money for charity. I loved mufti day because it meant we could show our personality through the clothes we wore. You can apply this idea to your business and have a day or a few days where employees can dress up in festive gear. 


While it’s probably too hot to wear an ugly Christmas sweater (although not in Melbourne at the moment), it would be fun for the team to wear something seasonal and Christmas themed. Anything from a funny hat, antler ears, an elf or a Santa suit. Mixing things up from the usual uniform can have a positive impact on employee performance and behaviour. It will also put a smile on your customers face seeing Mr or Mrs Santa Claus serving them good food and coffee!


You could award a prize to the best dressed, the daggiest, etc. Small rewards can have a positive impact — but be sure every employee has an equal chance at this.


Make sure you have enough staff


Nothing says stress more than a shortage of staff — long queues, frustrated customers and cold coffee. It’s common for staff members to take time off during festive periods. Make sure you have a plan in place —whether that involves paying overtime or hiring temporary staff to ensure your business is fully staffed during this peak time. 


Assure your staff that you have measures in place in case someone calls in sick. Honesty and openness are the secrets to building trust with your employees. 


How about Secret Santa


I love Secret Santa. The guessing game is as fun as receiving the present. The concept is very simple — each person then chooses one name from a hat but doesn’t tell anyone the name they picked. The person is now responsible for buying a gift for the person selected. All the gifts are put in a common area for opening at a designated time. When the gift-giving time arrives, each recipient finds their gift and must guess who their Secret Santa is. 


And lastly, show your appreciation


Saying thank you and showing your appreciation goes a long way. This a great way to motivate your employees because it shows the work, they’re doing matters. 


Social recognition and praise have a significant role to play in employee engagement. Employees crave consistent, immediate acknowledgment for a job well done — especially in busy, seasonal times. 


These are just some simple ways you can motivate your employees. Most of them are not limited to Christmas time, but can easily be applied all year round. 


Author Bio:


This guest blog was written by Jessica Bilston-Gourley, Director and Founder of Positive HR. Jessica established her HR Consulting and HR Outsourcing business Positive HR in 2018, which has tripled in size in the past two years. Positive HR is about building high-quality and trusted partnerships at all levels of an organisation—big or small.


In 2017, Jessica received the LinkedIn Power Profile – Top 5 HR Professionals on LinkedIn across Australia. Since then she has continuously been seeking ways to challenge the status quo in HR and reinvent the wheel. Jessica has been the Co-Convenor of AHRI Emerging Leaders Committee in 2019 and again in 2020.