Hospitality and Tourism Professionals to Embark on Experiences of a Lifetime
Wilsonville, OR – In partnership with Travel Oregon and the Oregon Destination Association, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) is proud to announce the launch of Year 2 for the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy (OTLA). Participants will begin their first multi-day program experience in Eastern Oregon, April 28-30, 2021, pursuing in-depth experiences and knowledge that will elevate their passion and excitement for our state’s extraordinary offerings. The deadline to apply for the class launching in 2021 is Friday, December 4, 2020.
“Much has changed in our world since the inception of the program and we're seeing incredible things happen with the current program participants who are half way through the inaugural year experience," said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. "The value of program experiences and professional connectivity created by the program will provide lasting benefits to those accepted to the program each year.”
OTLA has spent great deal of time and attention into keeping all participants safe in the age of COVID-19 and are committed to refining all logistics and experiences each year to protect the integrity of the program and the value it brings to those involved.
The Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy is a new experiential learning program targeted to tourism professionals seeking to polish their leadership and professional skills and make positive and lasting contributions to the state’s tourism economy. An advisory committee of tourism industry representatives helped shape the development of the program through a shared vision of cultivating stronger champions for Oregon's tourism industry. The program consists of four multi-day excursions to be completed over the course of a year.
ORLA has been intentional in its pursuit of activating industry champions and the OTLA program supports that goal. The academy provides a compounding benefit of bringing people together for learning through experiences and empowering them to make lasting contributions to Oregon’s tourism and hospitality industries. Participants will create lifelong relationships and networking pathways through their connections.
For more information on the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy, visit OregonRLA.org/OTLA.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which is comprised of over 10,220 foodservice locations and 2,000 lodging establishments with a workforce of 183,191, and a total economic impact of $13.8 billion in annual sales for Oregon.
A Family of Hardworking Winners
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life." – Amy Poehler, actress
Many of us who have been around for a while refer to those in our industry as our “Hospitality Family.”
The more someone works around those who are committed to service, the more connected and inspired they themselves often become.
With the onset of the pandemic, never has the innovative spirit, business savvy, and caring soul of our ‘family’ been so challenged. Our team at the Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association see the daily struggles of our hospitality business partners and have been inspired by the innovative solutions launched in response. Encouraged by these efforts to address their business’ and community’s needs, we too have initiated proactive efforts in support.
In my last article, I mentioned that the foundation’s Board of Directors took steps to strengthen our organization, including: renaming ourselves the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, expanding our mission to support philanthropic projects, launching new fundraising programs, and creating new training support appropriate to current needs.
What’s happened since?
We have received requests for training assistance with the unique guest service and communication difficulties currently being experienced because of the pandemic. In response, we are creating an online series of easily digestible micro-sessions that share
tips on how associates can provide positive service while still supporting safety protocols.
The theme, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ focuses on helping prevent uncomfortable scenarios from escalating and causing unwelcome consequences by anticipating potential scenarios and practicing responses. Topics include;
We are grateful for a grant from Travel Oregon, sponsorship from Dutch Bros Coffee and EPB&B insurance, and our partnership with Togather Restaurant Consulting and VPW Media for their project support. We expect the series to be released in early fall. See release updates at OregonGuestServiceSafety.org.
Takeout and A Movie Fundraiser
Currently, we have raised and donated money to fourteen restaurants throughout the state who are providing a variety of solutions for helping feed those with food insecurity. Many of these restaurants are working to incorporate ongoing food support as part of their business model. Read more about these folks who are working hard to help change people’s lives by providing them with caring meals in our Champions article on page 16. You can also see a press release summary at bit.ly/OHFhelpawards. Additional awards are still available, see the application at OregonRLA.org/takeoutapp.
We also collaborated with Cycle Oregon and Filmed by Bike to present a film festival and Q&A that focused attention on the economic benefits of the hospitality and tourism industry to Oregon’s communities and now our industry’s own critical need for public support. A portion of the event’s proceeds were donated to the Cycle Oregon Fund, a grant program that supports projects including tourism and community projects particularly in rural areas.
Top of mind for many families are the myriad of struggles encountered in coping with the new demands of virtual education for students, parents, teachers, and our entire education system. We have been actively involved with discovering and creating resources for those who use our workforce training and Career & Technical Education (CTE) curriculum, such as ProStart.
One example was our partnership with Rouxbe, an online culinary school for professionals, to provide their academic resources and videos to ProStart schools on a free trial basis and later for reduced fees. We are also seeking sponsorships and grant funding that will enable us to provide online and on-demand videos to support teachers’ virtual curriculum needs. The vision is to feature industry colleagues who will highlight various aspects such as job opportunities, facility tours, career pathways, customer service techniques, new safety protocols in place, and/or offer engaging skill-building demonstrations.
Additionally, we are collaborating with Chemeketa Community College, the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association, and the state’s workforce boards to ensure that quality hospitality training is available and accessible online, particularly for entry-level and supervisory positions. The goal is to help employees ‘hit the ground running,’ in order to reduce onsite training time needed and offer immediate value to employers.
I have yet to find the right words that portray my realistic recognition of the enormity of current challenges, particularly for our industry, nor my optimism that we will eventually recover.
However, no one knows how to work harder than our Hospitality Family, so maybe the quote below is appropriate and helps explain my optimism about the outcome of our efforts, together.
“As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”
- Angela Duckworth, American academic, psychologist and
popular science author
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Unfortunately, looking toward the upcoming fiscal year, the foundation anticipates a 75 percent drop in revenue due to contract and sponsor funding reductions from affected partners. Your in-kind and financial contributions are greatly appreciated so that we may sustain and continue our good work. You can donate today at bit.ly/OHFDonation. Thank you. | Wendy Popkin, Oregon Hospitality Foundation
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, a nonprofit 501c3 dedicated to providing educational, training, and philanthropic support to Oregon’s restaurant, lodging, and tourism industry. Wendy is a 35-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” OregonHospitalityFoundation.org
Free Professional Development and Food Safety Courses Offered by the Restaurant and Lodging Industry and Scholarships for Continuing Education
Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind as its effects are being felt around the world. We are all concerned for the health and safety of our families, friends, and colleagues.
While positions in hospitality, like many industries, may be currently unavailable for employment, ours is one that that is known for its particular resilience. When it is once again safe, we believe that there will be pent up desire to travel and to dine out. These desires will create a need to hire skilled employees who can ‘hit the ground running’ and can fully participate in the evolving business models that are being created.
The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation (AHLA Foundation) and the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) are both offering complimentary access to several food safety and professional development online courses detailed below. The intent is to help support hospitality employees who are finding themselves at home with time to invest in their education, but who are lacking the funds to do so. Courses are focused on the foodservice and hotel industries.
Scholarships are also being offered to hotel industry employees to help them pay for AHLA certifications that are not being offered for free and/or to pursue education goals such as earning a GED.
Questions about eligibility:
Q: Who is eligible to take each of the free courses offered?
A: Anyone who would like to take these courses may take them!
Q: Is there a limit to the number of courses someone can take from each entity?
A: There are no limits to how many courses someone may take.
Q: Who is eligible for a scholarship offered by the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation?
A: Please see the two different types of scholarships, and the qualifications for each, below.
More information about free training and scholarships can be found here: OregonRLA.org/freetraining.
We are proud to be partners in an industry that is seeking to take care of our furloughed employees in many ways, including this offer. We appreciate you sharing with anyone who can spread the word to individuals who can benefit.
Wendy Popkin, Executive Director
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation
March 18, 2020
Contact: Glenda Hamstreet, Executive Coordinator
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association responds to COVID-19 impacts on restaurant and lodging industries
Wilsonville, OR. – In light of increasing concerns around the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and recent executive orders from the Governor’s office, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) is making every effort to address challenges facing the restaurant and lodging industry.
The lodging and foodservice industry is the second largest private-sector industry in Oregon behind healthcare and is one of the hardest hit by coronavirus-related shutdowns and policies. ORLA represents approximately 2,600 members, including over 10,220 foodservice locations and more than 2,000 lodging establishments in Oregon.
“The social distancing mandates put into place by the Governor are an important step toward ensuring the health and safety of all Oregonians,” ORLA President and CEO Jason Brandt said. “However, we cannot forget about the many families and workers whose lives depend on restaurants, lodging operations, bars, wineries and brewpubs. The foodservice and lodging industries are already seeing unprecedented numbers of layoffs as restaurants temporarily close their doors and hotels see significant declines in occupancy.”
ORLA is encouraging Oregonians to support local restaurants and hotels by ordering takeout or delivery or by purchasing gift certificates.
“Now is the time for our state to support local restaurants and hotels. If we can’t eat out, now is the time to eat in,” said Brandt. “Our industry is resilient and will get through these trying times, but we will need the help of our customers and state and local officials to do so. When purchasing gift certificates for hotels and restaurants, make sure the cash from your purchase is being received immediately by the business so they can save as many jobs as possible.”
For many restaurants, the only viable option following the Governor’s executive order was to temporarily close and lay off staff. ORLA is making every effort at this time to ensure workers and restaurant owners have the relief they need to protect jobs and ensure they are able to re-open their doors once the COVID-19 restrictions have passed.
“Our entire team at ORLA is working around the clock with state and local officials to facilitate job protection and business continuity. We have open lines of communication with the Governor’s office, the City of Portland and other public officials to work toward solutions that will mitigate the economic impacts the industry is facing at this time,” said Brandt.
In the past two days, Brandt has participated as an active member of the Governor’s Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council and presented comprehensive testimony alongside Director of Government Affairs Greg Astley to the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response.
Media can obtain a copy of the comprehensive report here: COVID-19 Economic Impact on Oregon Hospitality Industry
Over the last month, hotels have seen steep declines in occupancy as events are cancelled and guests are cancelling travel plans. Travel in the Portland area is reported to be down 50% already in March and one hotel in Bend reported a loss of $600,000 in one week this month.
“If lock downs and shelter in place are put in effect, it is important the Governor, City Officials and the Legislature look at hotels as ‘Essential Services’ for planning purposes,” said Brandt. “People who are traveling or stranded will need accommodations.”
Nationally, COVID-19 is expected to result in a loss of 2.8-3.4 million jobs in the hotel industry and a decline to 25% occupancy nationwide. By comparison, the recession of 2001 and 9/11 saw 400,000 jobs lost and a decline to 59% occupancy, while the recession of ’07-’09 saw 470,000 jobs lost and 54% occupancy.
“Everyone in the hospitality industry is struggling right now. Many hotels and restaurants are having to lay off employees due to a loss of business. It is vital that federal, state and local authorities make every effort to protect those who depend on the industry for their livelihood. The need for a collective sense of urgency in driving relief solutions for small businesses and employees cannot be overstated,” said Brandt.
ORLA will continue to provide comprehensive updates and resources for the restaurant and lodging industries on their website through the duration of the pandemic: https://www.oregonrla.org/covid19_info.html.
The bottom line. Everything affects it, including employee turnover because of increased labor costs like training and supervision. Creating a culture that keeps employees engaged will improve retention, which in turn can help stabilize labor costs. Keeping a stable team has also been shown to increase guest satisfaction via consistent service and product delivery, which can improve loyalty and return. Sounds good in theory, so what best practices have been implanted that show this positive ROI? If you haven’t already, check out our series of video interviews of hospitality members who have improved retention through a variety of approaches. You can find these at OregonRLA.org/WorkforcePractices.
For this issue, we are pleased to share an owner’s perspective of their successes in retention efforts implemented throughout their portfolio of properties.
EMPLOYEE RETENTION IN THE HOTEL INDUSTRY
Attracting and retaining employees has the same importance as attracting and retaining guests. In the hotel industry, the turnover rate for employees is very high. If we consider the energy needed, as well as the cost to replace an employee, it becomes clear that it is better to retain employees than to hire and train a new employee.
The process starts with proper labor plans and then targeting the right people. During the interview process we make sure to look for people who will fit in with our culture. As most of our properties are on the Oregon Coast, there is always a labor crisis, especially during the summer. Unlike Portland or other cities where there is a good supply of part-time employees and students, the Oregon Coast depends on the local market.
We have been involved in the hospitality industry on the Oregon Coast for nearly 10 years. We started with one hotel in Seaside and now we co-own 13 hotels – two of which were in the list of 100 Best Destinations in Oregon in recent years. We have employees who started front desk or housekeeping positions and have grown with us and are now serving in positions like director of operations, marketing or maintenance head. One of our marketing managers was even recognized as the Employee of the Year by the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association in 2018. It gives us great pleasure to see our employees develop. We empower them to make decisions based on their judgement to help guests. We work to minimize workplace issues and create a culture of respect, as well as provide coaching that drives behavior changes. It doesn’t matter what part of the operation they are involved in – all of them have one goal and that is to make guests happy.
We have made it clear that our employees should be treated the same way we treat our guests. We try to understand who they are and what they want. We arrange trainings for our employees, take them to conferences around the country, arrange yearly trainings during slow seasons and on the job training as needed. We also provide cross-training; if anyone wants to try a new position, we give them the opportunity. We arrange lunch meetings with employees. It gives us opportunity to listen to them in informal settings.
We try to create a sense of purpose by enforcing the idea that they are helping people who need a nice place to stay while they are traveling. It matters that they smile at guests – they are affecting the life of guests. When you look at the big picture, what their role is in the final product and who touches their product, you see how that type of communication creates motivation and that’s the key to engage our employees. We set clear expectations for our employees so they know what we expect and what we appreciate. Millennial and Gen Z workforces are different than Gen X or Boomers. To keep them attracted, we plan accordingly and make sure they are motivated and stay with us longer.
Labor cost is the biggest expense in the hotel industry, and we need an efficient operation to satisfy guests. It’s a balance of cost and labor management to maintain efficiency. We listen to our employees and do our best to be there ourselves to understand the situation and what we can do to help them. We never lay off employees during slow seasons, which is a very common practice in the hotel industry. Instead, we cross train them and engage them in different renovation and improvement projects. Also, we have created culture for a flexible workplace. To ensure employees who are expecting can have peace of mind and make plans for childbirth, we let them know that they have guaranteed jobs when they return. We create flexible schedules or modified schedules to accommodate employees with babies or small children. Understanding the need of employees and treating them properly makes them trusted employees and a valuable asset for the companies.
Wage benchmarking is important. We provide compensation which aligns to the market. In our history of companies, we are never late in paying our employees. That helps create trust with the employees. We also have several recognition programs such as the profit share program. If the company does well in a particular month and goes beyond target, we celebrate with our employees and provide some percentage of the profit. It creates motivation to do even better. In our companies, we offer free lunch, an employee-of-the-month recognition and review recognition programs.
We take guest reviews very seriously. If we find good reviews, we recognize our employees. If it’s a negative one, then we work with them to understand and evaluate the situation as well as take actions accordingly. We accept every review as an opportunity to improve the properties.
We include all of our employees in the management and decision- making process. We engage them to come up with solutions, and instead of implementing new processes, we ask in-house employees to come up with a plan. That creates a sense of ownership and responsibility and makes them feel connected with the company. Our goal is to give them the tools they need to make their job easier and rewarding. | MASUDUR KHAN AND TASLEMA SULTANA, SEASIDE LODGING / INTRO BY WENDY POPKIN
Masudur Khan (Managing Director of Seaside Lodging) and his wife Taslema Sultana (Managing Director of Haystack Lodgings) are the co-owners of 12 independent boutique hotels and one Choice hotel on Oregon Coast. Masudur (Chairman of Lifestyle Hotel BD Ltd.) also operates two independent boutique hotels in Bangladesh.
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 30+-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” OregonRLA.org/EdFoundation
Hospitality provides an industry of opportunity! Download the illustration here.
ORLA’s Education Foundation Savors Progress at a Steady Pace
“The way of progress is neither swift, nor easy” - Marie Curie
The hospitality industry may be behind others, such as healthcare, in terms of anticipating workforce challenges and creating a plan to address them. However, with growing partner engagement, we are starting to see small but steady progress this year!
One notable achievement has been the ability of ORLAEF to hire a part-time ProStart and Foodservice Workforce Liaison. Irina Bakun’s focus is to assist culinary program teachers integrate foodservice/hospitality career awareness, experiences, and connections routinely into their teaching and activities. ORLAEF’s goal is to utilize Irina’s time and experience to work directly with districts, their teachers, and industry partners to help create clear pathways and opportunities for career exploration and employment. Funding came from a grant from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
Other encouraging progress includes;
ORLAEF’s partnership with Worksystems resulted in a pilot to use our industry’s guest service training curriculum with nine of its social service workforce training partners. The agency’s clients will learn valuable skills AND more about jobs in our industry.
Thanks to collaboration with the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association, we have created a strong partnership with Northwest Oregon Works. The workforce development agency helped fund in-person training for prospective employees using AHLEI’s stackable credentials as well as current employees looking to upskill and advance their careers. Combined with a fall training effort, 74 industry certifications were earned.
ORLAEF is working in a pilot program with the area’s school districts, who support seven high school culinary training programs. Our joint goal is to build closer ties with local industry members and to create a model for productive and sustainable industry involvement with classes that focus on culinary and hospitality training.
We commissioned a best practices study with researchers from OSU’s Hospitality Management Program. Several Oregon businesses have implemented creative programs that have enhanced their employee retention. Watch the videos at Oregonrla.org/workforcepractices.
GUEST SERVICE GOLD ®
Since the training initiative’s launch, the course has been used by 1,833 individuals and resulted in 1,746 participants earning their Certified Guest Service Professional designation. To learn more about the course go to OregonGuestService.com.
The leadership input and support from key partners who have contributed significant in-kind and cash resources has helped extend our reach via the programs above and also includes new industry training with food waste reduction. We are grateful to sponsors Travel Oregon, Sysco Portland, Vesta Hospitality, The Salem Convention Center, Metro, Curtis Restaurant Equipment, The Old Spaghetti Factory , and The Nines for their in-kind and monetary support as well as individual donors who have generously contributed monies.
Please consider helping us continue our work by becoming a sponsor, donating, and/or becoming involved with our school programs. | Wendy Popkin, ORLEF
“Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be.” ― C.S. Lewis
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 30+-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” Oregonrla.org/EdFoundation
Engage en·gage | \ in-ˈgāj , en-\transitive verb
1: to offer (something…) as backing to a cause or aim… to expose to risk for the attainment or support of some end (Merriam-Webster)
WORKFORCE. Whenever you hear this word now among our industry it seems attached to another word, “lack.” Lack of recruits. Lack of skills. Lack of commitment.
Is this situation hopeless? It may seem that way to those who have not yet engaged in the myriad of ways hospitality industry partners have become involved in addressing these ‘lack of’ challenges. A few examples of partnerships ORLAEF is involved with may be inspirational!
RECRUITING AND BUILDING A PIPELINE Oregon has more than 3,000 high school students involved with ProStart. Without industry involvement and encouragement to pursue foodservice careers, the result of these students’ experience in the two-year culinary and management program could be just the memory of a fun elective course and a personal skill-builder. In many states, however, this foodservice career exploration program has become an effective pipeline for future employees.
How to engage? For example, Sysco Portland realized that its foodservice clients cannot succeed without a healthy workforce, and so have made supporting ProStart and other culinary training programs a top priority via sponsorship, mentorship, and scholarships! Learn more about their ideas by listening to a recent Boiled Down podcast, #22-The Future Workforce, at OregonRLA.org/podcast.
Engagement can take many forms. Think about an adult that inspired you, a teacher, an employer, a coach—today’s youth need mentors just as much, if not more, than previous generations. I asked Irina Bakun, a former ProStart student herself, culinary school graduate, and chef why she volunteered to mentor students who were planning to compete in our state competition. Her response was enlightening as she noted the positive effects not only for the students, but for herself.
“Working with high school students is exciting. They keep you on your feet, they really test your knowledge and communication methods. A surprising by-product is that mentoring helped me polish my training skills. From personal experience as a ProStart student on a team that had a mentor, I know firsthand that the more students are engaged with professionals the better they can understand the demands of a professional schedule, what working in a kitchen is like and the skills they will be expected to have when they leave the classroom and enter the restaurant industry. Working together can forge a meaningful bond that can create rewarding lifelong relationships,” Irina explained. “Recently, a student that I mentored three years ago called and asked for a reference. It was great to hear he was still cooking and fact that I was still on his radar and he wanted my opinion and support!”
BUILDING SKILLS “Hire for attitude, train for skill” is a popular adage. Perhaps it feels more challenging when the pipeline feels dry, however. Going to the source, worksource agencies that is, may help. Kristin and Drew Roslund, owners of the Overleaf Lodge & Spa, took a leadership role by engaging with ORLAEF and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association to create a pilot training program targeting to unemployed residents in Lincoln County. The program uses internationally accredited skill-building curriculum to help participants better qualify and prepare for work in the hospitality industry. Scholarships, funded through Travel Oregon, also pay for participants to earn their certifications as Certified Guest Service Professionals, one of our industry’s most important skills.
In Portland, Travel Portland is also seeking to take an active role in helping stakeholders with workforce challenges and invited ORLAEF to exhibit at a recent Opportunity Youth Job Fair. One result, thanks to funding from Worksystems, Inc. in Portland, is that 200 youth took ORLA’s food handler course and are now applying for jobs! Worksystems is also now committing to using the Guest Service Gold Tourism training curriculum for the hundreds of youth who are seeking skills and jobs that it serves.
INCREASING EMPLOYEE COMMITMENT Decreasing turnover can have a big effect on the bottom line. ORLAEF was curious about best practices being used in Oregon that were having a positive effective on employee satisfaction which tracked to increased commitment and retention. We commissioned OSU Hospitality Management Department’s research team to do a study to identify and interview companies that we're seeing results from innovative programs. These practices, captured via video interviews, are encouraging. Employee engagement tactics range from offering soft-side benefits, to supporting associate wellness programs, to nurturing a family-friendly company culture, to sharing leadership roles. Become inspired by viewing these videos at OregonRLA.org/workforcepractices.
Albert Einstein is widely known with the quote,“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Tired of the hearing the same workforce “lack of” words? Engage with ORLA’s Education Foundation as we seek to support innovative solutions to our industry’s workforce challenges. | Wendy Popkin
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 30+-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” www.OregonRLA.org/EdFoundation
Best Practices for Reducing Employee Turnover, an Oregon Perspective
The Bottom Line. Those are perhaps the three most powerful words in any industry, but especially in hospitality where profitability margins can be paper-thin. While competitive wage, insurance, and health costs seem uncontrollable, the cost of recruiting and training new employees due to turnover can be minimized. Turnover cost savings drop to the bottom line the same as increasing sales or prices. The strategy of focusing on employee retention rates can also have a longer-term effect on overall labor costs, and the increased capabilities that veteran employees provide can positively affect guest loyalty and therefore increased profitability.
Pay Now or Pay Later. “Those managers who understand the value of employee retention and structure their organizations’ compensation systems and management practices to reinforce retention will outperform the competition… Any company that is experiencing a high degree of turnover is incurring unnecessary financial costs as well as decreases in service quality and the quality of work life.” (The Cost of Turnover: Putting a Price on the Learning Curve, The Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 2000)
Ideas That Work. ORLA’s Education Foundation commissioned Oregon State University’s Hospitality Management department to conduct research to identify and highlight organizations in Oregon who have created innovative practices that have resulted in improved employee retention. The study’s format is user-friendly and is presented as a series of short video interviews with eight companies who recognized the need to transform their view of the company’s relationship with their employees. Take a look at the videos posted on ORLA’s website at OregonRLA.org/workforce.
Todd Montgomery M.B.A, the research project’s lead, explained that they discovered a key commonality among each employer, “Leaders implementing best practices realize the current labor market and trends are unsustainable. Adapt or die, literally.” While best practices highlighted in this study range from first year engagement tactics to experiential training, and data-driven employee culture that leverages technology to mentorship programs, there were several common threads recognized among the companies interviewed. Commonalities include;
These numbers represent the average cost of turnover by position for two different hotels. The costs associated with turnover were higher than previous estimates, taking into consideration training and lost productivity due to a learning curve.
We hope that you find our new work helpful as you consider your own operations and workforce challenges you may be facing. We welcome your comments as well as suggestions for other best practice research your organization would find valuable. Feel free to reach out via email at WPopkin@OregonRLA.org | Wendy Popkin
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 32-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.”
Nine Schools Competed in Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation’s Statewide Competition Showcasing the Hospitality Industry’s Future Chefs
The challenge for the student chefs was to prepare a three-course gourmet meal with only two butane burners in under an hour. Willamette High School pulled this off with excellence, taking first in the culinary competition at the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational, sponsored by Sysco Portland. South Salem High School placed first in the management competition, developing a concept for a new restaurant and presenting it to judges from the industry and post-secondary education.
Willamette High School’s winning menu included ricotta mascarpone quail egg ravioli, pan seared wild Sockeye salmon with a fish velouté sauce and rosemary Parmigiano-Reggiano polenta, and mascarpone vanilla bean panna cotta.
Both first place teams will head to the 2019 National ProStart Invitational® May 8-10, 2019, in Washington, D.C. on sponsorship from ORLAEF. These Oregon champions also receive a share of over $547,500 in scholarships from local and national culinary schools to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
“It is with great pleasure Sysco Portland is once again the leading sponsor of the ORLAEF ProStart program,” said Bobbie McDonald, Vice President of Merchandising & Marketing at Sysco Portland. “These young culinarians from our state are building skills that are foundational to their careers in the hospitality industry. This year we are extremely excited to announce the additional support of honoring two students with a scholarship to help guide them on their culinary journey.”
Final results for the culinary competition:
Final results for the management competition:
Additional awards presented at the event: