5 ways to find, attract skilled maintenance workers

 In a recent study conducted by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration regarding contemporary expectations of hotel guests, two leading factors related to customer satisfaction were both heavily maintenance-related, namely room quality (24 percent of those surveyed found it the leading factor) and the hotel’s overall facilities (19 percent). You cannot have either without excellent maintenance practices in place.

However, as any hotel management team knows, acquiring skilled maintenance workers is challenging. This is particularly true today. Here are five factors that need hoteliers should consider regarding how to find and attract skilled maintenance workers for their properties.

1. Understand the Market

There is a labor shortage in the global maintenance field, including for hotels. In fact, labor shortages are at historic lows across multiple industries. The Hospitality Asset Managers Association released its findings regarding what are its members’ deepest concerns for 2022: in short, labor is at the forefront of hospitality managers. Labor-related factors were in the top five leading concerns for HAMA members, with "availability of labor" being the leading issue and "labor wage rates" being the second biggest issue.

It gets worse: The existing hotel labor market is in a state of flux, with many hospitality employees wanting to move on and make changes to their careers. Research released in late 2021 by Medallia comprised a survey of more than 1,250 travel and hospitality workers from the U.S., U.K., France, Spain, and Germany. The report made for sobering reading: It revealed that 38 percent of hospitality workers were considering or had already made plans to leave their jobs within the next two months. 

Bottom line: It is an employee market. Skilled maintenance professionals are in demand, and so any hotel needs to recruit accordingly.

2. Know How To Attract Young Workers

Youth does not mean a lack of skills; on the contrary, younger people are inevitably more tech-savvy and have better critical learning skills than older generations. That can be highly advantageous in the increasingly tech-dependent maintenance industry.

Young people also have firm ideas about the characteristics that define the organizations for which they work. Like millennials before them, studies have shown that Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2014) have three distinct requirements about potential employers, all of them to do with ‘soft’ or people management skills:

  • The employer must care about the well-being of all employees;
  • There must be ethical leadership within the organization; and
  • The organization must be diverse and inclusive of all groups and minorities.

Truth be told, a "caring, inclusive, and diverse" work environment does not sound like most maintenance departments, but those are the expectations of the younger demographic (including Millennials, or those born between 1980 and 1996). The upside? Studies have also shown that Gen Z tends to be more fiscally conservative and loyal to companies and industries compared to millennials or even older Gen-Xers.  

Bottom line: Younger people, especially Gen Z, have strong ideas about work and employers, so being smart about attracting younger workers is required, if not essential.

3. Make the Job Appealing

If there is a critical labor shortage in the maintenance industry and every effort must be made to attract younger applicants, then it is obvious that jobs need to look appealing. Even though the Harvard Business Review stated in a December article that, “Job titles still reign supreme in the world of work,” it also acknowledged that job titles are becoming “increasingly blurred” due to technology and the aspirations of today’s job seekers.

That is why a job listing needs to go "beyond the mere job description." It should not be a tedious laundry list of key duties and responsibilities and applicant requirements. It needs to also include the other, human-related aspects of the hotel, including the environment and hotel culture, in which the successful applicant will work.

Bottom line: Appealing, work culture-driven job descriptions that emphasize work-life balance considerations could make the difference between attracting the right maintenance talent—or not.

4. Be Precise

For any applicant, a job listing offers a peek into an organization, including its ethos and values or even lack thereof. The way in which any appeal to applicants for skilled maintenance work is made is of paramount importance. Therefore, the first golden rule for any job listing is that it be well-written. Well-chosen, inclusive, and specific words and turns of phrase can make all the difference in attracting the skilled maintenance workers needed.

The second golden rule is that a job listing should be precise in all aspects of the required maintenance position. It is no secret that hotel maintenance is diverse, even complex, and can include a host of different duties and responsibilities.  

The "Jack-of-all-trades" reality of maintenance work is as true for hotel maintenance professionals as it is for any industry. Nevertheless, precision in the job descriptions is still needed. 

Ensure that required maintenance skills and duties are included in the job listing for your hotel, which may very well include:

  • Maintaining major building systems, such as the plumbing system, electrical infrastructure, and/or HVAC systems;
  • Maintaining hotel room interiors, such as carpentry and fixing broken furniture;
  • Specialized maintenance work, such as those for elevator systems or refrigeration units;
  • Housekeeping tasks; and
  • Landscaping.

Bottom line: Remember: it will be an employee market for the foreseeable future. Therefore, your hotel is not in the ‘driving seat’ when advertising maintenance work, which is why any job listing needs to be concise, precise, and compelling.

4. Give Your Hotel a Persona

Communication today is driven by storytelling, including in the recruitment realm. Every hotel is unique in its own way, be it due to its location, its heritage, its market focus, or any number of different characteristics. A hotel should be viewed as a living entity with its own distinct personality. Therefore, any effort to try and find and attract skilled maintenance personnel demands that your hotel has a persona based on a specific narrative.

This means that you need to provide a brief yet vivid description of the hotel as a distinct workplace, the hotel’s work culture, its ethos, what makes the hotel stand out or be different, and so forth. To fail to do so is to run the risk of not standing out when trying to find and attract the right maintenance staff.

Lastly and equally importantly, a hotel needs to be willing to speak the language of social media, such as emphasizing the hotel’s social media presence. Advertising jobs and pushing a hotel’s profile on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok could pay dividends in that regard.

Comprehensive maintenance that is fit for purpose and ensures that a hotel avoids unnecessary downtimes due to maintenance-related issues, as well as the increased life span of hotel assets and reduced operational costs. It ensures that guests do not have to walk down dark corridors due to poor or malfunctioning illumination or slip on badly-laid paving stones or uneven carpeting.

Skilled maintenance professionals are needed to ensure that hotel maintenance is effective and unobtrusive. Finding and attracting such maintenance personnel is not only more important than ever in today’s hotel industry, it is imperative.

Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO of Limble CMMS. 

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post