The hospitality industry revolves around people: guests and the employees serving them. Combined with the fact that hospitality is highly competitive and fast-paced, it's no wonder human resources departments encounter myriad problems on a daily basis. The good news: HR can mitigate many challenging issues through preventative measures. Add leadership and employee appreciation, and you can keep problems in hospitality to a minimum. Step one is knowing what the problems are.

Turnover and Retention

A poorly managed restaurant or hotel is an invitation for employee turnover. Losing employees for nearly any reason is a costly undertaking because of the time and finances involved for HR to locate, interview, hire and train new staff members. Hospitality is an exciting field with the potential for lots of action. The phrase "never a dull moment" certainly applies. However, for some employees, serving people can be especially taxing work causing high levels of stress, which many employees find they simply cannot tolerate.

Non-existent Policies and Procedures

In the hospitality field, HR may find itself mired in legal proceedings such as unemployment hearings and employment-related lawsuits. Many hospitality businesses, particularly smaller ones, are fail to maintain accurate and current employee documentation. Without this type of supporting documentation, your HR department, and thus your business, may find itself at the mercy of the courts. HR personnel know that employment law favors employees to ensure they are not being unfairly treated or taken advantage of. Accurate and timely documentation is often your business's only defense.

Inexperienced Managers

Frequently in hospitality, managers are asked to oversee departments with many employees. Just as often, managers are not properly trained to be effective but are rather thrown into a position of authority without the benefit of experience or adequate management skills. Untrained or inexperienced managers can result in an entire department of inefficient, disgruntled employees. Managers who don't know what their jobs encompass can become frustrated and counterproductive, creating a negative trickle-down effect on their employees.

Harassment Claims

The adverse impact of harassment occurring in your hospitality business can affect your entire staff. In a hotel or restaurant environment, there may be ample opportunity for harassment in all its detrimental forms. Harassment is a situation HR is charged with preventing and, if it occurs, resolving. Employees who are suffering through episodes of harassment become fearful and are unable to properly perform their jobs or concentrate on providing the best service for your guests. HR is charged with investigating and possibly firing or relocating involved employees.


Restaurants and hotels usually have a large supply of expensive wine, unlimited food, and high-end equipment. Some employees can't resist the temptation to steal these items from you. Theft of this type is unfortunately commonplace in the hospitality industry and is extremely costly to your business. Though HR may try to instill a sense of loyalty in employees, it often is not enough to alleviate this cost.

Safety Problems

Employees in the hospitality industry frequently find themselves in unsafe situations as part of their jobs. HR professionals realize the importance of following occupational safety rules to avoid injuries and lawsuits. However, many HR personnel find that their hotel or restaurant has no safety rules in place, or that rules that are in place are not being followed. With so many opportunities for injury -- on ladders, in the kitchen, with breaking glass, cleaning chemicals, and more -- it becomes a considerable HR worry to ensure safety rules are followed.

Internet Use

HR personnel in the hospitality field have seen steadily increasing use of the Internet by employees -- not for work-related activities but for personal use such as shopping or viewing adult sites. The cost to your business of this type of activity quickly mounts as hospitality staff wastes time on the clock to surf the Web for hours on end. Using hotels' and restaurants' Internet connections in this manner has become so prevalent that many hospitality businesses have installed features on all their computers that will notify management of Internet use.