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How to Boost Morale with Staff Incentives at Your Hospitality Business

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It’s not always easy to find and retain good staff in the hospitality industry. Businesses have to find different ways to motivate their employees to stay engaged and perform well.

A staff incentive scheme can help boost the quality of your employees’ work by up to 40%.

When we speak about incentives, it’s often the dollar signs that flash in our mind. But interestingly, not all employees find motivation in financial incentives. A Gallup survey found that almost 70% of workers preferred non-monetary forms of recognition.

survey by SEEK found that of 4,800 Aussie works, 33% favoured work-life balance incentives, with just 2% attracted to a company by its perks. Flexible working hours, recognition, and professional development are what employees really want.

Below are some of the best incentives we’ve found to motivate your employees into better performance.

Include Them in the Vision for Your Business

Ben Walsh of Miss Moneypenny’s says that staff retention is all about finding employees that match your business. And to do that, you need to build a reputation they want to be a part of.

“You’ve got to sell yourself on your brand, your offering, and attract them that way so they know that this is a feather in their cap,” he says.

Develop a strong, positive reputation and make sure to include your staff in the process. You can hold informal team gatherings to promote discussions about the direction of the business. You could even set up a contest to encourage your employees to come up with fresh ideas for the business.

If your staff feel like they’re crucial to your venue’s image, it engages them on an emotional level. They’ll feel they’re a part of something bigger than themselves and are more likely to become loyal to your business.

Make Them Feel Part of a Family

Many hospitality businesses recognise that creating a family atmosphere in their venues are the best way to achieve long-standing success.

For example, Ella Harris from Cuckoo Callay and Nour says that building on team dynamic is an important part of retaining staff across her 3 venues.

“For us, we just try and make it like a big family. For example, people from the restaurant eat their breakfast at the cafe most days, and people from the cafe eat at the restaurant all the time,” she says.

A great way to encourage team bonding is to offer food discounts or even free meals. Or why not host monthly, venue-wide breakfasts, lunches, or dinners?

Make it in a casual, low key setting and keep work-talk to a minimum. This is about forging a team that goes beyond the workplace.

Offer Staff Training


Staff are more likely to engage with your business if they don’t feel trapped or stuck. Offering them a program of training and development is an excellent way to keep them motivated.

Your business could offer opportunities to complete hospitality certificates, provide barista or bartender courses, or send high-performance staff to training workshops.

Provide Opportunities for Career Progression

For many, a hospitality job is just a temporary stop on the way to another career. But don’t underestimate your staff.

Some may have greater ambition – and when you spot these high achievers, it’s a great idea to create opportunities for the employee to move up.

Ella Harris also says it’s a great incentive for staff members to know they’re part of a succession plan.

When the supervisor or manager is out, let these employees fill in. Give them more responsibilities in training new members or opening and closing the venue.

Bring Out Natural Competitiveness

Back in the early 1990s, the Marriott hotel chain had an issue with how quickly room service trays were removed from bedroom corridors.

To fix the issue without adding extra shifts on, they made tray removals a company-wide responsibility. And to motivate staff to take on the responsibility, they added stickers to the trays, which staff could collect in exchange for small gifts.

There are plenty of ways to reward your staff for work performance that goes above and beyond.

Set sales targets for each staff member and reward those who reach their goals with gift cards or vouchers. Or call out those who make the highest sales or grill the most burgers in a shift.

Reward Attendance

For many hospitality businesses, attendance can be a real issue. Sick days and no shows can mount up. Montalto has an original way of dealing with this.

They have created a “Wine Dollars” incentive program which values each hour worked at 50 cents in wine dollars.

An internal report monitors employee hours, equating hours worked to a dollar amount per employee. At the end of each month, employees can use their wine dollars to buy wine from the cellar door.

Respect Their Work Life Balance


Treating your employees with respect and compassion is a sure-fire method to work your way into their hearts.

Hospitality work can be demanding, with long, irregular hours for many. Some businesses, such as Attica’s Ben Shewry, have introduced four-day work weeks to boost staff morale.

It always helps to take your employees’ other commitments into account as much as possible when rostering. But for those who have been with the business for a longer duration, why not reward them?

Give them an extra day of paid leave per year of employment, or a bonus on their fifth year with your venue.

Motivated and engaged staff members can do wonders to a hospitality business. But how do you track employee performance in an effective way?

Through custom reporting, that’s how!

Impos Analytics now has custom reporting functionality to help you incentivise your employees. Find out how you can create, monitor, and amend amazing staff incentives through your Impos POS system today.