Tourism, one of the pillars of the Mauritian economy, severely shaken by the COVID-19 crisis, is rapidly rebuilding thanks to the growing number of tourists returning en masse. However, the hotel industry is facing a serious labor shortage. How do you retain young people, who increasingly prefer to move abroad or join cruise lines? Some hoteliers offer a few tips.
The challenges facing the hotel industry in Mauritius, including talent retention, were discussed at a conference held at the end of 2023 at Veranda Grand Baie, organized by Rogers Hospitality. The Chief Executive Officer of the Association des Hôteliers et Restaurateurs de l’île Maurice (AHRIM), Jocelyn Kwok, presented the challenges facing the sector with regard to generations Y and Z, as questions are often raised about the expectations and dreams of these generations.
Salary, competitiveness and productivity, he said, are all being called into question. “Beyond these classic issues, there are other things that are extremely important to the individual,” he points out. In this respect, he points out that numerous phenomena and trends are making the situation more difficult for hoteliers. Organizing a medium-term plan becomes complicated. “At Ahrim, we had seen a massive departure from the industry, involving between 4,000 and 6,000 people. On the whole, members are doing their best to excel. We’re building up the benefits despite an existing legal framework that may be holding back the modernization of the offering,” he confesses.
How can we stop this wave of departures?
These incentives include a 35% salary increase from 2020 to 2023. This cause, the CEO argues, is a “must”, accompanied by flexibility in the workplace. “Every hotelier needs to be able to adapt despite the fairly rigid daily schedules,” he says. A flexibility that must be adapted by those who work full-time or part-time. The risk of losing an employee is present in the hotel business. To combat this risk, Jocelyn Kwok proposes happiness at work. Given that the employee possesses skills that can be “perfectly adaptable” in other sectors, retaining them becomes crucial. Skills, he says, that can’t be learned at school.
Nevertheless, Jocelyn Kwok argues that those who return to hotels after spending some time on cruise ships have great skills. And to retain these skills, he believes that hotels need to evolve to meet their demands.
The tourism sector is undergoing real change and adapting to the new generation. For AHRIM’s CEO, “the game is open and employees are going to outdo themselves”, explaining that they are going to set limits to what they like.
One of the ways in which Rogers Hospitality has responded to a serious labor shortage while offering an unrivalled experience to its team members is by tailoring its Employee Value Proposition. With the support of its employees, the group was able to work on a project designed to increase its competitiveness in the hotel market. An international methodology was used, based on the “give and get” approach. The emphasis was on solidarity, mutual aid and camaraderie to create a resilient team that could rise to any challenge.