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Research / Motivation in the Hospitality Industry
by Incentive Research Foundation
A new study on employee motivation and performance lays the groundwork for creation of the SITE Foundation Motivation Index™.
Employee turnover within the U.S. fast-food and hotel industries costs those industries in the neighborhood of $140 billion annually. In more bite-sized terms, it will cost roughly 100% to 200% of an employee’s base salary to recruit and train a replacement. Although the turnover rate for these industries hovers between 78.3 percent and 95.4 percent on a national basis, some fast-food restaurants and hotels experience much lower rates, and have significantly greater success retaining employees. Overall, higher levels of motivation and motivated performance translate into a 53 percent reduction in worker turnover.
It is generally understood that employment in these industries is often considered to be temporary, or stop-gap employment, with workers leaving eventually for what they will consider “greener pastures.” And certainly, different economics are at work depending on the region, the type of establishment, etc. However, turnover rates also vary within the same economies, the same chains, the same cities, and the same regions. All things being equal, then, what accounts for the differences in turnover rates? And more importantly, what can managers do to reduce turnover at their properties?
The Site Foundation is seeking to answer those questions by studying employee motivation and performance in the fast- food and hotel industries. The study – Motivation in the Hospitality Industry – measures key indices of motivated behavior using the widely recognized CANE (Commitment And Necessary Effort) Model of Motivation. The following describes key findings from research to date and offers methods managers can use to reduce turnover in their fast-food or hotel operations.
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Hotel and fast-food employees from twenty-two job sites located in the Orlando, Florida area were surveyed in October 2003. All told, 545 responses were received. Mid-scale hotels contributed 14.9 percent of the responses; fast-food restaurants contributed 85.1 percent. A follow-up phase conducted in February 2004 surveyed the same job sites.
The survey instrument was modeled after the CANE Model (Richard Clark, 1998). The CANE Model helps us to understand the various aspects of why people are motivated to perform a specific task.
The following chart illustrates the dynamics at work in the CANE Model. It is followed by an explanation of the ten predictor variables and questions in which the employee might express the effect of the variable on his or her behavior.
Ten predictor variables identified by the CANE Model guided the investigation of the hospitality industry. These included: self-efficacy, agency, emotion, mood, importance, interest, utility, choice, persistence, and effort.
Simply put, the study demonstrates that certain behaviors have various impacts on turnover in various ways, and these differences suggest strategies employers might use to reduce turnover. These include:
Conclusion: When tasks are being avoided or devalued, a carefully targeted incentive system can solve the problem in both the short- and long-terms.
This summary of a SITE study is an edited version of a full report by the same name written by Steven J. Condly, Ph.D., Educational Studies Dept., College of Education, University of Central Florida, and Robin DiPietro, Ph.D., Rosen School of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida.
For copies, contact
Incentive Research Foundation
304 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010 USA
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