HVS India – Versatile Workforce – A Necessity for Indian Hospitality Sector

Versatile Workforce – A Necessity for the Indian Hospitality Sector

The often overlooked opportunity of multi-skilled hotel employees is a great way to solve staffing issues in the Indian hospitality industry. Read on to find out more.


According to a recent survey, strong growth in travel demand led to a 352% year-on-year growth in hiring activity in India’s travel and hospitality industry in May 2022 However, as additional supply enters the market, the industry’s struggle with a shortage of skilled labor is only expected to worsen. One of the reasons for this is that several hospitality professionals who have been displaced or lost their jobs in the past two years have found alternative employment in other related industries, while others are hesitant to join the industry. hospitality industry due to the current uncertain market conditions.

Meanwhile, hotel management teams are consciously reducing their staff-to-room ratios to control costs, improve profitability and, to some extent, overcome staffing shortages. Reports indicate that staff to room ratios have dropped from 1.2-1.5 in the pre-pandemic era to 0.7-1 post-pandemic, which has also led to a decline in service quality and customer satisfaction in some cases. So while the intent to optimize resources is obvious, achieving real results takes effort, making a compelling case for the often overlooked opportunity of multi-skilled hotel employees.

Employees who are cross-skilled or cross-trained in multiple departments can help manage staffing levels at different times of the day. Front desk or housekeeping employees, for example, may be trained for food service, while waiters may be trained to perform kitchen duties. Versatility and cross-training are beneficial to both employers and employees. Employers can reduce labor costs through lean organization, improve efficiency and increase operational flexibility. During this time, employees learn new skills and gain an in-depth understanding of hotel operations, which improves their career prospects and employability. It also prepares employees for higher level positions within the company, making succession planning easier while increasing employee loyalty and motivation.

It’s a great way to address staffing issues in the industry, but implementation is easier said than done. As a first step, some traditional occupations and roles in the hospitality industry need to be reassessed and rethought, and the tasks that can be included in multiskilling need to be identified. The next step is to set up appropriate training programs and identify the employees who will participate in these trainings. While most companies have their internal learning and development programs, some are now collaborating with educational institutions to upskill, retrain and train employees. Hilton recently announced a partnership with Guild Education that will allow its employees in the United States to pursue a wide range of learning opportunities, including language skills, digital skills, and even high school completion, at no cost. In India, The Leela recently launched a leadership development program in collaboration with the Indian School of Hospitality.

Employers may initially encounter resistance from employees because not all jobs have the same status. This is a hurdle that the industry needs to start overcoming for versatility to gain more acceptance over time. Encouraging versatility by transferring a portion of the savings to employees who choose the versatility program as a compensation enhancement can provide the motivation needed to overcome this mindset. The hospitality industry can also learn and incorporate best practices from other industries that have successfully implemented cross-training and cross-training. Finally, hospitality companies must recognize the importance of cultivating a culture of continuous learning in the workplace for their future growth and invest in learning and development activities for their employees.

Mandeep S.Lamba, President – ​​South Asia, oversees the HVS practice in South Asia. Mandeep has spent over 30 years in the hospitality industry having worked with international hotel companies such as Choice Hotels, IHG and Radisson Hotels before becoming President of ITC Fortune Hotels in 2001. After successfully building the Fortune brand in medium-sized hotel sector in India, Mandeep ventured on an entrepreneurial journey for over 8 years, establishing JV companies with Dawnay Day Group UK and Onyx Hospitality Thailand before joining JLL in 2014, as Managing Director, Hotels & Hospitality Group – South Asia. A recognized industry leader, Mandeep has won several awards and accolades for his accomplishments. Recently, it was featured in the Hotelier India Power List of India’s Most Respected Hoteliers for the second consecutive year. Contact Mandeep at +91 981 1306 161 or [email protected]

Dipti Mohan, Senior Manager – Research with HVS South Asia, is a seasoned knowledge professional with extensive experience in creating research-based content. She has authored several “point of view” papers such as thought leadership reports, expert opinion pieces, white papers, and research reports. Contact Dipti at [email protected]

Christina A. Kroll