By Jacquelyn Kung

As with every catastrophe, there may be a silver lining. COVID-19 opens up a glorious opportunity for us to get the best talent out there.

If you by chance missed the news: the head of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Chip Rogers said recently that the impact “to our industry is already more severe than anything we’ve seen before, including September 11th and the great recession of 2008 combined.”

Digging into the point even more, Marriott has announced that its occupancy in the U.S. has already dipped to below 20% and it’s been shuttering hotel staples like the popular W in San Francisco.

How many talented workers are we talking about? The Wall Street Journal noted that at least 4.6 million American jobs at hotels would be lost due to our COVID-19 pandemic.

Let’s recap where we stand here:

  • It’s an opportunity to attract and hire great housekeepers. Given half of hotel workers are housekeepers and that our industry has been hiring housekeepers from agencies for the last two years, I couldn’t be more excited at the talent that we can get.
  • It’s an opportunity to attract and hire great maintenance professionals. Given more senior living facilities going green and modern — and frankly more fast, professional . . . and hospitable — let’s get these great individuals!
  • It’s an opportunity for amazing chefs, sous chefs, front of the house managers . . . and why, even utility workers (aka dishwashers). These are some of the hardest roles to fill. Normally hotels lose kitchen and managerial staff to restaurants. But with cities from coast to coast ordering “shelter in place” restaurants are looking at hotels to see where their jobs are going.
  • Lastly, if we squint and see things creatively, senior living could even fast track career paths to be a nursing assistant. We definitely need more of those. And 85% of them report that they love what they do, citing “I feel like I make a difference in my job.”

States that have historically required long hiring processes seem to be waiving those burdensome regulations temporarily. Senior living providers that we’re hearing from are fast-tracking hiring, whether for open roles or to buff up the per diem pool in key areas.

So . . .

Can we put a big sign on all our backs that say HELLO HOTEL WORKERS — apply here!

Scratch that. It can’t be a real sign: nobody in your living room or empty community common space will see that.

It has to be a virtual sign, which by the way works better as internet traffic increases with everyone at home.

If you’re looking for fodder for your job posts to attract hotel workers, you can slip in one or a few of the following talking points:

  • Across the more than 500,000 senior care employees who have given feedback, our sector scores a 76 on the Trust Index, which is the survey of the Great Place to Work Institute
  • This 76 score for our sector is awesome — by comparison, last year the U.S. average employee reports feeling a 49 on the Trust Index
  • As a sector, we beat the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For (which includes Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, and Kimpton) on the dimensions of purpose and giving back

BUT again, the most important thing is to actively promote yourselves to these hotel workers! They are online searching for jobs!

It’s crazy busy at senior care providers these days with countless tasks related to COVID-19 preparation. As with many golden opportunities, it’s those who grab at them who will benefit. 

How can we help you make your sign and get it posted? 

What do you think? We’d love to hear your comments. And, have you had success attracting hotel workers this past week? If so, please share your experiences in the comments below.