We don't have a problem with the workforce, but with emigration

The brand of your hotel is your employees.

Author  Goran Rihelj

9. March 2024.

We don't have a problem with the workforce, but with emigration.

And why people don't want to work in tourism anymore (these are just the consequences today) and leave HR is a key question, and that's where the root of the problem as well as the solution should be found. Now it's too late, we've lost the most important resource - people. There is always someone who will work for the minimum, philosophy has done its job.

The import of foreign labor (primarily from distant markets that have a totally different way of life and culture) can only be a partial and short-term measure, not necessarily a solution. Not a strategic determinant.

It's funny to me how now everyone is "whining" that no one wants to work, they are asking for state subsidies and special measures. Our people want to work and they do, but not in HR. On the contrary, they are highly valued workers.

So now they should co-finance the import of labor? And again we are at the same root of the problem and we are striving for a totally different tourism than what should be our comparative advantage.

There are solutions, but there is no action, but we continue to sink with the same bad philosophy. Ultimately, it breaks again on the most valuable resource - people.

Yes, the state is expensive, taxes and various levies are high, taxes on salaries... and there needs to be lobbying and changes are needed to facilitate business - and not that everything just breaks on people.

And that's why rare positive examples like the one in Opatija are extremely happy Hotel Miramar which enters the new tourist season in the celebratory atmosphere of the 20th anniversary, as well as new owner.

The hotel staff does exclusively local population which over the years has created a recognizable family identity with its dedication. The new owner recognized this exceptional quality and decided to take special care of the well-being of his 130 employees. It is possible for every employee vacation in the heart of the season i free days of the week through the entire year. All of them also received work contracts indefinitely, and it is introduced for free additional health insurance.

Something should be normal, today "super - mega" is a positive example.

Otherwise, working without days off in tourism is not and should not be the standard of the industry! 

A taboo subject that must not be kept silent. Working without a day off in tourism is not and should not be normal, let alone part of the "industry standard".

I don't know when and who in the history of our tourism made it normal and logical for employees to work without a day off in tourism. Because it's "like" the season, so we work all day long. 

Just stop now, take a breath and imagine yourself and anyone working without a day off? What's more, in the service industry? I mean, let's be honest, it's really abnormal, neither logical, nor humane. People also have a life, or should have. I know it's a hard word, but that's the way it is, whether we like it or not. 

Yes, this means that you have to hire more people, make a better organization of the work or jump into working clothes yourself, if it is a smaller facility, and thus earn less. It's part of doing business. 

When we talk about tourism, we talk about service! How can someone be smiling, cheerful, full of energy, helpful and meet the expectations of the guests - in fact, surpass them, if they work every day? There is no way the level of service can be at the expected level. No one can withstand that pace mentally. 

It's the season - what more can you do? No, it's a really ridiculous argument that works against the workers and in favor of the employer in the domain of human exploitation. 

Others say: they work every day, but at the end of the season, employees get paid for the following days!

Same thing. The fact that some hoteliers give a "month's day" (total non-working days and overtime hours not worked during the season) paid at the end of the season is also not normal, even though they "leveled" the hours for the employees. The same story as in the first case, the workers worked without days off. Also, working hours are not paid at the rate at which overtime must be paid. 

The fact that it is OK for some to earn more at the expense of workers does not mean that it is normal. Clearly, it is in everyone's interest to make a profit and make as much profit as possible, that is the meaning of business. There is nothing controversial about it. But if employers in tourism complain that there are no workers and nobody wants to work, and they also ask for various supports and subsidies from the state, then we have a problem. 

The brand of your hotel is your employees

To summarize - waiters, cleaners, cooks, receptionists, animators... these are all people who are part of your hotel / facility as well as your brand. Ultimately they are the brand. They are the first and most important ones who represent your hotel to guests, not the Management. They are in direct contact with the guests and are more likely to praise or criticize. As you take care of your employees, they will take care of your brand. 

Everyone wants to live well, be well paid for their work, have their own personality and want to be respected. If they don't like the work environment, they have open borders and go where their work and personality as a person is respected. Market economy, right? 

This is just one mosaic cube the whole issue and chronic problem of our tourism and economy.

Everyone wants quality workers, quality products, quality service, quality media... but.

As she said Marinela Dropulić Ružić: A country "full of life" should make sure that it has employees "full of life".

Btw great political message in the Make x great again or full of life domain. Just so that it doesn't just stay on empty and political PR, but has clear goals and actions. Not just "wishes".

There is a big difference between a wish and a goal. If anyone knows that, it's entrepreneurs. 

Photo: Tim Douglas, Andrea Piacquadio, Kampus Production Pexels.com / illustration hrturism

Author  Goran Rihelj

9. March 2024.