As the pandemic has waned, hospitality staffing solutions are needed more than ever.

The hospitality industry continues to face an acute staffing shortage, making it difficult for many businesses to maintain high-quality service and meet customer expectations. Hotels, restaurants, and other service-oriented businesses report shortages severe enough to affect their ability to operate. The good news? There’s a proven solution that not only addresses staffing shortages but also promotes inclusivity and diversity within the workforce—employing people with disabilities.

The Untapped Potential of People with Disabilities

Over 10 percent of working-age Americans have a disability. Historically, only about 30 percent of these individuals have participated in the workforce—as opposed to 75 percent of persons without disabilities. That’s changing. A recent National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) report, published by the Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire, found that the disability employment-to-population ratio has risen to 37.9 percent. As cause for the shift, the study cited an increase in remote work and a growing awareness of the benefits of a workforce that includes people of all abilities—many of which specifically translate to hospitality staffing solutions.

A recent report by analyst firm Accenture found that employers who actively hire and support employees with disabilities earned 1.6 times more revenue, 2.6 times more net income and 2 times more economic profit than peer organizations.

Hospitality Staffing Solutions Include People of All Abilities

Not only are hotels, restaurants, and other service-oriented businesses grappling to find employees, but retention is also an issue. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up to 80 percent of hospitality employees leave within the first year—incurring operational disruptions, impaired customer service, and substantial costs to employers. All of this has left hotel operators and food service providers with a dismal outlook. According to a survey by Deloitte, these employers don’t expect staffing to return to 2019 levels until around 2030. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Of the many reported benefits that people with disabilities bring to employers, long-term retention, reliability, and high customer satisfaction top the list. That’s certainly what the managers of three busy hotels discovered when they adopted an inclusive hiring model.

Resorts Find Stellar Employees

Viejas Casino & Resort

Viejas Resort and Casino in Southern California has about 20 employees with disabilities, part of a 10-year partnership with PRIDE Industries. One, Mike Becker, an employee with a developmental disability, was recently featured on San Diego’s CBS 8 News for providing a decade of “hard work” to Viejas. Mike loves keeping the resort clean. “I would like to work here at the casino for 10 more years,” he said.

“Viejas management and executives love having our employees there,” said David Cuevas, Director of Workforce Inclusion. “They are an integral part of the team, keeping the different casino areas spotless.”

Viejas also appreciates the positivity this workforce brings. “They show up every day with a smile on their face, eager to work,” said Cuevas.

So valued is this team that they are “treated like family,” according to Viejas management.

Legacy Resort Hotel & Spa

Ben Godwin impressed the team at San Diego’s Legacy Resort Hotel and Spa team from the start of the hiring process in 2020.

“Unlike many of our interviewees, Ben was totally at ease,” said Tonya Seidler, Legacy’s Human Resources Director. “He answered all the interview questions thoroughly, providing examples of prior work responsibilities to help us visualize him in our open position.”

In addition to being professional and prepared for the interview, Ben had an infectious enthusiasm that impressed Tonya from the very start. “He’s continued to wow us ever since,” she said.

“We serve people from all over the world,” said Steve Marciano, General Manager. “And we need quality people like Ben.”

Ben’s supervisor, Josh Bueno, concurs. “Providing quality service includes being friendly and helpful to the hotel’s guests,” he said. “Ben does this every day. He’s a team player, too. When he’s asked to deviate from his assigned tasks, he does so willingly.”

Thunder Valley Casino Resort

In Northern California, an “elite laundry team,” which includes 23 employees with disabilities, has helped keep Thunder Valley Casino Resort patrons supplied with clean linens and towels since 2019. So impressive is this team that Laundry Manager Khawar Qureshi has called on other teams to “step up and learn” from them, citing the group’s ability to multi-task while maintaining production flow in a busy environment. “They are very productive, and they do quality work,” said Khawar.

“I think it’s a great workforce,” said Brant Kelly, Director of Hotel Operations, adding that working with the team has been “nothing but a pleasure.”

Joel Moore, Vice President of Operations at Thunder Valley, shares the enthusiasm, saying that laundry operations have been so successful that the casino is looking to add employees with disabilities in other areas.

Hiring People with Disabilities Boosts Profitability

Aside from strengthening day-to-day operations, a workforce that includes people with disabilities garners many financial benefits as well. A recent report by analyst firm Accenture found that employers who actively hire and support employees with disabilities earned 1.6 times more revenue, 2.6 times more net income, and 2 times more economic profit than peer organizations. A separate study by Global Markets found that inclusive companies earn 2.5 times higher cash flow per employee, and inclusive teams are more productive by over 35%.

And Wait, There’s More

There really is. The Accenture study found that companies that hire people with disabilities demonstrate greater appeal to customers and socially conscious investors, increase innovation, and enjoy greater workplace morale—with all employees benefitting from an inclusive environment.

What’s more, this workforce specifically excels in areas that are key to the hospitality industry: retention, adaptability, and empathy.

When it comes to hospitality staffing solutions, extending your talent search to include people with disabilities just makes sense. With decades of experience as the leading employer of people with disabilities, PRIDE Industries makes connecting with this stellar workforce easy.

Let Us Help Solve Your Labor Shortages

The US Chamber of Commerce recommends that businesses turn to experienced partners to tap the many benefits—including tax incentives—of employing people with disabilities. PRIDE Industries has helped hundreds of companies do just that, helping recruit, hire, train, and support this growing and reliable talent pool—free of charge to employers.
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