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Hospitality sector chews on recruiting, retention solutions

University and industry team up to solve hospitality HR challenges.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. October 11, 2019
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According to Cornell University estimates, it can cost nearly $5,700, on average, to replace just one employee in the hospitality industry. And with turnover already high in that particular sector, HR spending can quickly get out of control.

That’s one of the many reasons why the University of South Florida St. Petersburg's Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership has launched a 16-week, online Hospitality Leadership Program designed to equip managers with the skills needed to recruit and retain talent in such a way that turnover is the exception, not the rule. The program also aims to prevent personnel churn at the top.

“In our industry, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep qualified managers and leaders,” says Mike Harting, owner and operator of 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg, one of the program’s industry partners.

Prior to founding 3 Daughters, Harting, who spoke at a Sept. 30 kickoff event for the program, worked for 25 years in the restaurant business for brands such as Hooters, Steak & Ale and Outback Steakhouse, making him well acquainted with the high-stress nature of the hospitality industry that can lead both employees and managers to burn out and exit the sector altogether. He and 19 other local hospitality business leaders helped create the HLP’s curriculum.

HLP participants will spend five hours per week engaging with educational material that will help them become more organized, create a values-driven culture, hold more effective meetings, create a cycle of loyalty, apply situational leadership and understand and influence key business metrics. However, it’s not an academic course, and thus organizers say they will need industry support to sustain the program.

“This program needs us in order to develop further,” Harting says. “It needs expertise, and, quite frankly, it needs money to survive.”

Industry memberships — which carry a variety of perks, including seats in the training program and marketing and brand placement opportunities — are available at $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 levels. For more information, visit:


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