Retaining Valuable Employees in a Tough Labor Market 

Walk by or into any shop or restaurant and chances are you’ve seen a “Now Hiring” sign. With 10.9 million job openings as of early February 2022, American businesses face a widespread worker shortage due to a domino effect of pandemic-related and other economic policies (The Heritage Foundation). The current labor shortage spans nearly all demographic groups and affects the entire American economy. 

In this time of labor shortages, employee engagement and retention have never been more critical. According to Gallup research, employee turnover can be costly with recruitment, onboarding and training expenses totaling 1.5 to 2 times an employee’s annual salary. The best retention strategy focuses on employee engagement. 

Engaged employees are happy, more productive, stay and grow. 

Employee engagement creates effective organizations which, in turn, have happier customers. Technology, professional development and recognition provide great opportunities to support, engage and ultimately retain your most valuable employees. 


Technology applications have made it much easier to engage with employees daily, weekly and even monthly to push consistent, specific and relevant content that supports job performance. These apps enable employees to access information on their smart devices and receive real-time alerts and notifications, allowing them to respond appropriately and effectively at a time convenient for them. 

These apps have also made it easier for businesses to deliver communications that drive uniform, positive business outcomes in a single workplace or across multiple geographically challenged sites. The best technology applications offer two-way communications where employees receive information, share feedback and best practices, and give shout-outs to colleagues who positively impacted their day.

Professional Development

Countless studies prove the direct correlation between professional development and employee engagement and retention. LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report found that 94% of employees said they’d stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn. A study of 2,000 professionals by Better Buys echoed that sentiment and found:

  • Employees with professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged at work.
  • 92% of employees think having access to professional development is very important or important.
  • Employees with professional development opportunities have 34% higher retention. 

Learning and development can also help recruit better talent and in this competitive labor market, it’s imperative to attract the top personnel. 

Thanks to technology, learning and development has become as fun as it is professionally rewarding. Gamification is a modern technology training technique that creates games using learning modules. A great example of gamification is a leaderboard set up for employees to earn and track points as they complete training sessions. Having an app with training videos, trivia and different multiple choice scenarios engages the team through friendly competition.


Having a culture of recognition helps engage and retain employees and attract top talent. Now more than ever, with the world’s volatility, uncertainty and stress, hard-working employees want and deserve to feel appreciated. When employees feel valued, they’re more engaged, motivated and likely to go the extra mile for their company. Recognition is a necessary and influential business strategy that companies use to curb attrition and improve retention. Bonusly found 63% of employees who feel recognized are unlikely to look for a new job. Whether the recognition comes from peers, leadership or customers, acknowledging a job well done goes a long way.

Our Approach to Employee Retention

At Compass Group, we have successfully deployed this three pronged approach to retention by harnessing a nudging behavioral science approach. To do this, we launched a technology app that delivers daily communications, training, and development tools focused on safety, service, wellness, sustainability, and culinary. The app also allows for recognition by both peers and leadership. The operational impact of our app-based communications utilizing this process has earned us recognition with the IFMA’s George Graves Award for Facility Management Achievement. To date, 91% of our operations in corporate services have adopted and are using the app on a daily basis.  

We are committed to providing our associates with training, support, advancement, and rewards through every stage of their career. Our people first culture is the reason that we lead the industry in employee retention.

Interested in how we can help you create a better hospitality experience with the best people, let’s talk.