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Outsourcing in Hospitality

Internationally, most hotels have opted for outsourcing housekeeping but many Indian brands still prefer to have in-house staff right from the janitor to room attendant. While we all agree absenteeism, frequently changing workers, drop outs… are some deterrent causes, what strategies, a housekeeping head must adopt to ensure better retention ratio? What is the role a housekeeping head needs to play to work with outsourced workforce?

OUTSOURCING STAFF is yet to catch up the international standard in India. Also, Indian operators are more confident of their capabilities rather than the capabilities of the contractor or the outsourcing agent. The common believe is that in-house staff is more “loyal” to their company than a third party who is managing several units and has to cater to the needs of each and every hotel.

Many hotels only outsource manpower rather than the job itself. Laundry, horticulture and pest control are among the areas which are comfortably outsourced completely, more so because knowledge of these areas is limited with most housekeepers and outsourcing these allow them adequate time to concentrate on more important tasks on hand.

Similarly, one must look at and develop outsourcing for other branches in housekeeping.  There are many problems associated with outsourcing, the biggest being absenteeism, staff changing frequently, training issues, loyalty and ethical issues, pilferages and most importantly in today’s day a security issue. Can this change for the outsourced team?

I have, during my various associations with the outsourced teams, groomed and trained the selected ones who showed keen interest to be a part of the organisation, stability in work, abilities to work independently sometimes without supervision, to learn and grow and loyalty among other qualities. A housekeeper has to have a keen eye to detect the people and then work towards their development and reducing some of the worries associated with outsourced people. Apart from this, treating them as a part of the organisation, involving them in team activities and making sure that they are a part of the learning and development programme of the department, sometimes sending them for external trainings or other activities helps tremendously in ensuring that the outsourced team becomes an asset rather than a liability.

Benefits of outsourced staff… one gets their replacement instantly easily. Overhead payroll associated costs are missing or negligible, for jobs undone or a substandard job one can always get compensated. On the other hand, the contractor too, must have development programs to groom their team in sync with time. This will in turn pave a way for the outsource industry to survive in India. Joint efforts from both the housekeepers and the agency will pull great results.

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