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Employee engagement and company culture is critical to staff retention

We were delighted to sponsor Travel Weekly’s first People Summit recently. We heard from Dame Irene Hays who talked about employee loyalty in the travel sector coming from having a strong company culture, one in which employees feel valued and have fun. Dame Irene said that ensuring her company treats its staff with dignity and respect was key driver for retention. She also stressed the importance of showcasing the fun factor in working for a travel business to attract new recruits.

Dame Irene’s killer line was “Culture trumps Strategy”.

The inaugural Best Workplaces in Travel’s survey earlier this year identified what it takes to makes a great place to work.

Overall, the top 5 were:

  • That all individuals are valued

  • Recognition and thanks for a job well done

  • Leaders are supportive, positive and inspiring

  • Respect for work life balance

  • Being part of a team that works well together.

It is clearly important that leaders at all levels understand the extent of the role they play in engaging and supporting their teams, with the skills and will to deliver.

We also heard from Guy Novik, the CEO at USAirtours. He talked about the importance of employee engagement, and culture being critical as part of that engagement. He also recommended using companies to get an external view and assessment, particularly in the new world of hybrid working. Our partner, Purple Cubed, are workplace culture experts so worth considering their services and products.

Ben Bouldin, VP EMEA at Royal Caribbean talked about flexible working and advised that every company has a different view on what works best in their businesses. Clearly one size doesn’t fit all! But the importance is around being specific about what your policy is.

Having moderated a panel at Tourism Innovation Summit a few weeks ago in Seville, talking about how best to address the talent challenges, the key learning was to engage and listen to your employees. This is exactly the reason we launched Best Workplaces in Travel in 2022, which is aimed at giving travel businesses the data they need to make smart decisions when it comes to their people strategy.


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