Lia Knight, First Hospitality Group

Lia Knight, benefits coordinator, First Hospitality Group, Rosemont, Ill.

Knight works in benefits/human resources at the corporate office of First Hospitality Group. Her main responsibility is facilitating enrollment for about 1,200 benefits-eligible associates across 48 properties in nine states. This includes holding training sessions, creating resources for associates, running monthly eligibility reports, communicating benefits information to the field, working closely with the company’s IT department and insurance broker, making decisions regarding the benefits process, approving and processing benefit elections and being an available resource for associates who need support.

A big issue facing the hotel industry today is attracting and retaining good employees. Please share some candid thoughts on the pros and cons of working in the hotel industry.

For many industries, employee retention is dropping as the millennial workforce is growing. Millennial workers are more prone to job-hopping than previous generations may have been, as we are taught that a variety of experiences outweighs tenure in one position. A big part of employee retention is having the possibility of advancement, which is something we see a lot in our hotels—we are more likely to promote internally than we are to hire outside talent, which helps us hold onto great talent. Being able to engage workers in new roles is a great way to combat job-hopping. Employees also highly value work-life balance and benefits offerings. Because hospitality is a 24/7 industry, it can be hard to maintain that balance, especially as you move into supervisor and management roles.

Lia Knight, First Hospitality Group

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