Human Resources in the Hospitality Industry

In Hawaii, the hospitality industry is king. Hawaii welcomes millions of tourists to its shores every year, raking in important tax...

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In Hawaii, the hospitality industry is king. Hawaii welcomes millions of tourists to its shores every year, raking in important tax dollars for the state and creating a wide range of business opportunities. From hotels and resorts to hotel event planners and caterers; there are a huge number of hospitality industry businesses to serve the needs of tourists. For smaller businesses in the industry, having an in-house HR team may not be a realistic financial choice and yet there are important HR tasks that should be handled by experts.

Human resources in the hospitality industry

Recruiting and retention

According to “Outlook for the Economy” on, Hawaii’s economy is expected to continue positive growth in 2019 and 2020. Combined with Hawaii’s historically low unemployment rate, employers in all industries are struggling to fill positions with the right employees but the hospitality industry in particular has a hard time hiring great employees when the employment rate is low because many potential workers have their pick of other options like restaurant and retail jobs. Adding to the challenge, young workers are more educated than ever and those with college degrees are often looking for other types of careers.

Recruiting is one of the most important jobs that HR handles in the hospitality industry. With turnover historically high for hospitality workers, there may be a constant need to advertise for open positions.

HR can play an important role in reducing turnover, starting with the recruiting process. Writing full job descriptions is an important part of the recruiting process and yet, with so many positions to fill, it can be tempting to advertise without a detailed written job description. Those who make the effort, may find that employees start with a clearer understanding of their role and what’s expected of them; making for happier employees who stick around longer. Other important ways to retain employees include offering attractive benefits, creating employee development programs and incentives to achieve goals such as team building activities.

Partnering with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is a great way to attract and keep employees working for your business because they help small businesses offer the types of employee benefits they could not afford to offer on their own as well as other conveniences like automated time-in/time-out clocks and 24/7 support.


Setting compensation rates for all levels of positions in an organization is handled by HR. Hourly pay should be set based on regional market rates. Other decisions need to be made around incentives to earn cash bonuses and how tips will be distributed as these are often a big part of the compensation structure for hospitality workers.

Partnering with a PEO that offers Visa paycards is a great bonus for employees without checking accounts – which is fairly common in Hawaii.

Compliance with labor laws and liability

Businesses who are not aware of or intentionally violate Hawaii’s Labor Laws run the risk of fines, penalties and lawsuits. An HR manager plays a big role in making sure that a business is complying with Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, the National Labor Relations Act for union members as well as labor laws that cover paid breaks, overtime etc. HR also sets policies on and manages sexual harassment and discrimination complaints, which can lead to lawsuits if mishandled.

A PEO has a team of experts on local labor laws at business’ disposal and helps prevent lawsuits and fines by tracking compliance, eligibility, hours, wages, leave, unemployment claims and more. A PEO should also carry Employment Practices Liability (EPL) coverage for all clients and a team of labor law attorneys ready to defend you just in case a claim is brought.

Partnering with Makai HR

Are you a business in the hospitality industry that needs HR support without the expense of in-house staff? That’s okay; we’ve got you covered through HR outsourcing! When you partner with Makai HR you can get on with the business you are trying to grow while we take care of your employee needs from 401(k) plans to payroll, taxes, health insurance/benefits, and worker’s compensation. You also gain peace of mind that you are in compliance with all of Hawaii’s employer laws (if you’ve ever looked you know that the list is very long). When choosing a PEO to partner with, there are many things to consider including cost, services and technology solutions.

With the cost of doing business in Hawaii at record highs, we know how important it is to keep labor costs in line with revenue. Our plans are priced competitively and include value-added services like time-in/time-out systems. Our three tiers of PEO service plans are tailored to the size of your business and specific needs. We offer a 100% paperless solution which means that your employees can manage their needs through a computer, tablet or phone. We can truly improve your employees work benefits while freeing you up to run your business.

What are you waiting for? Companies who partner with a PEO benefit from 7-9% faster growth, 10-14% lower employee turnover; and they are 50% less likely to go out of business. Contact us today to get started!

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