Texas Tech University

Hospitality and Retail Management Faculty Member Explores Employee Satisfaction in the Hospitality Industry

Mallory Collins

August 8, 2023

Bonhak Koo

Bonhak Koo’s research aims to find solutions to labor shortages and increased resignation challenges

Bonhak Koo, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Hospitality and Retail Management Department. His research focuses primarily on exploring effective methods for motivating and educating internal customers to create satisfaction for external customers within hospitality management and organizations. Koo's research prioritizes employees' well-being and motivations with the goal of supporting current and future employees to sustain positive emotions and generate meaning in their careers. He shares why this research is essential to highlight.

“The hospitality industry faces major challenges after COVID-19, including labor shortages and the Great Resignation,” Koo said. “Understanding hospitality employees' well-being can provide a remedy to address those challenges facing the industry post-pandemic as it describes the rationales for people making an extra effort at work.”

The research found that over 37% of hospitality employees were in either the lack of pursuit or the task-focused group. Koo points out that this percentage is alarming but does explain why the hospitality industry is experiencing a labor shortage and resignation challenges. Unlike the remaining 63% of hospitality employees, who belonged to either the overall well-being or flourishing groups, those lacking pursuit and task-focused groups did not experience positive emotions at work. 

“My research emphasizes that it takes all stakeholders in the hospitality industry to work together to build a healthy work environment to improve employees' well-being; this is necessary to combat the labor shortage and increased resignation challenges,” Koo said.

Koo is working to find successful solutions to enhance hospitality employees' experiences in the industry. During his time in the College of Human Sciences, he has had the opportunity to explore his research with support and resources from the college and HRM department. Koo said being part of the College of Human Sciences faculty has been a privilege. 

“The philosophy and aims of the college align with mine, and I especially enjoy interacting with students,” Koo said. “I am also grateful that the college provides various resources and funding for research, which allows me to keep working on my projects and support students.”