With clear signs that recruitment is picking up in the hospitality industry, Lucy Warman MIH presents five steps to supercharge your recruitment post pandemic.
People. The beating heart of any organisation, but particularly within hospitality. We exist to give people a great experience. Be that a family holiday, a romantic break, lunch with a friend or dinner with a loved one, cocktails and dancing or a special event – hospitality is about people. It is often said that people are our greatest asset and biggest cost.
In its simplest terms, the key to retaining great people is finding the right fit and then engaging and nurturing them so that they are committed to stay. Our focus now should be challenging the poor perception that working in hospitality has historically had. The end of the pandemic signals a new start. Brighter times. A chance to prove how great a place hospitality is to work. So like every good story, we’ll start at the very beginning.
The key to effective recruitment begins with a strong culture. Understanding the “Why” of your organisation, the reason you exist and the core values your business lives and breathes each day. Until this is understood and translated into practise, the people you hire will never be culturally aligned. Dissatisfaction, poor performance and resentment sets in and the working relationship breaks down.
Good employers will right this situation. They will see the signs, utilise performance management to either improve performance or move the employee on. A great employer will learn from this costly mistake and realise that the situation could have been avoided if recruitment practise was improved and then make those improvements. Bad employers will live with the situation, end up with a hugely dissatisfied team, high turnover and poor service. I’m sure we’ve all worked in THAT place.
The answer? Take the bull by the horns and shake up your recruitment process. Go back to basics, re-write the script and really define who it is you want in your teams and why and then how and where you can find them.
The steps to supercharge your recruitment post pandemic:
1. Workforce planning
Evaluate your structure, identify any gaps and anywhere that you could stretch people a little further. Look at job roles and duties. Now more than ever we need people to be multi-skilled, to be able to work across roles, maybe even across departments.
Plan for the future by preparing a recruitment forecast plotting each team member, identify those who may be looking to move up or move on and look at how you can fill the gaps. External recruitment is not always the only answer. Put robust succession plans in place so you can home grow your managers of tomorrow.
2. Recruitment as marketing
Employer branding is the way an organisation markets the things it has to offer to new and existing employees and is essential in effective recruitment, in the same way marketing attracts customers.
With the onslaught of job review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, it’s as easy for employees to leave a bad review of your workplace as it is a poor family holiday or a bad meal in a local restaurant. And candidates look. They research what previous and current employees think of your organisation and how it is to work there. Ending up with a poor rating is another battle you don’t need, when, along with your competitors you’re all vying for the same talented people. Don’t give them a reason to leave a poor review.
A strong careers page on both your website and social media sites, filled with images or videos of smiling employees talking about their work life, showcasing all the benefits of working with you and detailing the career development you provide will show that your employees are valued and recognised and will drive the right people to your door (just make sure you walk the talk!)
3. Define the job role and the person
Take the time to write clear, concise and accurate job descriptions, which will inform job adverts and attract the right candidates. These should not be lengthy and wordy and full of vague objectives. They should give an honest and clear description of exactly what the job will entail, of the expectations and duties. It should do what it says on the tin…. describe the job. Going one step further and thinking about what qualities and skills are important will inform the person specification and using both to recruit against will align candidates to your culture.
The old desperado recruitment method of “Two arms, two legs and a heartbeat” will get you right back in the performance management cycle/costly mire we discussed earlier. Taking time to attract candidates that are aligned to your culture will result in a happier more productive team and higher retention.
Think about where your ideal candidates are likely to hang out and focus your recruitment efforts in those places. Just remember the importance of diversity and whilst defining the people you are looking for will shape where you look, hiring a diverse range of people and backgrounds, who share your values is what creates a well- rounded team.
Don’t overlook your current team. Great people know great people and referral schemes are crucial to attract new talent. Research shows candidates recruited by referral are of a higher quality and more likely to stay.
Consider other avenues for recruitment – forge strong bonds and regular communication with local schools, colleges and universities, offer apprenticeships. There are many organisations that help ex Forces personnel to get new careers. At Timpson’s (the multinational retailer) approximately 10% of the workforce is made up of people with criminal convictions. They don’t judge people on what they have done in the past, preferring instead to focus on what they can do in the future. Think innovation and involve your team in brainstorming new roads to finding great people.
Stand out above the rest. Shout about how great it is to work in your business and make sure the employee experience lives up to that. The hospitality sector is huge, we’ve taken a big hit – be the one to drop a rock in a pond, not a pebble in the sea, make some noise about how fab your workplace is.
Focusing on developing a strong management team will create managers able to train and upskill less experienced people, opening up your options to a wider pool of candidates, who with a bit of nurturing can become your stars of tomorrow.
The climate coupled with the changing needs of a new generation of employees has necessitated the need to step up as far as recruitment is concerned. For so long we’ve had a skills shortage. Lots of hospitality organisations fishing from the same pool of talented people. With the double whammy of both Brexit and a global pandemic there are far fewer great candidates to choose from.
The focus is not what they can do for you, but what you can do for them. What can you offer them? Why should they work for you? What makes you different? What’s your USP? Always think WIIFT (What’s in it for them?) All these things create the “Employee Value Proposition.”
One of the most important things as far is recruitment is concerned is recruiting for attitude. It’s far more important to recruit someone that matches your values than has donkey’s years of experience and a wall of certificates. You can train the skills – you can’t train a personality.