In the hospitality sector we are not required to see the results of a deal or no deal Brexit to feel its impact, Bob Cotton, OBE explains…
Over the past 18 months there have been substantial changes taking place in the labour market. With almost full employment, skill shortages, and fewer people coming to work in the UK from overseas, rates of pay, replacement costs and overall wages are rising much faster than general inflation. Even when able to recruit from Europe, people are staying for much shorter periods, adding to staff turnover, training costs, and lower levels of productivity.
To address these challenges, there are several courses of action, not least a focus on staff retention, local recruitment, and ensuring staff receive appropriate training.
A key area I implore all businesses to take up is apprenticeship training. The current rules can be financially beneficial and there are several specialist companies who can assist medium and smaller sized businesses.
However, there are changes that could be made to the rules to improve uptake. The current numbers are substantially down on previous years, a sad result considering the state of the labour market.
Focus apprenticeships on craft positions; at least 75% of all training costs related to government schemes should be for craft only positions.
Reduce the costs for small businesses; over 80% of the sector are small units. Incentivise them by a reduction in their National Insurance.
Encourage local recruitment into schemes from schools and improve careers advice in schools by making it part of the OFSTED inspection processes.
Improve the funding of craft type training in colleges. We need those with practical experience, not just the theory, and this requires enhanced funding.
To run alongside improved apprenticeship training, I would urge all businesses to step up training and investing in their people. Set a target of 1% of payroll costs to be the training budget.
Improved training and raising skill levels is the real key to increasing productivity levels. Give people the skills and proper tools to do the job and you will succeed. While continued capital investment is important, it is the skills of the workforce which provide the customer experience for the business to flourish.
Research commissioned by P&G ProfessionalTM (the away-from-home division of Procter & Gamble), shows 78% of hotel guests believe cleanliness is the most important factor affecting their choice of where to stay*. Investment in professional products like those from P&G Professional, can help improve staff efficiency. Reputable companies will provide training upon installation, directly to the staff that will use the product and equipment. When employees feel invested in, they feel valued and more likely to stay loyal to an organisation. And that leads to better customer experience and repeat business.
Undoubtedly, training takes time, money and commitment from the top, but it is an investment in the future. Above all it is essential to ruling out low levels of productivity and the key to future efficiency.
To coin a phrase, “train your staff so they are able to work anywhere, but above all manage and motivate them, so that they only want to work for you”.
Learn more about P&G Professional and its professional cleaning systems or call 0800 716 854.