Last year's referendum on the UK's membership in the EU had a significant impact on the service sector. Here are seven things the hospitality sector can do to dodge a staffing crisis.
This is a blog post by Dakota Murphey.
Brexit will cause a shortage of at least 60,000 hospitality workers per year. These are the findings of a survey carried out by workforce collaboration software company Planday, in which hundreds of hospitality professionals took part.
Doom and gloom over staffing levels in the hospitality sector prevail. Recent news reports that UK businesses are struggling to fill vacancies as a direct result of a drop in new EU workers. According to a report released by The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD,) on the impact of Brexit on workforce trends, 56 percent of employers surveyed reported that they were having difficulty filling vacancies in their organization.
With unemployment at a 42-year low, recruitment is proving a significant problem for businesses who have traditionally relied on workers from the EU, such as the farming sector and the hospitality industry. The hospitality industry is the 4th largest industry in the UK and its success (or failure) has significant implications for the UK economy as a whole.
Recruitment needs to work better in the industry. Businesses in the hospitality sector (bars, restaurants, hotels etc.) need to implement innovative policies in order to attract and retain staff. A change of approach to recruitment is essential if the hospitality sector is to future-proof itself and avoid a staffing disaster.
Here are 7 things the hospitality sector should be doing now to swerve a staffing crisis.
- Hire more staff from the UK
The Hospitality and Catering News reported earlier this year that key bodies in the hospitality industry have united to urge businesses to make the recruitment and development of British workers a priority.
Earlier this year, the Hospitality Works initiative launched a month-long campaign in collaboration with Springboard and the Department for Work and Pensions to increase the number of work placements in the hospitality industry. The initiative achieved 8,500 work placements in total.
- Ensure staff see the industry as a viable career path
Education is essential for the future of the hospitality industry. It is imperative that the industry ensures young people entering the world of work see hospitality as a viable career option. While the government has plans to introduce a new T-Level vocational training course for those wishing to embark on a career in hospitality, the British Hospitality Association is warning that the qualification, which will not be introduced until 2022, will come too late to avert a Brexit staff crisis.
Nevertheless, businesses in the sector should be doing more to encourage career progression and get the word out that the hospitality industry has a culture of opportunity with people starting at the bottom and working their way up the ladder.
- Build a positive culture
It’s no surprise to learn that a good company culture helps with staff retention. If you can get culture within business right, people want to work for you. Getting culture right isn’t as easy as it sounds. Culture isn’t things.
As well as perks and comfort, a positive culture nurtures attitudes, feelings, and relationships. How employees feel about the business they work for can have a significant impact on its success.
There’s strong evidence to support the idea that employees aren’t just interested in salaries. Just as customers want a great experience, employees do too, especially Millennials. As Millennials are predicted to rule the workforce by 2020, businesses must adapt their culture to attract the best staff. Get it right and your employees will go the extra mile for you and that counts for a lot in a customer-focused environment.
- Build a brand
Just as customers recognize the quality of an establishment in the hospitality industry, so do employees. A welcoming, clean, customer-focused hotel, restaurant or bar has more chance of attracting staff because candidates are like consumers. A positive brand with a good reputation is attractive to potential employees.
- Improve employee engagement
Part of building a positive culture is to improve employee engagement. An inclusive workplace and helping employees to feel engaged is vital for success. Demoralised staff are bad for business. If morale in your business plummets, then it’s highly likely your profits will too. Disengaged employees equate to a high turnover rate.
In a customer-facing environment, employee engagement is even more important. Why? In a customer service-driven business your employees are your brand ambassadors. Happy employees equate to happy customers. To keep employees engaged businesses need to offer training, support, and opportunities. Employ coaches not managers to ensure your staff can succeed.
To improve employee engagement in a hospitality setting:
- Make work fun
- Help your employees when they have to deal with difficult customers
- Ensure adequate training to grow confidence
- Share success
- Reward exceptional work
- Organise regular team events
- Provide the right technology for staff to deliver the best service possible
With the uncertainty of Brexit and the potential loss of access to EU workers, the hospitality industry needs to adapt. Building positive cultures and creating businesses where staff want to work is the first step. Encouraging the next generation to choose a career in hospitality comes close behind.
Staff experience is a crucial part of the journey to make the hospitality industry an attractive sector to work in. Enabling employees to work in harmony and to exceed customer expectations plays a big part in creating team spirit. Investing in hotel management technology, such as ALICE, improves communications with staff, as well as with customers.
Dakota Murphey is a Brighton based writer with many years' experience working for various local companies and SMEs. Having specialized in business behaviors and the implementation of new practices / technologies, Dakota now focuses more on her work as an author - and writes for a number of print and online publications.