Unattractive hours. Low salaries. Misplaced promotions, or a complete lack of career progression. With all of these complaints commonly being raised among hospitality staff, there’s no wonder the hospitality industry is notorious for its low retention rate, sitting at 70% against the national average of 85%. However, not all is lost. With some adjustment, many of these issues can be negated during the initial recruitment process, giving hospitality businesses the best chance of hiring for the long term. Here are six thing to consider when looking to hire staff.
1 Know what you’re looking for
It’s essential you outline exactly what you’re looking for before starting the recruitment process. You may recognise that you need staff, but what do you actually need them to do? If it’s a host or concierge position, do you need them to greet and farewell guests, or is there an element of reservations involved? If it’s a chef, what level do you require? Defining the exact requirements of the role before starting your search will allow you to find – and keep – talent that best fits the brief.
2 Define your culture
Just like any other type of business, the hospitality industry is vast, with a wide range of working cultures. The working style and team of a café will vary from a hotel or bar so it’s important to define what it looks like before hiring. Is your business a ‘work-hard-play-hard’ environment? Do you value discretion and formality, or prefer your staff to chat to customers informally? Qualifying this will mean you can communicate your company culture clearly to any candidates, managing their expectations from the outset.
3 Sell the role
A job ad is often the first interaction a candidate will have with your business, so it’s essential you include all the right elements to really sell the position. Try and be as descriptive as possible, covering all responsibilities and expectations, to ensure there’s no confusion about the role. It’s also worth including information about the company, the team they’ll be joining and the benefits you offer. It’s at this point that you’ll need to be very clear about the salary and hours. If there is potential for movement, communicate this from the outset, so candidates are prepared for this eventuality. For example, if there’s an opportunity for a pay rise within six months, or a chance that hours may vary at a certain time of the year (like the lead-up to Christmas), note it in the job advert.
4 Get specific
When recruiting, it’s important to be specific about the skills, experience and personality fit you are looking for. While it may be tempting to cast a wide net, interviewing candidates that don’t fit your brief, or who are looking for something different to what you really need, isn’t going make a good match. This doesn’t mean that you should narrow your search on experience – instead, look for softer skills such as customer-centric service, resilience, emotional intelligence and an ability to work under pressure.
5 Communicate career progression opportunities
One of the main reasons that hospitality candidates look to leave their current role is a perceived lack of career progression. In order to hold onto your top talent, it’s important you create, and then communicate, the potential pathways within your business. For example, if a candidate joins you in a waiting staff position, ensure they understand the proficiencies they need to demonstrate to join the front of house team, or progress to the bar team. Be clear about training opportunities and foster a culture of learning. After all, if your employees are looking to progress, providing every chance for them to do so will mean they stick around.
6 Review your employee experience
Some of the best ambassadors for your business are your current staff, so make sure you are doing everything you can to engage with them. Are you looking after their wellbeing, with reasonable time between shifts? Are your salaries consistent with the market? Are you offering the right level of benefits? Are you providing opportunities for feedback and development? Reviewing and if necessary, adjusting, your employee value proposition will help to bolster both attraction and retention, improving your chances of long-term hires.
Natalie Reason is the head of Tiger Hospitality, a hospitality recruitment agency that specialises in permanent and temporary hospitality recruitment.