According to the UK government, the hospitality industry is the fourth largest employer in the country with 3.2 million permanent jobs and a further 1.4 million made up of temporary, contract or agency roles. It’s likely that a large percentage of the 23,000 temp jobs that are advertised annually over the holiday season are from the hospitality sector. Restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars regularly experience seasonal booms such as Christmas and New Year when swathes of people are off work and in the mood to travel and spend. Busy shopping periods like Black Friday can also lead to an influx of customers due to the increased footfall on the high street. Recruiting seasonal workers is essential for these businesses to meet that increased demand, but many of them aren’t utilising using temporary recruitment to its fullest potential, often leading to stress and disorganisation.
Really, successful seasonal recruitment comes down to three key things. The first is communication, making sure your new recruits have all the information they need to hit the ground running. The second is integration, ensuring that they have the tools and relationships they need to perform in their role. The third is employee wellbeing, something that is sadly often overlooked when it comes to seasonal or temporary staff. Getting these three things right will ensure that your hotel, restaurant, cafe or bar continues to run like clockwork during some of the busiest trading periods of the year.
1 Communicate your brand values in advance
It helps if they’re polite and well presented, but you can’t expect seasonal staff to know the policies, values or culture associated with your brand if they’re not communicated. That’s where multimedia cloud-based HR tools that incorporate social and video can really shine, giving temp employees access to the people and information they need before they even arrive for their first shift. Structured learning tools can be tailored to help new recruits learn policies and procedures before they begin work, allowing them to integrate faster and support your permanent team. Imagine a quick questionnaire or online course which could teach candidates about your menu, opening times, customer policies and hygiene standards - the time saved during those busy periods will prove invaluable, and your temporary staff will have far more confidence as a result.
2 Make seasonal staff part of the team
Sad as it is, it’s quite common for hospitality businesses to pay little mind to temporary staff. It’s a huge failing which can lead to lots of problems. While seasonal staff may only be members of your team for a few weeks at a time, they still represent your brand and are the face of your business to many customers. Hospitality onboarding processes are already notoriously short, and with the added pressure of busy periods like Christmas, it can be almost non-existent. Throw in the fact that staff teams in hospitality can be very tight knit, and it’s easy to see how a temporary member of staff could feel isolated or left out. This is where networking can really shine. With dedicated social networks and forums, you can create a space where temps can easily connect and engage with permanent staff. By including temp staff in forums, announcements, social events and giving them direct access to supervisors and team leaders, they’ll feel right at home from the start. In order to make seasonal recruitment seamless without compromising your brand or your reputation for excellent service, the onboarding process needs to be fast, thorough and effective.
3 Monitor performance and wellbeing
During peak periods in hospitality, the level of service can make or break a business. If your seasonal recruits don’t feel valued or they aren’t properly equipped with the tools they need to perform well in their role, they’re more likely to falter and make mistakes. Making sure staff are motivated, happy and have everything they need will lead to better service levels and ultimately higher profits. To achieve this, a business might decide to utilise digital assistant technology, allowing staff to clock in and out seamlessly, get daily briefings and updates direct to their mobile phones, as well arrange and organise their shifts. To support employee wellbeing, regular performance check-ins can also be implemented within business to offer a culture of openness and honesty, and to ensure that the working relationship is a mutually beneficial one. While it’s important to ensure the wellbeing of temporary staff during their time with you, it’s also no secret that their biggest motivator is likely to be their pay. A streamlined HR platform and a carefully orchestrated onboarding process should also ensure that temp staff aren’t waiting too long for their first payment.
Mark Williams is senior VP of product at People First