Chapter 1 - In the beginning.....
Updated: Dec 18, 2020
My life as an HR & Training Manager in hotels introduced me to so many people from all corners of the world. I loved the variety, I enjoyed learning about different cultures and values, and I relished seeing teams of very different people coming together with a single purpose – to provide excellent service and a quality experience. Finding and attracting great people into hotels and restaurants is a challenge. An even greater challenge is keeping them motivated and retaining them in the business. Not exactly the easiest gig in the world – long hours, fast pace, late nights, early mornings, on your feet, smile firmly painted as your work-life is played out on a stage. Those
of us in it, love it. For me my love didn't end when I moved on from the front line of operations. I couldn't quite leave the industry.....
Hospitality HR is a bit like hospitality operations… never a dull moment. Grappling with vacancies in all departments, looking after our new people and getting them “inducted” and settled. Constantly working hard to ensure the team are motivated and performing well, trained to deliver quality service and products consistently. Working with a diverse team, usually from all 4 corners of the globe, comes with its own challenges in itself. It’s fair to say work ethics often vary from country to country – many a time I was having to try to persuade Polish Jacek to take a day off and that it was neither good for him or sustainable to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week in pot wash in a cramped hot steamy room in the basement with no natural light, even if he had opted out of the 48 hour agreement. I’d like to think those days are gone with the emergence of more work life balance practices and well being strategies, but back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon.
Anyway, I digress. Back to recruitment. Getting it right first time is paramount. Getting it wrong is costly, both in terms of time, productivity and money. Recruitment is never free. In the CIPDs 2020 Resource and Talent Planning Survey, the estimated cost of recruitment per hire is £2000. Many other resources estimate that figure to be considerably higher, up to £16K depending on the role and method of recruitment. Unsuccessful hires take time, money, and energy away from the team and the hotel for months, or even years, if not dealt with. Plus, if you make a hiring mistake, you'll have to go through the recruitment process all over again!
The bit I enjoy most about the recruitment part is the moment the job offer is accepted and I know that we’ve found a diamond. Knowing that our efforts of defining the job duties properly, working with the Head of Department to figure out what skills and experience we needed and crafting informative, enticing yet honest adverts were worth it for this moment. Coaching Heads of Department in successful recruitment strategies normally started with a conversation around two arms, two legs and a heartbeat not being the best way to hire. Being the voice of reason to someone that is ridiculously busy, often short staffed and under immense pressure to maintain consistently good service despite all the challenges of a lack of people demands an empathetic understanding of that pressure. Having been there done that and got the t.shirt as a restaurant manager myself helped me to be the best support I could to them.
I found good people usually know good people. Having a robust employee referral system in place is a great starting point in hospitality recruitment. Utilising all internal avenues, even local avenues. Targeting certain places for certain roles. Housekeeping roles often suit working Mums and Dads, so advertising in schools, surgeries, supermarkets and places they frequent work well. Getting strong links with local colleges is great for finding Chefs and F&B talent as well as beauty therapists and spa assistants at the end of their vocational courses.
Finding strong managers is a challenge, but that’s where a strong employer brand comes in and a good strong social media presence.
Good people want to work in good places, so ensuring the hotel is an employer of choice is key.
Next time we’ll explore life as a new employee and those crucial first days.......
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All Things People