COVID 19 Staff shortages – Do you need to update your recruitment and training to cope?
By Allyson Maxwell, Marketing Coordinator and Annie Walsh, HR Consultant
21st July, 2021
In an industry which has seen critical staff shortages over the past 18 months, many hospitality venues are struggling to recruit experienced people to fill the gaps in their teams. Could it be the time to look at new approaches to hospitality recruitment and training in the face of COVID 19 staff shortages?
With the COVID 19 pandemic international and domestic border closures, the hospitality industry has seen a critical shortage in staff, in part because of the lack of experienced hospitality staff from overseas. Regional areas of Australia are suffering because of smaller populations and less training opportunities than the metro centres. A new approach to recruitment is catching on in the regions, and managers are looking beyond the black & white experience and qualifications on a CV to fulfil their staffing needs. They are focusing on personality, adaptability and resilience, the ability to engage a customer, and a sense of humour, and they’re using the interview process to do it. One Restaurant Manager we spoke to said that she interviewed anyone who applied for a position regardless of experience and hired if the applicant could demonstrate the previous qualities in the interview process. It proved to be a successful gambit for her restaurant which saw an increased retention rate of staff, a result she attributes to a focus on inhouse training and development and team culture once the new employee had been brought onboard.
EWS’s HR consultant, Annie Walsh agrees that a potential employee with some customer service experience in another industry is a smart choice to make when recruiting. “With the constantly changing dynamics of the hospitality industry, it is imperative that HR responds to that change and the way we engage employees needs to be relative to what is currently happening. Previously we may have had the luxury of time, but when a great candidate comes along now that may not have all the prerequisite experience, our strategy is to act swiftly to move the process along to ensure we don’t lose the candidate. We continually engage with them so they know we are serious about them joining our team and once on board, they participate in our inhouse training program with experienced staff so they have the support they need during their training shifts and the early stages of their employment. The relationship is turning and HR departments need to sell the organisation to the candidate just as much as the candidate needs to sell themselves to the organisation.”
The development of a positive and enthusiastic workplace and team culture is also beneficial to staff retention rates. Hospitality patrons in Australia want a less formal and more friendly, knowledgeable, and no fuss service environment. A workplace culture that embraces an inclusive, people focussed environment where staff feel valued and supported with empathetic management and relevant training and development opportunities can not only improve your staff retention rates, but also increase your profitability by creating an environment where the customer and the staff are both enjoying the service experience.
While it may be a tough time for hospitality right now, these challenges we’re facing have given us a fantastic opportunity to modernise our recruitment & training processes and introduce a new generation to our industry. Managers can use their industry knowledge and experience to develop and implement training policies and procedures give their employees the confidence to sell their product and brand, and employees can succeed in the industry, knowing that they are supported and valued, leading to higher staff retention rates.
Contact us at Effective Workplace Solutions for advice on recruitment and training for your employees.