From flexible payment, training and scheduling to highlighting long term career opportunities, the hospitality industry has an opportunity to close the skills gap says Hastee Pay’s Sharon Dickinson
Hospitality is one of the most overlooked sectors when it comes to choosing a career path. The cold hard fact of the matter is that people just don’t acknowledge the abundance of rewarding careers to be pursued in this sector.
As such, hospitality jobs are generally seen as stop gaps for people travelling on career trajectories outside of the sector, whether moving between jobs in other sectors or seeking part time work and seasonal positions while studying towards careers that are deemed more desirable.
This is made evident by research from The Caterer which revealed that over half of temporary workers in the industry don’t see hospitality as an appealing full-time career. Yet as we head into the festive season businesses in the industry will be reliant on these very workers to be able to cope with the increased demand.
Assembling a skilled and dependable seasonal workforce requires hospitality businesses to think more creatively, but this must extend beyond the recruitment drive. While some players in the industry have invested in viral recruitment ads and alluring incentives for existing workers to refer friends, businesses must think more creatively about how they can increase the appeal of the work itself.
It’s no secret the sector is stuck in a sizeable skills gap which is set to keep growing. If hospitality businesses can improve the worker experience by increasing flexibility in key job factors such as training, pay days and shift scheduling, they might also change the mindsets of those seasonal workers. Beyond attracting the best seasonal workers, hospitality business might just inspire them to commit to sustained careers in hospitality thereby closing that cavernous skills gap.
Train to retain
Training every new worker to work to the high standards that your customers and clients expect is a constant challenge for hospitality businesses dealing with high staff turnover and ever-changing compliance and legislation.
Cloud-based e-learning solutions provide a new level of flexibility when it comes to delivering this training, enabling workers to access learning materials and complete training activities online as and when it suits them. This removes the monotony typically associated with first shifts where exhaustive training generally takes place and allows new starters to hit the ground running.
Workers can be instructed to complete the online training before their first shift, saving the business time and enabling new starters to get on with the job. As requirements change and new training is required, it can be quickly and effectively rolled out and easily digested through engaging online activities.
The freedom of flexibility
Beyond making training more flexible, the challenge of recruiting and retaining hospitality workers can be eased by bringing flexibility into other areas including receiving pay and scheduling shifts. While it may sound like a tall order, there are already technologies readily available that make this possible.
By empowering workers to access their earned pay immediately via a smartphone app, businesses can increase their appeal and workplace productivity by actively reducing financial stress and increasing wellbeing at no cost to the employer. In this on-demand age, it makes little sense to expect workers to wait for cyclical pay days.
When it comes to scheduling shifts, automated scheduling software can remove the pain points associated with manually building rotas and liaising with every individual to confirm shifts. By applying rules that align shifts to the complex scheduling requirements of a workforce of seasonal and permanent workers, the system can autonomously set working schedules, notify workers with push notifications and facilitate any scheduling amendments requested by workers.
By creating a greater synchronicity between personal schedules and working schedules, businesses can increase their appeal to those seeking seasonal work. In the longer term, hospitality businesses could find seasonal workers transitioning into permanent positions.
Highlight progression opportunities
More can be done from an HR perspective to change the perception of hospitality roles as stop gap jobs. By identifying mentors within the business, employers can highlight the feasibility of a low paid seasonal worker rising through the ranks to a senior position.
The industry needs to be doing more to illustrate the opportunities available in hospitality and individual businesses can begin by identifying and sharing success stories within their own workforces. Managers should also be encouraged to provide regular reviews where they can provide constructive feedback and discuss the possibilities of a sustained career within the company. This may seem like a lot of effort to go to with a temporary worker, but the benefit of potentially recruiting current talent into a permanent role far outweighs the time sacrifice.
Highlighting progression opportunities and providing flexibility in training, payment of wages and scheduling could help the hospitality industry to pull its way out of the growing skills gap. Not only will these benefits help businesses attract the best seasonal workers, they will help to retain workers in the longer term.