How to attract and retain employees in hospitality

Employees at  GerardsDeli

Here’s our guide to attracting employees to join your hospitality business, and how to engage and retain them.

The hospitality industry in Ireland is reopening and welcoming back guests. Both outdoor and indoor drinking and dining is now permitted, with new legislation, which was fully implemented in July, allowing individuals who can prove they have been fully vaccinated to eat and drink at indoor venues. However, many hospitality businesses are discovering difficulties in attracting and retaining employees as many prefer the reliability of the [PUP payments[( (Pandemic Unemployment Payment). Here’s our guide to attracting employees to join your hospitality business, and how to engage and retain them.

How to attract employees back to hospitality

The first step to attracting new employees to hospitality roles is to increase visibility of job vacancies. As a small business owner, your budget for advertising may be limited. However, there are a myriad of ways to entice new employees that are inexpensive or even free.
Social media is a useful tool for spreading the word about exciting new opportunities and posting on social media networks is free.
Advertising upcoming roles in-house ensures that the people who already love the brand are those most likely to see what’s available.
Local press and job boards will often charge minimal fees for advertising job vacancies and can help spread the word further.
Job advertisements should start with a short, snappy headline to engage potential new recruits. Include a brief job title and one or two descriptors of benefits, such as “flexible working schedule” to hook the reader.

Take referrals

Employee referrals are one of the most effective ways in which to not only attract new employees, but to attract the right new employees.
A survey from Jobvite found that employee referrals have a significantly higher rate of applicant to hire conversion, accounting for 40% of all hires. Referral hires have stronger rates of retention, with an average of 47% staying for three years. In a time of hospitality staff shortages, higher retention rates are essential.
People referred by current employees are more likely to understand the role they are applying for and be invested in the brand from the start. Starting an incentive programme can help you recruit the best talent from a wide pool of candidates.

Showcase your business

Social media is useful not only for sharing job posts but also for showcasing the business and increasing interest across a wide and diverse audience.
Alongside traditional job advertisements, you can use social media to demonstrate to potential new employees why they might want to work for you. Photographs and videos showing employees having fun, offering a glimpse behind the scenes and detailing any benefits or programmes they could join all help to showcase company culture in a positive light – and can be seen as a benefit for potential customers too, who want to know the business they choose to go to treat employees well.
Case studies can also be shared on social media, looking at employee success stories from recent years and how the business has helped them grow and develop.

Offer worthwhile perks

Employee satisfaction is key to retaining good employees and reducing staff turnover. One way you can help increase employee engagement and satisfaction is to include worthwhile perks as part of the incentive package.
Only 34% of the Irish workforce currently feel satisfied with their rewards package, according to research from Aon so it’s worth getting right.
Incentives can be just as important as salary when people are seeking new employment. Including perks such as staff discounts, free meals on shift, flexible working hours and paid time for training and development can all help with employee attraction and retention.

How to motivate and retain your employees

Champion their safety

Returning to work after lockdown can be a nerve-wracking time for many. As a small business owner and employer, you can help attract staff and reassure your team by championing their safety in the workplace.

Hospitality already has plenty of rules for health, hygiene and safety in the workplace, so experienced employees are used to following cleaning schedules and other protocol. As businesses slowly begin to reopen after lockdown, it is vital that all employees are reassured their safety is paramount.

Measures to protect staff during COVID-19 may include enhanced cleaning schedules, reduced capacity to adhere to social distancing and paid time off for employees that are told they must self-isolate.

Ensure a great induction

The induction is the first real impression a new employee gets of how it will be to work for the company. Creating a good induction experience sets the standard for the rest of their employment. A great induction emphasises brand culture and values and creates opportunities for new employees to come on board.

The initial induction doesn’t have to involve in-depth training. It is more about welcoming new recruits and generating an inclusive environment so they feel like part of the team from day one. Induction perks could include a branded gift bag or an invitation to the next staff social – anything that helps make people feel engaged and involved with the business and their co-workers.

The human touch

Multiple studies have shown that employees report better motivation and job satisfaction when they are happier at work. This happiness often comes from having an empathetic boss who takes the time to get to know staff on a personal level.

As a small business owner, you have a responsibility to ensure each member of your team feels valued and appreciated. This comes from taking the time to talk to each employee and get to know them, not just in terms of their profession but also their personal life.
The best employers are those that understand the unique circumstances of each of their employees and use that knowledge to proactively address issues and concerns as they arise.

Be flexible

As a hospitality manager, organising rotas may be one of the hardest parts of the job. However, being able to offer flexible hours for people working around childcare or other commitments can be one of the most enticing perks for new employees. Even before the pandemic, studies were showing the benefits of flexible working for both employees and employers, including increased engagement and job satisfaction.
Square Team Management software allows you to manage shift patterns, employee requests, schedule adjustments and more through your point-of-sale. This facilitates flexible working that can be managed from anywhere.

Celebrate and reward

Employees who feel appreciated are often more engaged, so planning and actioning ways to say thank you can have a big impact on retention.
Encouraging simple thank yous from one team member to another, to team social activities and employee of the month awards – these simple acts of recognition can create an inclusive work culture that people will want to remain a part of for longer.

Help people to develop

Training and development is a long-term investment that can have multiple benefits for both employers and employees. By helping people to develop, you can boost motivation and job satisfaction across the board too.

Making time for training and development, not only for new starters but for those wanting to progress in their careers, can be a great way to help retain staff for longer. When people feel they have opportunities ahead of them within the company they are more likely to want to stay.

Implementing personalised development plans that work alongside individual employee goals in both the short-term and the long-term can help you solidify a reputation as one of the best small businesses to work for.

There are challenges to the reopening of hospitality businesses, however, there’s also an opportunity to showcase your culture and implement new systems that make your company a great place to work. In the short-term, offering perks can attract new recruits. In the long-term, understanding what your employees need can reduce staff turnover, create a positive work environment and help your small business be more and more successful.