Happy Autumn.

According to the Met Office, there’s still a chance the UK might enjoy an Indian summer.

If the Confederation of British Industry’s forecast for the UK’s current economic climate were equally as optimistic, hospitality employers would genuinely have something to look forward to.

Unfortunately, it isn’t. The CBI is expecting the present staff shortages to last for quite some time.

That’s why, as much as I’d love to move on from this subject, I’m banging the drum about it again. Not just because it’s still the only subject in town, but because it continues to be exceptionally tough out here for everyone in the hospitality sector, and some companies still aren’t getting the message.

If you want to stand out from your competitors by being the best place to work so that you can attract and retain the very best people, this is what you’ve got to do:

Offer a better rate of pay

It’s good to see that a lot of hospitality employers are already doing that. In London, the median hourly wages advertised for hospitality roles across the UK had risen 2.2% on the first quarter by the last week of May, increasing from £9.25 to £9.45 per hour. However, when you consider that the London Living Wage is currently £10.85 per hour, it’s clear there’s still a long way to go.

Paying your staff what they are worth is vitally important. Your staff are your lifeblood. Without them, you wouldn’t have a business. We all work to pay our bills and enjoy our lives. Your team members are no different. So, please, pay your team members the very best rate you can afford. Make your workplace as welcoming for your staff as it is for your customers

What did every business owner in the hospitality industry do when the lockdown ended and we reopened our doors? We went above and beyond to make our venues as safe and inviting as possible so that our customers would be encouraged to leave their COVID comfort zone, step through our door, and spend their money with us.

You have to do precisely the same thing if you want to attract and retain the very best staff. Your workplace culture must be the best it can be; a pleasant, supportive place to work, where your team members will want to stay.

Help your staff enjoy a better work/life balance

The hospitality industry has always been high pressure, but what we’re all experiencing now is pressure on a whole other level. You are, and your team members are. Please do everything you can to show them how aware you are of the stresses they’re facing and understand that they want and need a better work/life balance. Demonstrate gratitude, patience and understanding. Don’t overload them.

Give your staff the right tools

In other words, make sure your staff have everything they need – uniforms, equipment, training, etc. – to do their jobs more quickly, efficiently, and safely.

Pay your staff overtime

Many of our clients are asking their staff to work extra hours… and paying them extra to do it.

Paying overtime when you want your staff to work overtime should always be the norm, not the exception.

The clients who are doing that are the employers people want to work for. Whenever those clients have a vacancy, it’s never an issue placing them with new team members. But they’ll rarely have a vacancy because their staff feel so appreciated, they don’t want to leave.

Give additional holiday entitlement

A few of the hotels we recruit for are moving from the established twenty-day holiday entitlement and now giving their staff twenty-five days per year paid holiday. All the signs we’re seeing are, it is helping them attract better team members.

Offer introduction bonuses

This is a big one because, in our experience, it’s never been seen in the hospitality industry before. Until now, introduction bonuses have mainly been for HGV drivers.

However, a few of our clients are now offering signing-on-fees of up to £1k! You won’t be surprised to hear it’s a strategy that’s working and their vacancies are getting a lot of attention from our candidates. Of course, there are terms attached –the team member typically needs to stay for a minimum period to be eligible for it – but it’s a massive step in the right direction and very encouraging to see.

If you’re a hospitality employer who wants their business not just to survive but also to thrive, pretty much everything I’ve just suggested should be a no-brainer. However, too many employers are still not doing it. For example, a few days ago, someone who doesn’t work in our industry told me about a conversation they’d recently had with the manager of their local coffee shop (it’s a well-known high street chain. I won’t mention the name.) The manager was telling him about all the problems he’s got trying to fill vacancies, and they were precisely for all the reasons we talk about in our blogs: bad pay, unsociable hours, no benefits, the increased workload, and the fact that his employer (the franchise owner) wasn’t making any attempt to understand or alleviate the pressures his staff are facing. In fact, the manager – a young, really switched-on guy who originally started working there as a barista between lockdowns but had proven himself to be so good the owner quickly promoted him to run the store – is now feeling like a scapegoat for all the owner’s hiring problems and is looking for another job himself. So, because the boss is burying his head in the sand and not doing anything to make the situation better, he’s probably soon going to lose his most impressive and committed member of staff too.

If you were in that owner’s position, what would you do?

You already know what our advice, here at Prime, would be!

Don’t forget, whenever your business needs the very best permanent, long-term and short-term staff, we always have the most professional and dedicated staff available. All you have to do is give our friendly, expert recruitment team a call on 020 7580 4398 or email info@primerec.co.uk, and we’ll do the rest.

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