How to find the best talent for your hospitality business

- July 27, 2023 3 MIN READ

Talent shortages were most acute in the hospitality industry throughout the pandemic, with former staff pivoting to other careers and international worker numbers dropping. But with borders opening, a new jobs index indicates that the casual labour crunch crippling Australian businesses is largely over, writes Thomas Amos, CEO and co-founder, of Sidekicker.

For businesses, this means it’s time to focus on attracting the best talent rather than just filling headcount.

9 ways to find the best talent for your hospitality business

  1. Advertise to the right crowd

It’s better to be honest about the position and what it will entail than play down responsibilities and hire someone who isn’t what you’re after. Having fewer, more committed candidates is better than a wide array of potential workers who aren’t cut out for the job. One way to do this is to have a clear and concise job description, which will reduce any confusion that potential applicants may have.

  1. Collaborate with educational institutions

Partnerships with hospitality colleges and universities can help you tap into emerging talent and find people who already have some experience and interest in the sector. Holding recruitment events and even establishing internships are good ways to acquire talent.

  1. Offer professional development 

Not all hospitality job applicants are casual or seasonal workers, but for those who start that way, many become interested in a permanent occupation in the industry. Offering training and taking a longer-term view helps attract and retain the best people. Highlight career growth opportunities and career paths. Upskilling employees, even if they don’t stay, still benefits your business while they do work for you.

  1. Use referrals and references

No one knows your workplace better than your current employees, so why not listen to them? Encourage employees to refer friends and contacts who might be a good fit. According to Jobvite, a recruitment platform provider, the cost-per-hire is lower than other recruitment methods, and referred employees are 18% more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and 40% more likely to be retained after one year than non-referral hires, as cited by ERIN, an employee referral software platform.

The Four Seasons hotel

The Four Seasons shares staff achievements on social.

  1. Focus on your brand

Customer experience is critical for hospitality, so you need staff who understand your brand and culture. Your staff’s attitude is a direct reflection of your business. To attract people with similar values and passion, advertise accordingly to make clear what your brand stands for, what sets it apart and what traits will help staff succeed. For example, Four Seasons Hotel highlights The Faces of Four Seasons on its social media platforms, recognising specific employees in different global locations.

Glassdoor survey also demonstrated that 56% of workers prioritised workplace culture over salary, while Deloitte research found that purpose-driven companies had 40% higher levels of workforce retention than competitors.

  1. Keep recruitment fast

In an industry with such a rapid turnaround, the right employee will likely be in high demand. If another job comes up for them, they could be gone before you get a chance to interview them. Keeping reply times fast means you’re less likely to miss your ideal hire. Stay in contact and try to set up interviews quickly to avoid losing out.

  1. Build community

Ensuring your workers feel cared for is essential to job satisfaction, particularly in a high-stress environment like hospitality. If your business has a reputation for taking care of your own, you’re more likely to find success in getting new workers on board and retaining them. Hospitality is a volatile industry, so creating stability for your employees is essential to attracting new workers and ensuring high productivity.

  1. Use specialist recruiters

Staffing agencies specialising in hospitality will have large pools of pre-screened, experienced staff who are ready to go. They can also handle the admin side, speeding up recruitment and onboarding.

  1. Encourage diversity

Diversity is hugely important for hospitality staff, who will be dealing with diverse customers. Staff members with other languages or cultural backgrounds and understanding can improve customer service. Hilton Hotels embraced video to make it easier to interview a wider range of candidates, removing barriers, such as transport costs or meetings in stressful environments.

Even though getting the best people will be a competitive challenge, with Australia’s tourism and hospitality industry revving up again and job levels recovering to pre-pandemic levels, getting them quickly is critical for businesses today.

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