Your people are your best asset, so how can you keep them longer?
The UK hospitality sector is at a crossroads. As businesses reopen, even more restrictions ease and customers fly through the door in search of for the hospitality experience that you just can’t replicate at home, many hospitality operators are having difficulty attracting and retaining their most important asset – their people.
But beyond the initial challenge of staffing shifts and making sure there are enough people to serve your customers again, the game has changed to keep the quality staff you already have.
There are enormous business benefits to retaining and upskilling your current staff, including the alarming statistic that it can cost the equivalent of six to nine months’ salary to hire new talent. Keeping good staff longer – and encouraging career development and progression – not only saves you time and money, it helps create an even better hospitality experience for your guests.
So how do hospitality operators stand out as a good employer? Here are three quick tips to create an outstanding employee experience for your hospitality staff.
1. Embrace flexibility to boost employee engagement
As a manager or hospitality operator, no doubt you’ve read a lot of articles about work-life balance, but there’s more than a buzzword to making sure your people have the time they need away from work too.
Using digital tools to facilitate seamless communication, handovers between shifts and planning means people have predictability around when they are needed to work, so are more focused and ready to engage when they are there.
In order to capitalise on the enthusiasm from consumers who simply cannot replicate the food, the coffee or the cocktail at home (believe it, many tried at home during lockdown!) – ensuring that people have the right information at the right time can make an enormous difference to your business’ bottom-line. Although customers are coming back, recent data reported in Bloomberg shows consumers in the UK are spending 30% less on hospitality than they were pre-pandemic.
The challenge, then, is to stand out in the market and be the recipient of consumers’ spending which is now more discerning. Using digital tools to convey the right information in a timely manner to your employees – on everything from menu changes to new guidelines as restrictions ease – means your specialists chefs, bartenders, servers and baristas can focus on creating the outstanding experience your business needs to right now.
2. Tap into consumers’ support
At the same time, it is now a far more challenging market to hire in than it was pre-pandemic. Fewer people are coming back to work in the sector and the game has changed. And although this presents an immediate challenge for all hospitality operators, there is a way to tap into consumers’ enthusiasm, reward your staff and stand out from the crowd.
A recent survey found consumers are now 13% more likely to leave a tip than they were pre-COVID. Although factors such as the quality of service and meal/drink prices rate, most consumers want to show their support for the restaurant and hospitality sector – and in particular independent businesses – as their means of supporting the industry and the people who work in it. And in some regions, such as Sheffield and Birmingham, consumers are even more likely to leave a little extra.
It’s important to note, however, that the adaptation of critical tools is key in taking advantage of consumer support. Most consumers are looking to leave a tip through an app or digital tools, with its speed and the elimination of awkwardness the main reasons people would rather leave a gratuity.
3. Ease staff back in after time out
Finally, it’s important to remember that if your staff have been out of the loop for a while on furlough, expecting them to return good as new and ready to take on new business challenges may be unrealistic.
It may take a while for furloughed staff to get back into the swing of things and adapt to how your business has changed over the past year or so. It’s best to ease staff back into the workplace through a phased approach, where possible, to avoid overwhelming them.
Many UK businesses – especially those in hospitality – spent a lot of time closed during the past 18 months. As consumers return to hospitality venues and the all-important tourism sector roars back to life, some staff will return to vastly-different workplaces than before. Making sure your business conducts relevant retraining is a vital investment in making sure your people are set for a successful
Ensure you put time aside for dialogue and close interaction to understand what people need to do their best work when they return.
Your people are your best asset
The experience economy – whether it’s an outstanding restaurant, a cool bar, charming pub or amazing hotel experience – is something that just can’t be replicated at home. It’s no wonder people are so keen to eat and drink out again, because the people and the experiences you get from the UK’s hospitality industry stand out so much.
Investing in the people who make that possible will prove to be one of the best decisions any UK hospitality operator or manager can make.
Want an insider’s tips to digital transformation?
Want to hear more about how you can leverage digital tools to stand out from the competition and keep your best staff longer? Join the conversation at Restaurant & Bar Tech Live where Donna Torres, UK Sales & Partnership Director, will share an insider’s tips to digital transformation.
Day 1, 9 November, at 13.15-13:45 in Theatre 9, ExCel London.