As the latest vacancy figures from Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the hospitality sector facing its worst-ever recruitment crisis, employers will need to pay closer attention to the expectations and aspirations of employees, warns workforce management specialist Bizimply.
The new ONS vacancy figures, published on 16 November show that the UK had a record 1.17m job vacancies in the three months to October. The number of vacancies has increased across all industries, with the accommodation and food service activities, which includes the hospitality sector, recording the second highest number of vacancies, at 151,000. Only the healthcare sector has more jobs to fill in the current market.
Despite this, a survey of hospitality employers for a recent report, produced by Bizimply and consultancy Hospitality Mavericks, found that one in five businesses are taking no steps to recruit and retain team members.
The report, called From Fragile to Agile: How to Navigate the New Era of Hospitality, also identified a shortfall in investment in systems, such as scheduling tools, that can help to improve employees’ experience and job satisfaction, as well as freeing up staff to deliver great customer service.
Conor Shaw, CEO of Bizimply, said: “The ONS figures are a stark indicator of the challenges that hospitality operators are facing. Not only are most businesses running with vacancies, but experienced hospitality staff are being courted by other employers. People want to feel valued, and will move on quickly if they don’t.
“The reality is that those operators who have previously seen staff as a commodity to be replaced whenever necessary, rather than an asset to be retained and invested in, will have to adopt a different approach.
“That doesn’t just mean salary, although the UK government has made it clear that hospitality employers are expected to meet the upward pressure on wages. It also means investing in training and career development, and understanding that part time staff, such as students and single parents, have commitments other than work.”
The report surveyed senior operators representing hundreds of outlets, employing thousands of staff, with responses from across the hospitality sector, from fine dining and hotels to pubs and bars, coffee shops and fast-food outlets.
It found that, in response to the staffing shortage:
· 21% of respondents are taking no additional steps to recruit new employees or retain existing team members.
· 32% are increasing their training and development
· 21% are increasing pay and 10% improving staff benefits.
· 11% percent are looking to change working patterns, such as offering four-day weeks.
Shaw said: ”These figures show that fewer than half of employers are taking any steps at all to address working conditions. Our report also found that only 34% of employers recognise that implementing new technology can improve employees’ experience and job satisfaction.
“Of course, hospitality businesses face challenges other than staffing, such as property costs, compliance and rising supply side inflation, but ultimately it’s people that give a business the edge over the competition. Technology that frees up front-line staff to deliver great customer service, is key.”
Bizimply’s software is designed to help hospitality businesses reduce time spent on staff rosters and payroll and free up front-line staff, particularly GMs. They are then able to spend less time on admin and more time front of house, coaching staff members, interacting with customers and delivering a memorable experience that leads to happy, returning guests and motivated teams.
Bizimply estimates GMs can spend up to six hours a week creating a staff rota using Excel or similar. Equipping them with the right software to produce rotas and payroll quickly gives this time back. One operator using Bizimply software is now creating rotas for 60 team members, across five sites, in just one hour a week.