HR in the hospitality sector: Part 2

16 Mar

When it comes to large-scale hiring and training, HR professionals have a range of responsibilities.

The hospitality sector is unlike any other: with long hours year-round, large numbers of staff members and a relatively high turnover rate, it can be difficult for HR departments to keep up with hiring and talent management needs.

This is especially true when it comes to large-scale hirings. When an organization is about to enter the busy season or open a brand-new location, it will require plenty of new team members to ensure everything runs smoothly when patrons flood through the doors. Hiring isn't easy even under the best of circumstances – it requires skill and a lot of patience to find candidates who will not only do the job well, but fit into the company culture and contribute positively. This challenge is magnified when it comes to the mass hiring the hospitality industry does fairly regularly, but it is possible to streamline this process to ensure it's efficient and leaves a company with only the best applicants.

  • Shorten the hiring cycle: No HR manager wants to feel as though he or she didn't have enough time to thoroughly vet candidates and choose the ideal ones, but a hiring cycle that's too long only hurts a business – your top choices could have found other jobs by the time you offer them roles. Cut tasks wherever possible for HR employees – anything that can be automated with human resource solutions should be. This allows HR personnel to focus more on hiring and less on the day-to-day paperwork that could be taking up extraordinary amounts of time.
  • Consider employee referrals: Your organization may already have an employee referral program that rewards staff members who send successful hires your way, but make sure it's widely known and that all teams know you'll be hiring on a large scale in the coming weeks or months. 
  • Identify the top skills that matter: Your employees will need to be able to do a lot of things, but what are the top two or three characteristics or skills they have to have to be successful in the role? Narrow down your list of nine or 10 qualities an applicant must have substantially, and you'll find yourself with more people suited to the positions that are available. 
  • Do some homework on past hires: Have several of your most successful previous hires all come from the same companies, school or internship program? Look for a similar background when reviewing new applications, as these past experiences could have instilled a common work ethic in these individuals.

Retaining talent
When you're hiring new employees – especially on a large-scale level – the last thing you want to think about is many of them turning in notice in a few months. But this is something every HR professional has to keep in mind – after all, Deloitte estimates turnover in hospitality could be as high as 31 percent.

To keep employees from leaving for greener pastures, where they think they can hone their skills and better develop, put your company ahead of the game and offer to help them grow their soft skills from the very start. 

  • Emotional intelligence: Unlike IQ, EQ can be improved over time, and it's the ideal skill to help employees in the hospitality industry develop. EQ, or an employee's self-awareness, social awareness and relationship building skills, play a key role in connecting with patrons and coworkers. The Harvard Business review suggests that meditation and relaxation can be beneficial in improving this skill, but enhancing someone's ability to cope with rocky situations may be better. Try putting employees in a role-playing situation with another team member pretending to be a difficult customer and provide feedback on how their reaction needs to change.
  • Time management: Some employers feel younger employees especially struggle to manage their time. Devices like smartphones and tablets have made it easy for them to get distracted and flit from task to task without finishing anything. Give team members a list of things to do by the end of their shifts, and if they haven't completed it ask how they structured their day and broke up the time to see where they went wrong.
  • Communication: Again, some business leaders think this is an area in which more junior employees are lacking. Face-to-face communication is infinitely important, especially when individuals are dealing with patrons in the hospitality industry, and must be developed and enhanced. Observe how staff members behave during in-person interactions and offer feedback on what they've done well and where they need to improve.

By helping recruits develop these skills over the long term, you're giving them the tools they need to eventually ascend into a leadership position, and reducing turnover while you're at it. Talent retention depends on ensuring employees are engaged and developing valuable skills, and being proactive in this respect means you're grooming your organization's next generation of leaders.

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