The hot topic in hospitality is staff recruitment, and the retention of staff. This is not a new issue, but it is one which has remained fairly constant over the last decade, and it doesn’t look like the issue is going away any time soon particularly with Brexit looming. But today the focus is definitely on retention. The cost to any business is significant with industry estimates putting the cost of recruiting and training a new employee in Scotland at around £2,000 to £3,000. That includes the time of the person doing the recruiting. It is certainly not an insignificant sum and it is common sense to try and keep hold of your staff, but that is easier said than done.
The ideal staff turn over figure should be no more than 10% but in hospitality that figure can be as high as 75% according to People First, compared to an all-sector average of 15%! Recruitment companies call it an attrition – when companies lose staff over time. No doubt sometimes it feels like a war of attrition for hoteliers.
Simon Aston of Aston Recruitment says, “We find that staff attrition depends on a number of situations and that includes company culture and and geographical challenges. For instance in the Highlands and Islands staff sometimes stay for only a short period and this is mainly because often the job does not come up to their expectations. Hoteliers in these areas need to manage the expectations of the individuals they are employing.”
He continues, “Generally we find that independent hoteliers find it difficult to offer competitive salaries compared to bigger hotel groups. Groups can afford to pay more. However potential employees don’t just look at the salary they look at the benefits too and the working conditions.”
It seems today that it is not just the employee that has to sell themselves to a potential employer but employers have to sell themselves to the employee too.
The fact is there are fewer young workers today than there were 10 years ago, and this means that there is much smaller pool than in the past, and employees can pick and choose, and leave promptly if they are not happy.
Jo Graham, of People Solutions and the Chair of the BII in Scotland agrees, “The key to recruiting is to have the right recruitment process in place to begin with. I would recommend recruiting for attitude rather than skills, especially when it comes to front of house positions. You can train skills in, but it is more difficult to change people’s attitudes. A good attitude can go a long way.”
She continues, “Sometimes it is better to take a person in at grass roots level and train them up, rather than go for a graduate. It also makes sense, going forward, to recruit across the age groups. Employers predominantly see hospitality as a young person’s game because of the perceived energy that is needed to do the job, bu