As COVID tapers and guests return, the hospitality industry faces a critical hurdle.
Workers aren’t returning to jobs, leaving restaurants, bars, hotels, airlines and more with no option but to scale back hours and services. All when you need to step-up operations most.
What can you do to attract and retain hospitality workers?
Start by understanding work trends that will inevitably set the tone for the upcoming decade.
Most importantly, workers are increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs. Last November alone, the US hit an all-time record for job turnover. The pandemic has surfaced unhappiness in the workplace, specifically regarding job benefits, childcare, and flexibility.
You simply can’t settle for status quo and expect to keep staff. The hospitality industry is getting wise, as evidenced by job numbers up 310% compared to pre-pandemic (and up 588% from this time last year), according to Snagajob’s weekly hiring report.
To successfully evolve, here are three trends to consider.
1. There’s a colossal shift in the relationship between employer and employee, especially in hourly work.
Hourly workers typically haven’t thought past making ends meet. Now, they have a slight financial cushion from the pandemic, and are re-thinking what’s important. They’re realizing all they should expect from employers.
In 2022 and beyond, workers are going to gravitate towards businesses that offer them more - whether it’s higher pay, better benefits, career advancement opportunities, or more flexibility.
You’re well-advised to respond to a move towards white collarization of blue collar jobs. Hourly workers are experiencing a “great awakening,” as the pandemic has helped enlighten them to the fact that they not only bring value to their respective companies, but also to their communities and this country as a whole. They’ve risked exposure to COVID and kept the country running. In return, they’re demanding the same benefits and opportunities traditionally reserved for white-collar, office jobs.
2. Flexibility is increasingly important, and can come in many forms.
As a result of the pandemic, hourly workers now have different priorities in what they look for in a position. Most notably, they’re now favoring jobs that focus on workplace flexibility. In fact, at Snagajob, we recently surveyed 1,872 hourly workers and found that 45% of workers are looking for a more flexible work schedule in their next job. Additionally, 69% said they want to see flexible scheduling mentioned in job postings. To be successful in recruiting and retaining today’s workers, it’s critical that you understand this evolution and adapt.
This is easier said than done, especially in the hospitality environment where most employees must be physically present to serve guests. However, there are still ways to offer hourly workers flexibility. An example would be a retail and e-commerce hybrid role, where an employee is scheduled a few shifts onsite and then a few shifts at home as a customer service consultant. Managers can also make more of an effort to be flexible by accommodating individual styles and needs.
3. Employee retention is paramount to solving long-term staffing issues.
“The Great Resignation” is a term that’s making headway across nearly all industries. Workers are fed up with the status quo. Rather than blindly sticking it out, young workers are simply leaving their jobs if they’re not satisfied or don’t feel valued. In the restaurant industry alone, where many young workers start out, jobs are down 44%. Now more than ever, they’re less willing to settle. Because of this mindset shift, employers are having a difficult time retaining staff.
You can begin to turn the tide by recognizing the benefit of promoting employees from within, and advancing them in their specialized roles. There’s also an opportunity to provide training. If employees know they can grow their skills for future positions, they’re more likely to join and stay.
Finally, be sure to show appreciation. Let workers know that you value their contributions.
Bring change to your most valuable asset: hourly workers
Build on the positive change that’s already happening in hospitality. Bring much-needed reform to hourly work with added benefits, flexibility, and understanding. You’ll attract more new hires and keep existing workers on staff longer. Ultimately, you’ll create a more skilled and self-sustaining workforce.
About the Author
Mathieu Stevenson is CEO of Snagajob.