Hospitality’s V-Shaped Recovery: Top Talent Acquisition Problems

Whilst riding the Corona-coaster that has been 2020, there’s been a lot of holding-on-for-dear-life for us people-people. Used to seeing and hugging people every day then forced to spend a year where the only face you see is yours in the mirror? That’s hard. But, as Talent Acquisition professionals, it’s time to hop off & start to plan for what is predicted to be a V-shape recovery. You thought the skills shortage was worrying? We’ll see what 2021 has to bring; one might say, “out of the frying pan and into the fire”.

Now we know what you’re thinking, but don’t be discouraged. This article highlights all you need to do so that you feel prepared for what next year will bring. You might say it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1) Brexit is still a thing

There has been no escaping COVID. So much so that (we promise you that you’re not alone in the fact that) you’ve likely forgotten about Brexit. 

There have been more pressing issues and immediate challenges coming out of the pandemic (just how many days did it take you to get your head around the JSS scheme, for example). However, it’s time to dust off that Brexit strategy; your existing EU employees must apply under the EU Settlement Scheme by the 30th June 2021 and if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to register for your Sponsor License. 

Beyond the practicalities posed by Brexit, there is a whole realm of considerations that we as employers must prepare for in the immediate. ie. How do we forecast talent requirements six months in advance, given the current restrictions, in order to understand how to offset any loss of EU talent with attraction strategies here in the UK labour market? And what will the future cost implications be for our businesses surrounding the inevitable need to increase salaries beyond minimum wage, to fill the roles inherently rejected by British talent? Yikes. 

Brexit isn’t all doom-and-gloom though, at least, here at Harri we like to think it’s an opportunity to do things differently. The pandemic has forced through automation in our industry, with breakthrough tech like Tabletop becoming the done-thing in high volume restaurants. Does this mean that we can rethink our archaic operational structures now (finally!)? Can we recruit higher-skilled individuals, who cost less, that we need less of; and in doing so, become more intelligent about the way that we rota them around our tech? We think so, But then, we are biased given our scheduling tool is one of the best out there! 

This week we’ll be delving into this further in our Brexit webinar. The link to sign up is here!

2) The skills shortage, Guess what? It’s also still a thing

Have you advertised a role recently? If you have, you’ll note at least a 100% increase in the volume of applications. You may think this is a positive however, it’s worth keeping in mind:

The best talent has been retained by businesses through the pandemic, because their recovery depends on it and talent is unlikely to move amidst this if they are safe

The top talent that has been made redundant through this? Businesses will still be competing for them because their recovery depends on attracting the best people. And the talent’s mentality: “Hospitality may not be the safest career choice right now;  Maybe it’s time to get out”.

The skills shortage is still here. In fact, your Talent team will be spending more time (and therefore cost) on screening unsuitable applications (this is where Harri comes in). This will mean they also have less time to spend on direct sourcing for the best talent who are likely wavering about whether a career in hospitality is still for them. So, how do you approach this? 

With your EVP and employer branding.

Your EVP has never been more important. What makes your business attractive in the new world? If you’ve not recently asked your teams what gets them out of the bed in the morning, now is the time to do so. You’ll no doubt find out that while shiny benefit packages are great, today your team wants stability, flexibility, security and good pay. And this is what candidates want too. Not to mention knowing exactly how your business has responded to the crisis. They’ll want to see how you’ve used tech to your advantage, and how kindness (which is the new employer branding currency!) has reigned supreme in your business. Communicating these things consistently through your employer branding initiatives right now is key to our businesses and our industry’s success. We’ve never been seen as less of an attractive space for prospective talent;  we must attack this perception head-on in TA.

3) Future talent is key to industry recovery

Attracting the future generation into a career in hospitality was way up on the to-do list of every People Directors’ agenda for 2020. We recognised the importance of changing the perception of our industry as being a career of last resort, and collectively we set about to tackle this. 

Then the world as we knew it ended. With it being difficult to see further ahead than a few weeks, future ANYTHING, never mind future talent, sadly dropped to the bottom of that to-do list.

However, now is not the time to forget the strategy to attract young people into the industry. Our recovery is dependent upon the talent of the future; and right now? They’ll likely see our industry as being less attractive than ever before. So, how can you focus on this in 2021?

  • Swot up on the government’s Kickstart scheme – a £2bn fund to create 1,000’s of high-quality 6-month work placements for young people, through offering funding for 25 hours a week for employers. There are some requirements on the number of placements you undertake (30) – but Harri can support you with this by acting as a broker, so get in touch!
  • Tackle that perception of our industry by offering Traineeships – and earn up to £1,000 per learner, for up to 10 learners) read more here.
  • Springboard’s new initiative promises to get 10,000 young people into hospitality by 2022 – and we ALL need to get behind it and join the likes of BaxterStorey, Sodexo, CH&Co, Corbin & King, The Pig, Bidfood, Bespoke Hotels, Iconic Luxury Hotels and Edwardian Hotels in making this a success. Head to Springboard to sign up today. 

Above all, continue to embrace technology. The future generation has literally undertaken school through their digital devices for the year 2020 – tech is their language! The most attractive industries are those which are automated and free them up to do more challenging and thought-provoking work; how can you as an employer ensure you are meeting the desires of our future workforce?

These are our top-3 predictions, but undoubtedly there will be more. What is certain is that people’s expectations of finding work, what they expect from employers – where talent wants to work; they’ve all changed. What’s also changed is the skills we will need to take our industry forward. 

We’ll still need to recruit those who exhibit our core organisational values;  but it’s time we started to recruit for learning agility, technical skills and resilience. These things can be more difficult to assess during the recruitment process, but with new tech emerging such as voice for recruitment, there are solutions out there for those TA leaders brave enough to embrace them.

Click here to watch our webinar: 2021 Workforce Considerations: Unpacking  the Brexit Impact which gives you some actionable insights on how to tackle things within your organisation.

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