Alliance - Top tips for attracting and retaining hospitality staff
Looking to add new members to your workforce?
John Girvan, Alliance Ireland
IHF Associate Member

In this article, John Girvan from the catering equipment supplier Alliance Online Ireland shares his top tips for attracting and retaining talent in the hospitality industry.

The past 18 months have been difficult for all industries, but particularly the hospitality sector. There have been a number of challenges to overcome as a result of the pandemic, including significant profit reductions and changing restrictions. And, to make matters worse, the sector is now facing major staff shortages.

In fact, research has found that there were a third fewer workers employed in the accommodation and food sector in the second quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2019 (HospitalityIreland).

If you're looking to take on new staff at the minute, you're not alone. That's why it's vital that you stand out from the crowd. To help you introduce more members to your team, here are four tips for attracting and retaining hospitality staff.

Know where to advertise

In order to attract new hospitality staff, you first need to know the best place to find potential applicants. It's always a good idea to post on the main online job search websites, such as Indeed, JobsIreland, and WhatJobs. But it's also worth branching out and advertising on industry specific job sites, such as Caterer. Not only are you likely to attract applicants with more relevant experience this way, but you will also likely find people who are more passionate about the role, and who view it as a long-term career option.

You should also make the most of social media by using it to advertise the jobs on too. Posting your vacancies on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allows for the post to be shared, which will give you a wider audience and therefore likely attract more applicants. Plus, you may even attract applicants who are following you because they're a fan of your business, which is a good bonus.

Myth-bust misconceptions

Anyone who works in hospitality knows how enjoyable it can be, but there are misconceptions about working in the industry. Many potential applicants may be put off applying for a role due to misinformation, so it's important to take the chance to set the record straight. Make it clear that despite common beliefs, the sector is for all genders, not just women, and that it's for all ages too. You should also clear up misconceptions about low pay, long work days, and irregular hours, as this is likely to put many potential applicants off the role.

You could do this a number of ways, such as by writing a blog post debunking common misconceptions, or by hosting a talk at a local jobs fair. You can even use social media to your advantage by posting about a day in the life of a hospitality worker to give your audience the full picture.

Offer employees incentives

To make your business stand out from the rest to attract new applicants and retain your current staff, you should consider offering a number of incentives. Think about how you can make your business the best one to work for to keep your employees content and prevent them from moving to one of your competitors.

There are a number of incentives to consider. For small incentives that are easy to implement, you could consider offering free food to staff who are on shift, a generous staff discount of the services you have on offer, and giving staff an extra break in the day to take at a time that works for them. And if you are able to provide staff with larger incentives, you could offer free or discounted child care, a pay rise, or an increase in the number of paid days off given to each employee.

Encourage career development

One of the things that employees value most in a job is the opportunity for career development. In fact, one study found that 58% of employees would change jobs if they found a company which offered more career development opportunities (Cision). Plus, having a motivated employee who is keen to climb the ranks is great news for your business too.

One way that your business can encourage career development is by investing in courses for employees to take for free a few times a year. As well as helping them improve on their current skills, this can also give them knowledge and experience in other areas too, which will make them a great all-rounder. And to keep employees motivated, invite relevant guest speakers to do talks and host Q&A's every so often to give your staff the boost they need to take their careers to the next level.

Attracting and retaining new hospitality staff may seem more difficult than ever, but there are a number of ways to make the process easier. If you use the tips above, you should be able to attract and retain passionate and motivated employees who will help your business thrive.

Contact details

John Girvan

01 485 4007

Irish Hotels Federation | Working Together