Post-COVID hospitality: why retraining your staff & reframing your expectations will be crucial to your success

According to a recent CV-Library survey, ’59 per cent of UK workers are willing to reskill and retrain in order to find a new line of work, due to the lack of jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic.’1

This isn’t just a positive sign that people are seeking to adapt and make themselves more employable in the recession-hit job market; it’s also useful information for employers in the hospitality industry. It tells us that hospitality employers should be:

a) much more open to hiring workers from different sectors, who will have the drive and enthusiasm to learn, but not necessarily the hospitality industry experience they’d previously have looked for.

b) much more open to developing the skills of their current employees, so they will be able to take on greater responsibilities and feel more secure and fulfilled in their roles.

In addition, the CV-Library survey has shown that it’s not just scarcity of jobs that is encouraging workers to reskill and retrain, it’s also because 30% of them want to find a more meaningful job and 29% want a job with a higher salary. 32% are looking for an occupation that offers better job security.

It’s also worth noting that the hospitality industry is high on the list of people who want to reskill for a new career, with many hospitality workers apparently looking for opportunities in construction and administration.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen how creatively many UK hospitality businesses have adapted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. By its very nature, we work in an industry that attracts hardworking, forward-thinking people, and it’s evident that a lot of us have already taken that ingenuity and dedication to another level.

Whether or not your business has been able to do the same; this is the perfect time to expand your employees’ skills while we wait for our sector to find its feet again. After all, many standards have changed, and we’ve all been forced to put essential new protocols in place. Developing your team’s talent to ensure they can holistically support every aspect of your business and deliver a complete and cohesive customer and guest experience is more vital than it’s ever been. As an employer, you don’t necessarily have to invest in expensive training programs. You could begin with a mentoring program, when a superior or senior employee uses a ‘learning-in-partnership’ approach to improve a less experienced employees performance or teaches them aspects of their own job, so the employee can step in to assist if the senior isn’t around. Or you could implement teamwork training, allowing your employees to buddy up and learn solutions from each other.

Alternatively, you could take a more structured strategic approach and:

Rapidly identify the key skills your business needs to recover. For example, you may be relying even more on technology and socially distanced communication to ensure your guests are as safe and comfortable as possible; do all your employees have the hard and soft skills they need to make that work? If not, it’s important to put the training in place to teach them.

Future-plan to close any critical skills gaps. Even though it’s harder than ever to predict the future, there are still certain times during the year we can anticipate an increase in customer demand; what advance preparations/skills will your team need so your business is ready when that happens? You might not want to overprepare while the outlook is still unstable, but you don’t want to be caught off-guard either.

Make sure you keep enough money in your budget to support employee learning and retraining (for new employees as well as existing ones.)

As far as recruiting new team members is concerned, be prepared to look at candidates who may not have the traditional skills you’re looking for but who do have invaluable work and life skills you hadn’t previously thought about. For example, remote communication skills (like ex-call centre workers) instead of physical customer-facing skills, or technical and logistical skills that might make them fantastic problem solvers you could rely on in a crisis.

The wider you cast your net, and the more willing you are to take on candidates who might not entirely fit your bill but who have demonstrated their value and integrity in other sectors, the better your chance of finding the perfect team player for your business.

Please rest assured that, at Prime Agency Recruitment, we’ll continue to offer you the cream of the very best hospitality talent available. We have a wealth of highly experienced candidates in our database who are immediately ready for both permanent and temporary assignments, and we’re adding to that database every day. If we ever suggest a candidate who is completely new to the industry you can be certain it’s because they have demonstrated excellence in their previous career and we are satisfied that they have all the potential necessary to be an asset to your business.

Make your post-COVID recovery as smooth and assured as possible, by having the very best team members on your side. To find your next ideal team member, or for first-class staffing solutions for short or long-term cover, contact our friendly expert advisors on 020 7580 4398 or email info@primerec.co.uk. We look forward to working with you soon!

1https://www.hrreview.co.uk/hr-news/supplier-news/employees-want-to-reskill-and-retrain-to-widen-job-areas-they-can-apply-to/126815?utm_source=Gatormail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=HR+Daily+Wed