Make your staff your No.1 priority… and hold onto them!

We all know that, in the hospitality industry especially, it’s vital to make your customer’s experience as seamless and satisfying as possible. But, if you don’t have staff who are happy to work with you and committed to making your vision and your customer’s satisfaction a reality, you have a very big problem on your hands.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to find the right team members and focus hard on retaining them. After all, if you don’t have the very best people representing who you are, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to attract the clientele you’re looking for. Here are our top suggestions for finding the perfect candidates and holding onto them once they’re there. After all, despite the current climate of Brexit uncertainty and economic pessimism, there’s still a lot of success you can achieve if you’ve got a dedicated team on your side.

Let’s start with the basics…

Recruiting the best candidates

When you’re looking for someone new to join your workforce, make sure that the messages you’re sending out about your business are clear, positive, and present your workplace as somewhere the candidate knows they’ll fit in and can thrive. Word the job description carefully and make it as complete and compelling as you can. The better you can ‘sell’ the role, the more likely it is that the best candidates will be motivated to apply.

It’s also important not to limit yourself by looking for a candidate who absolutely fits your job description. If a person walks through your door who seems like the right match for your business but doesn’t quite gel with what you’re looking for on paper, be prepared to be flexible rather than miss out on the opportunity of hiring them.

Try not to make recruiting a long-drawn-out process. The fussier you are and the longer you take to make your decision, the more likely it is that your most promising candidates will grow restless and be snapped up by somebody else. And, from the moment they apply to the moment you either offer them the job or break the unfortunate news they’re not quite right for the role, keep them informed and stick to the timescales you’ve promised. Demonstrate that you’re an employer who communicates professionally with their employees and values their time.

Also, don’t overlook the potential of the gig economy. For many employers, the thought of filling a previously full-time role with a short-time employee can be outside their comfort zone but, with approximately five million gig economy workers currently working in the UK (many of them in the hospitality industry), it’s not a situation you can afford to stay uncomfortable with. In fact, you can even use this new trend to your advantage.

Think about it this way – handled properly, the gig economy can suit everyone. Gig workers will retain control over their lives and the hours they work, and you’ll know someone is available to fill in the gaps whenever you need extra assistance (taking pressure off your permanent workforce, which will make them a little bit happier too.) Depending on the situation, transforming a previously full-time role into a position that one or two gig workers could fill (and you only have to pay them when they do) can be an optimum solution.

Make your staff feel valued

Actually, let’s rephrase that to: Value your staff and actively demonstrate how much they are valued.

Don’t be an employer who talks a good talk and pretends they care but doesn’t back it up with actions. Most of us have worked for employers like that and it’s probably one of the big reasons why few of us are working for them now.

Take time to find out about your staff, and make sure your management team does too. Talk to them, seek out their opinions, let them know how valuable they are. Don’t just rely on one-to-one sessions or group meetings, take advantage of small moments during the day to ask how they’re doing and find out something about them which might not even be on their CV – you may even discover an unexpected talent, skillset or personal interest they have you could make use of further down the line.  And, while you’re finding out about them, be aware of the best ways to communicate with them as individuals. The more comfortable and supported your team members feel, the more encouraged they’ll be to tell you what they’re really thinking.

Build trust

If your team members don’t believe you’re communicating clearly and unambiguously with them and have their best interests at heart, it’s unlikely they’ll give you or your clientele their best either. The chances are they’ll probably even move on as soon as the opportunity arises. But they don’t just have to trust you, they have to trust their line managers as well. Make sure that every member of your management team understands why building trust is important, and work with them to build in contingencies whenever misunderstandings occur and trust threatens to break down.

There’s enough uncertainty in the outside world. Don’t let that uncertainty create unease in your workplace and lose you valuable team members.

Keep your staff motivated

Feeling stuck-in-a-rut is a big reason why many employees feel dissatisfied and stressed out at work. You can easily help to overcome this by giving your employees the freedom to decide how they undertake some aspects of their job – for example, allowing them to organise their own shift patterns and encouraging them to find ways they could do their job even better.

Give them regular updates about their performance (keeping it as positive as possible) and offer them the chance to improve their skills and promotion prospects with in-house training and a clear career development plan. If your team members know there’s a goal to aim for they’re much more likely to feel committed to you long-term. Social incentives like team-building activities outside of the workplace, discounted gym membership, a small performance bonus or leaving an hour earlier/giving them an unscheduled day off when they’ve done a particularly good job can be a big motivator too.

Respond to problems quickly

Tackling problems promptly and finding solutions quickly will go a long way towards keeping your team members satisfied. Your workers may not always be delighted by some of the business decisions you’ve had to take but they will appreciate your honesty and the fact you’re involving them in as much of the process as you can.

By the same token, don’t rely solely on the opinions of your management to find out what your staff are thinking and, when you’re putting solutions into place…

Don’t promise the world

If there are several solutions to be implemented, begin with the ones that can be fixed quickest and then steadily deal with all the other solutions in turn. If your employees see that even small changes are taking place, they’ll know you’re listening to them. But, if you promise to sort everything out in one go, you’re more likely to accomplish very little and leave your employees feeling disillusioned.

Be firm but understanding

You’re under a lot of pressure to make your business as efficient and successful as possible but don’t let that pressure affect your judgement if potentially serious (i.e. disciplinary) issues arise. Treat your employees as fairly and sympathetically as you’d expect to be treated yourself. The outcome might still not be resolved in the way you or your team member would have liked but your even-handedness will go a long way towards taking the sting out of the situation. Plus, when your other team members inevitably find out what’s been going on, they’ll be much more likely to appreciate that you handled the issue as empathetically as you could.

Retaining is preferable to recruiting…

…so it makes sense to do whatever you can to keep your staff feeling happy and supported. They’re your greatest asset – don’t risk losing them.

Of course, before you can retain the very best people you’ve got to recruit them! That’s where we come in. Give us a call on 020 7580 4398 or email info@primerec.co.uk, and our friendly advisors will tell you how to find candidates with the talent and commitment to form a long-lasting winning team and make your 2019 more successful than ever. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.