How can Culture help Win the War for Talent?
Last June, we published an article that examined “Where are all the candidates?”.
As we reflect, a year on, we take a look at what has changed:
- Have employers adapted their recruitment strategies?
- Has the hospitality industry adapted to meet employee or candidate expectations?
- What role does company culture play in the War for Talent?
The Big Quit and The Great Resignation are just two of the phrases that appeared in the last couple of years. The pandemic precipitated employees around the world to collectively reset and reassess both their professional and personal goals and priorities. This exacerbated the normal cycle of employee turnover and concentrated the timeline to a specific shortened period.
This turnover sparked a real battle to attract and retain employees, not just between competing businesses, but across industries, where some were far more willing to recruit the right personality with experience from a different industry.
Hospitality employees were particularly badly hit as many businesses were forced to close multiple times, forcing businesses to make positions redundant. Many of these employees applied for roles in different industries and chose to stay there rather than return to hospitality. In addition, many school leavers, who may have applied for their first jobs in bars, restaurants and hotels found jobs unavailable as businesses had closed, or were operating with a reduced workforce. Again, many chose an alternative option rather than waiting it out.
What is the situation now?
The UK’s Office of National Statistics has recently reported that for the first time since records began, job vacancies have outstripped unemployment. However, wages have decreased in real terms against inflation, which continues to rise and remains a threat to the cost of living and doing business. Many hospitality businesses are struggling to attract employees as confidence in the hospitality sector has been rattled by events of the last few years.
How has the hospitality industry reacted?
“Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast”. It’s a memorable quote often attributed to Peter Drucker, but is particularly relevant now.
We have found that the businesses that have focussed on their company culture and engaged with employees throughout the pandemic were able to recover much better. As demand to travel started to increase as restrictions eased, they were the ones best placed to scale back up with an existing workforce, but also able to attract talent by offering the stability that comes from a happy workforce that feels like they belong and are able to develop and achieve their goals.
In a recent interview with HPG Advisory Services, David Anderson, CEO of Interstate Hotels and Resorts commented “I believe in building a strong culture of collaboration – two-way communication is key as is everyone pulling in the same direction. Investing in our staff so they can develop their careers is really important to me, as is making sure we recognise and reward their effort and achievement by celebrating successes across the team.“
Many hospitality businesses fundamentally changed the way they work to adapt to the situation and put their employees first. AirBnB made the huge decision to make their pandemic-era changes to the normal office schedule permanent, allowing employees to work remotely. This was based on seeing how productive their team had been during lockdown and their willingness to allow the needs of their employees to influence their strategy.
Many employers have already increased wages by adopting the national living wage, and adding financial benefits will always help attract the best talent. However, cultures that embrace diversity, equality and inclusion, while offering a better work life balance and aligned values have become more important than monetary reward alone.
The recruitment process is now very transparent as candidates have access to so much information on businesses, through their website, social media channels and review sites. By the time it comes to an interview, many candidates will be asking probing questions to ensure that everything is aligned and may prioritise other opportunities if this is not the case.
Hospitality People Group can support both the recruitment and retention strategies for employers. Attracting the right people to a business demands looking at everything that communicates the company culture, and as an external resource, we can do the heavy lifting. We look at all aspects of an available position to ensure we match the perfect candidate with the perfect employer. This gives the candidate the information they need to commit and adapt quickly to a new role and saves the employer time and resources so that they can focus on their day to day operations. If you would like to chat about your recruitment strategy, please contact us on +44 20 8600 1166.