Hospitality businesses need to find alternative ways to
recognise and reward staff

As the recruitment crisis prevents many hospitality businesses opening fully, how do they attract and retain staff more effectively?

Issues such as Covid-19, Brexit, and the huge spike in inflation have negatively impacted businesses in all sectors but few more than hospitality. Today, the BBC has reported of a 30% increase in the cost of employing staff in restaurants, hotels, and bars but it’s not just the cost of employment that is threatening these businesses; it’s the difficulty of recruiting and then retaining experienced people.

Businesses could increase profits if only they had more staff

Hospitality is struggling but the interesting thing that this report highlights is that the root cause is not the lack of custom, but the availability of staff to be able to put on a full service. Many restaurants are being forced to limit the days they can open because they just don’t have the staff to fulfil the demand.

With fewer experienced hospitality workers on the job market and large numbers of vacancies, good people can cherry pick their opportunities. This is great for workers, but it means that businesses in the industry have to raise their game as employers if they want to attract and retain staff.

What can businesses do better?

There are some obvious solutions to improving recruitment and retention rates: offering better pay, more favourable hours, better conditions etc but it can be hard to balance the books when margins are tight. If hospitality businesses really want to compete, they need to think more laterally about what actually matters to people and how they can add value in a way that doesn’t involve bankrupting the business.

Are rewards and incentives the answer?

There is a lot of evidence around what people look for in an employer. While, of course, we all need to pay our bills, the aspects of employment that are often universally regarded the highest are feeling valued, believing that their employer cares about their well-being and ‘added extras’; the additional benefits that they get. This is where companies need to focus their thinking because it is here that they can get more bang for their buck in terms of incentivising staff in a way that doesn’t require them to pay wages that the business can’t sustain.

hospitality businesses

Providing a reward system as part of an employment package can deliver this and in a highly competitive recruitment market, it’s where you can differentiate your business. A reward scheme for staff, such as Hospitality Benefits, is relatively low cost for employers (as little as 50p per week, per employee) but delivers multiple meaningful benefits for staff spanning financial aspects such as discounts and earning cashback to wider benefits such as accessing support for mental and physical well-being.

Just one example is the cashback card that comes as part of the package. Members pre-load cash onto the card (so there’s no danger of running up debt as could be the case with a credit card), and in return they receive anything from 3-15% cashback at multiple high street brands. Based on average use, members could receive £500+ per year in cashback.

Hospitality work can be tough but by offering a complete package that goes beyond salary and incorporates benefits that are tangible and make people feel valued the industry can attract more talented people to work in the industry (and stay in it) and sustain it for businesses, staff, and customers alike. It is these forward thinking businesses that will reap the greatest benefits.

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