Future proof your hospitality business: invest in your employees

A blog by Steven Hesketh CEO of Know Group

There are a number of factors that are currently influencing business leaders in the hospitality sector. With leaving the EU fast approaching and consumer spending habits changing, leaders need to be more proactive with their long-term decision-making more than ever.

Taking the lead

I’ve spoken a lot about the shortage of skills within the hospitality industry, but this issue we face still persists and doesn’t seem like it’s going to fade quickly – in fact some warn it could take us ten years to resolve. As Britain’s fourth largest industry, if a shortage of skilled workers exists then that creates a problem for all of us. With people leaving the EU to head back to their own countries, we could inevitably face an even bigger shortage of skilled hospitality managers and kitchen staff. That’s why it is paramount that business owners transform the image drawback that the industry has endured over the past 10 years and focus their efforts on training individuals, growing talent internally and eliminating the stigma that comes with having a career in the hospitality sector.

Turning recruitment on its head

Many hoteliers focus their resources on attracting new talent to the company, and several more often than not fail to consider the on-going training and development that your staff need to flourish as our tomorrow’s managers. Working for a hotel for instance takes a certain set of skills, which sees some employees having a natural flare and others requiring intense training. Many city based hotels tend to take on local students attending university for their front of house positions and spend large amounts in recruitment searching for talented managers. However, this investment means that we fall short in the long-term when many students go onto to follow their careers in their chosen disciplines, or go home for the Christmas or summer break and leave us with another set of skill shortages. With the recruitment costs of finding managers and the high turnover of front of house staff and kitchen staff, our spend on recruit becomes enormous.

A different approach

As business leaders, we understand that businesses should grow organically and the same principle should fall with training and investing into our staff. I’ve taken a proactive approach by identifying and cultivating tomorrow’s talent within my existing talent pool. My academy program eliminates the long-term skills shortage and to organically grow talent for the long-term success of the business. Whilst some businesses choose to spend vast amounts of money for short-terms gains through on-going recruitment, I’ve decided to invest into my academy and the individuals that come through it. My long-term business goal falls into every decision I make for the business and if I want to achieve my goal, I must make smart investment decisions to grow and be profitable.

Making experiences matter

Whilst running my business efficiently behind the scenes, I consider the software (people) that my business produces. It isn’t just about retaining staff and growing individuals that will help run your restaurant or hotel successfully, but it’s the image that it creates to your customers and guests. Today’s consumer spending trend is focusing more about experiences than the hardware of what things may look like. Investing into the physicality of things is expensive, and having a great looking piece of furniture isn’t going to get you that repeat business if your staff don’t communicate your brand image effectively. If staff are trained, invested in and feel a purpose this will be portrayed and projected to your guests that will create a unique memorable experience of your brand through the service and quality given by your staff. As much as buying something for your business is a long-term investment so should your staff be treated the same way.

The time is now

Be proactive with the decisions that will affect your business, investing heavily for success may be on the horizon, but making intelligent decisions as to where that investment ends up, will determine how successful your business is for long-term survival in these unprecedented and unpredictable changing times. The time is now.