The Hospitality Industry’s Next Challenge: Convincing Talent to Return

It is no secret that COVID-19 hit the hospitality companies the hardest of any industry. And as waves of hospitality workers filed for unemployment, other industries have seen an opportunity. Leigh Ann Teubert, Managing Partner at Horizon Hospitality, noted that companies involved in property management, distribution, and even healthcare “are using this time to try to entice hospitality professionals to switch industries.” Less strenuous working conditions, better work/life balance, and a steady paycheck make the switch a simple decision for many hospitality professionals.

So, once the pandemic subsides, will they be willing to jump back into the notoriously tough hospitality industry? Or will they have settled firmly into their new career tracks? Even if they would consider coming back, the entire industry will be competing with itself and trying to recruit all at once. How will hospitality employers lure back the experienced talent they had to let go of in 2020?

Make it Personal

Companies should keep in touch with furloughed or laid-off employees. Even if they found a job somewhere else, they will be more willing to return if they feel appreciated. And if they are not interested in returning, they could be a great resource for referrals. Create as many support structures as possible. Provide workers with resources to navigate benefits, create mentorships, and create reliable channels of accountability with management. Whatever companies can do to show workers that they still care, they should do it!

Be Transparent

Employers need to be up-front with candidates and employees about previous lay-offs and future plans. There is no point in hiding any previous lay-offs and nobody wants to work at a company where their future role is uncertain. Sharing strategies for regrowth will also show a candidate how they can make a real impact on the company’s future.

Use Every Resource

Despite high unemployment rates, many employers are having a hard time getting the right candidates to apply to their jobs. Their ideal candidates might not be looking at hospitality jobs anymore, or they are happily employed somewhere else. This means companies will have to use more creative methods to reach out and attract top-tier talent.

But where do you start? Past applications and resumes can unearth candidates that may still be interested in a company. Social media, especially LinkedIn, can be a lifeline for finding candidates who may have recently left hospitality. Keeping company pages active on these platforms is also helpful in signaling to professionals that your company is still a viable employer.

Keep Compensation Competitive

It may be tempting to make low-ball offers and promise pay increases down the road, but truly talented professionals know what they are worth. Also, consider the fact that many workers have had to adjust their family lives recently. Many have stepped back from a career to care for family members. Could your company offer childcare assistance or increased paid sick days to make the transition back to the workforce less stressful? Giving candidates that piece of mind can go a long way in being an employer of choice. And if a company has not been able to offer health insurance before, now is the time to consider that.

Many candidates, especially younger ones, are going to be more pragmatic about compensation, so they won’t be as impressed by low offers masked by frivolous perks. To build the most competitive compensation packages possible, companies can use resources like the most recent edition of the Hospitality Industry Compensation and Benefits Guide.

Create a Clear Path

After settling into a new industry and learning the ropes, workers will probably be hesitant to uproot their professional lives yet again. And existing hospitality workers may begin to wonder if the grass is greener in other industries. They will need to see a clear, long-term path with a hospitality company. To envision themselves staying in hospitality long term, their potential career path needs to be laid out clearly. They also need to have established goals that will guide them through that career path. Those goals need to be communicated early and evaluated often.

If a hospitality company is still struggling to convince professionals to come back, it might be time to call on the experts. A hospitality recruiter will have a deep network of hospitality professionals as well as the ability to reach professionals in other industries. The recruiters at Horizon Hospitality have the resources and expertise to attract talent to your company.



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