Finding the right staff has always been an issue for the events industry. Feast It’s Community Manager, Josh, even had ten out of ten candidates not show up for a trial shift when he was running a pop up kitchen in 2016. With Brexit and the exodus of highly trained staff from the EU, lots of companies have struggled to fill vacancies. Feast It met Lauren Barnett of Home Hospitality and Actually Good Chef jobs to discuss the challenges in today’s job market, what employees are looking for in an employer and what low cost steps you can take to attract employees.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? I founded Home Hospitality, a small recruitment business. I am a mum of two young boys, aged 3 and 6 months. I have grown up through hospitality management for 15 years, starting as a waiter and ending up as Head of Operations for Everyman Cinemas most recently. After not seeing how I could make the family and ‘big job’ worlds meet, I decided to start up on my own and help others find a good workplace. I only work with independent, owner operated businesses, those who give a real sh*t about their teams and are changemakers and frontrunners in improving working standards for their teams.
There's obviously a shortage of staff that want to work in hospitality currently. What are some of the creative ways in which companies are finding the right people? There are lots of exciting ways people are thinking outside of the box, such as offering free meals for potential employees, training qualifications, sabbaticals etc, but let’s be honest, it’s essentially about respect, good pay, fair and normal working hours and a positive environment, that’s what people are after.
How important is social media in the hiring process? I would like to say it’s not vital, and it certainly does not always represent the actual working life within the business itself, often quite the opposite. BUT when it comes to hiring, it is completely essential to have a good social media presence. It will be the first thing everyone looks at when they wonder if you might be good to work for. Good food photography, a focus on the humans behind the food and very importantly, what you stand for as a business, your values.
What are some low cost steps a small business can take to increase their chances of hiring the right person? Address the points above on your social channels, make sure you are speaking up about your benefits and perks. Offer real benefits, listen to the team and what they are after, is it a month off every year to travel? Is it discounts for their friends? Is it coaching and leadership training? Whatever it is, try to work around them, where you can. Make sure you show what it looks like to work for you on your social channels. Offer a referral scheme to your teams to get them involved in finding people.
What trends are you seeing in the employment pool right now, and especially after lockdown? Speaking about teams in hospitality, many people don’t want to work atm in a long term job, they want bitesize work, bits of things, not just a job without an end date. They know they can get a bit of work here and there, so they are doing that, agency work, or temping. People also want more time with their friends and family, less time at the grind and also want less responsibility. People are not seeing the benefit of lots of pressure and responsibility anymore, when they can get paid a little bit less and leave their work at work.
What's the best cheap eat in town? Sonora Tacos, Pockets, Dumpling Shack and La Chingada.