Keeping your business staffed: A how to guide to tackle staff shortages

UK Hospitality



With staff shortages causing problems across every area of hospitality, it’s more important than ever for businesses to hire and retain staff. With COVID-19 causing staff to quit, take time off and reassess their career choices, many people have stepped away from hospitality for good. 


Many also blame the ‘ping-demic’ as it’s being dubbed, which is causing groups of hospitality workers to have to isolate. The problem being that if one member of staff is off work isolating, normally they have interacted with other members of staff causing mass sick days or isolation days.


For these reasons, many hospitality businesses are looking to hire more casual workers to ensure that they don’t get left short. If that sounds like your business right now, take a look at some of our top tips on hiring and retaining talent.



How can businesses hire and retain staff?



  1. Remain proactive and open to new recruits


Often in hospitality, potential new recruits will hand in a CV and be rejected because the business isn’t hiring at the moment. But with the current changes and staff shortages, hospitality businesses are being encouraged to keep new recruit data on hand in the event that they need an extra pair of hands.


Even when businesses are fully staffed, the ping-demic can blind-side you and take out some of your key team members very quickly. Having a bank of keen new workers on hand who can be trained up quickly can be a life saver. Remain proactive and ensure that you don’t reject any potential new recruits, but rather keep their details on file for future reference.


  1. Make key hires first to get support with the recruiting process


Key hires are crucial in building out your team. Before you start looking for waitstaff and casual workers, be sure to make the key hires like venue managers and supervisors. These people will not only be able to run your venue if you yourself fall victim to the ‘pingdemic’, but they will be able to help you with the ongoing hiring process too.


Retaining these people is one of the most important priorities, as they can be the life force of a venue. Some of the key ways to retain these people are with competitive pay rates, flexible hours and staff bonuses that will keep them happy and thriving. 


Ongoing career support and training is also a vital component of what keeps people happy in these managerial roles. Where possible, look to give team members a thorough onboarding process and ensure that they feel supported and able to do their job. Technology like Yoello can simplify their roles and streamline processes like mobile ordering, stock take and marketing to ensure that they are empowered to do their job from day one.


  1. Look for ‘career’ hospitality workers


One of the key reasons that hospitality venues find it hard to retain staff is that most people view hospitality as a passing, casual job role. Many people in the UK use hospitality as a halfway house between roles, or a first job that they can balance alongside study. There is nothing wrong with this at all, but for longevity and staff retention, it’s best to balance this kind of casual worker with those who are ‘career’ hospitality workers.


Career waiters and hospitality workers are people who have assessed their options, and decided that a long term career in hospitality is for them. During the interview phase, asking questions about aspirations and future plans is a good way to gauge whether someone is a career hospitality worker or more of a casual worker. 


This should help you decide where to place them in your business, so that you don’t put too much pressure or responsibility on those team members who will always leave. An ideal team will have a healthy balance of key career hospitality workers, and then more casual workers who are happy to pick up shifts as and when it suits.



  1. Support the younger generations with training


Lots of young people are now entering into hospitality with a fresh set of eyes and are considering their options. As a business owner and leader, it is your job to inspire the next generation of hospitality workers so that they can assess whether a career in hospitality is for them.


A great way to do this is by mapping out a career pathway for your staff, and offering training that will help them get to where they want to go. By doing the groundwork and offering staff training at every level, you will set yourself up for the future and create a stronger workforce who are more likely to stay loyal to your business.



  1. Utilise technology that can help you cover yourselves 


Building an amazing team isn’t always easy, and it can definitely take time. Whilst there can be no replacement for great people, technology can help take the pressure off in times where you may have staff shortages.


With mobile ordering technology like Yoello, staff have less work to do and are able to put the ordering process in the palm of the customer’s hands. This frees up time for other tasks and ensures that even on the days when you are short staffed, no one feels overwhelmed. 


Tech is also very helpful in the times when you are fully staffed, as it helps to streamline processes and make things easier on wait staff. This ultimately will make the job more enjoyable and hopefully encourage people to remain in the industry.

Georgia Coombs
September 23, 2021

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