It’s all change for managing and recruiting employees this year: embrace the gig economy, allow staff to set their own hours, and turn up the transparency. In short, break all the rules, says Jane Sunley
Winning the war for talent is a key priority for every hospitality business, so following some of the best rules for engagement will reap real business rewards. Here are Purple Cubed’s top 10 strategic recommendations for your people plan in 2019.
1 Put an emphasis on the employee experience
The potential to deliver high-quality customer experiences is limited by an organisation’s ability to engage and retain the right people, who do the right things and aim to exceed expectations with enthusiasm. Paying increasingly more attention to the employee experience is key in 2019.
• Avoid assuming that senior managers know best when it comes to improving the employee experience – find out what your people think, using surveys or groups, or just ask them.
• Work out what’s feasible – this is rarely really about money and perks, it’s usually cultural and about lack of clarity around purpose, how things are done, the resources available, leadership capability and so on.
• Manage expectations. Start simply, identify the quick wins and build from there. It’s better to improve one thing significantly than to over-promise.
2 Retention over recruitment
Investing in engagement and retention rather than continuing to pour time, money and effort into recruiting is nothing new, though companies should stop talking about this and seriously start doing it.
• Make sure that leaders at all levels fully understand and deliver on employee engagement and retention.
• Put simple yet comprehensive tools and techniques in place to make this as easy as possible for them. Look for the quick wins and build.
• Keep doing it, as part of your DNA – this is not a series of ‘initiatives’.
3 Resourceful resourcing
Recruiting passive candidates (those who are in employment and not actively looking to change) has been on the increase for the past few years, though now this will ramp up with increased use of social platforms, virtual and actual networking and referral schemes.
• Look for recruitment opportunities in every interaction (keep it honourable, sensible and ethical, because those things matter to your target candidates).
• Be prepared to take on ‘right fit’ aspirants when you find them, even though you might have to create specific opportunities for them.
• Hire fast and with conviction – you snooze, you lose.
4 Turn up the trust
Today’s employee values trust, authenticity and transparency, yet either consciously or inadvertently, trust is easily lost through lack of communication, lack of assertiveness when it comes to ‘saying things the way they are’ or through over-control of the release of information.
• Ensure every leader at every level understands the importance of building trust, is committed to delivering on it and knows how to fix things if there are (inevitable) lapses.
• Make communication as simple, clear and unambiguous as possible – always check understanding.
• Deliver on your promises (or don’t make them).
5 The marketing mix
A marketing mix, as you will probably know, is ‘a combination of factors that can be controlled by a company to influence consumers to purchase its products’. Thinking about the need to influence job seekers to work for your company, the importance of appealing marketing when it comes to HR is obvious.
• Keep messages clear around ‘who we are’, ‘what we do’ and ‘what we stand for’ – internally and externally.
• Be aware that the ‘dream’ you’re selling must be matched by the reality.
• Align employer and consumer brands so that your teams are super-clear on what they’re delivering and to whom.
6 Be more flexible
Today’s employee will expect to be able to define a working arrangement that will support their lifestyle; influence over how, where or when they work. For some, this is about working from home, working part-time, job sharing, or, in an out of office hours environment, simply having some control over their scheduled hours and rota.
• Work with leaders at all levels to be open to the possibility of doing things differently, even though that may involve relinquishing control (think employee-led rotas, parent shifts, home working and so on…).
• Consult your people to find out what they’d value and how they’d make this work. Avoid over promising – establish clear ground rules.
• Review progress and adjust as you go – the world changes fast and you’ll need to remain flexible to keep up.
7 Gear up to gig
The move towards a more agile workforce will continue this year. This provides employers with opportunities to call up giggers to fill skill and work gaps.
• When people leave your organisation, instead of automatically replacing them like for like, look for opportunities to do things differently (many qualified and capable people will ‘gig’ now because it suits their lifestyles).
• Use the emerging gig workforce as way to enable more flexible working for your permanent teams.
• Think through why, what and how you want things done. This is not the time for 50 company policies; think about the priorities and outcomes required – clarity and brevity are key.
8 Integraion indispensability
Digitising the people stuff is essential, yet organisations are still playing catch up and being bedazzled by the array of apps and digital tools that have entered the marketplace. Everyone needs functional HR software, such as payroll, database and so on, but it’s the strategic side where the real value-add will come.
• Identify innovative supplier partners that will work with you to ensure their products achieve your desired outcomes.
• Do your homework when it comes to purpose, user appeal, flexibility, ease of implementation, support, longevity, expertise (in your field), and responsiveness (mobile first design).
• Make sure your products can integrate with data systems (such as payroll) and that you can achieve ‘single sign-on’ to access everything via one channel.
9 Stretch schemes for grads
Today’s graduates seek flexibility and control over their progress and learning. They are, of course, tech savvy and generally more open to change. They are also discerning about where they work.
• Enable people to drive their own progress through their graduate scheme, measuring outputs (such as completed learning/experiences/projects/business improvements) so they can complete their scheme in a shorter or longer time than the norm, depending on how fast they learn and how much effort they put in.
• Take an individual approach to content. Does every grad really have to work in every department just because that’s the way it’s always been done? Find out where their interests lie, allow them to concentrate on that as their ‘majors’, and apply a light touch to other areas.
• Use tech to enable grads to drive and track their own progress, request sign off, plan their next phase, and to allow supervisors to sign off on advancements made, providing transparency along the journey.
10 Kindness is king
There is a cost-free way to rapidly improve business results, positivity in the workplace, productivity and wellbeing. Being ‘nice’ used to be considered weak; in 2019, as boundaries between work and home life blur, the kinder workplace will win the talent war.
• Lead by example – kindness is infectious. Small acts, such as a hello in the corridor, making a new person feel welcome, treating supply partners like customers, make an impact that is disproportionately larger than the effort put in.
• Go all out to rid the workplace of negativity and gossip – people will soon get the message if you operate ‘zero tolerance’. Ban negative emails in favour of direct constructive feedback.
• Deal with saboteurs.
Enter Best Places to Work in Hospitality 2019
There is just one month left to enter the Best Places to Work in Hospitality 2019, the awards that recognise the Top 30 employers in the sector.
Run in partnership with Purple Cubed and sponsored by Umbrella Training, the awards shine a spotlight on those who demonstrate exceptional skill at employee engagement and empower their staff to deliver improvements.
Entries close on 15 February and all employee surveys must be completed by 28 February for businesses to be considered for the Top 30 Best Places to Work in Hospitality.
Those entering not only benefit from all the insight from their unique employee report, but will also feature in the Top 30 hospitality employers list, which sets a business apart as an employer of choice.
Operators who make the Top 30 will also gain a free place at the People Summit 2019 at the British Library on 15 May. What’s more, the six highest achievers will be shortlisted for the Best Employer Catey.