Human resources in the hospitality industry
The hospitality sector encompasses many types of businesses, including pubs, restaurants, bars, hotels, nightclubs, theme parks, caterers, and travel and tourism.
All of these rely upon having a good reputation for delivering innovation, quality, and value to customers.
The hospitality industry is the fourth biggest employer in the UK, sustaining 4.49million workers in 2017, contributing £57bn to UK GDP totals.
Discipline and grievance procedures in hospitality
Hospitality suffers from a unique mix of circumstances that combine to increase instances of disciplinary and grievances due to:
- Immaturity and lack of work experience increased exposure through risk-taking and lack of ethics
- A diverse mix of backgrounds causes issues with integration and acceptance
- Lower pay and incentives lead to employee apathy
- Higher than average numbers of employees who are afforded additional protection from discrimination law
The impact of Brexit on the hospitality industry
Unfortunately, the industry suffers from a severe skills shortage, which is likely to be exacerbated by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Over 700,000 people currently being employed are from EU member states, which translates to around one-quarter of the entire UK hospitality workforce.
Depending on the deal reached with the EU regarding foreign workers and visa requirements, the industry could conceivably contract in terms of volume, although estimates suggest the opposite will be true. The work pool from the EU is, however, likely to drop considerably due to:
- The fall in the value of Sterling against EU denominations results in the UK being seen as a less favourable place to work, compared to other European destinations
- Whilst there is likely to be an allowance for foreign workers into the UK post-Brexit, it is unlikely that this will apply to workers at the lower ends of the pay spectrum
Employing foreign workers through “Right to Work”
The hospitality sector has a diverse workforce which adds an onus on employers to ensure that foreign workers have the correct right to work documentation. Additionally, organisations need to implement and undertaken robust checks on employees that meet the accompanying legislation.
Breaches of the rules result in significant fines, which more than eclipse the cost in the maintenance of procedures needed to ensure compliance.
Working time directive
The working time directive was introduced EU wide in an effort to promote the health and safety of workers and help protect their rights during employment.
The directive limits the maximum weekly working hours to 48, as well as ensuring annual holiday entitlement and minimum rest periods during the day.
As is common in many service industries, shift patterns need to reflect the fluctuation in demand for certain services and a dynamic workforce is required to match.
The UK does possess an opt-out from the working time directive but this is not mandatory, it is therefore important that you manage your resources effectively whilst ensuring you comply with the law.
Recruitment in the hospitality sector
Recruitment is an expensive activity. If employees are resigning or being dismissed in the first 12 months of employment, it would usually indicate that poor recruitment and induction programmes are in place. The value of specialist recruitment, adequate job descriptions, robust induction and training cannot be underestimated.
Human resource recruitment specialists cannot solve recruitments challenges single handily but the utilisation of a trusted stream of workers in a highly competitive market is certainly advantageous.
Entry level recruits to the industry may come with little work experience, let alone industry knowledge. For many employees, this will be their first foray into the working life.
It is essential that pre-employment screening and background checks are utilised to reduce the potential for “bad apples” from being employed.
The effect of seasonality on recruitment in the hospitality industry
Although each specialism differs, in most cases the hospitality industry peaks in terms of utilisation and occupancy during the summer months.
As an example:
The hotel industry in the UK experiences 12.5% of all overnight stays during August, which is over double the rate seen in January to March. This picture is further complicated by the annual changing patterns of the Easter break, which makes employment planning difficult.
Retention of staff in the hospitality industry
The British Hospitality Association expects employment in the sector to increase by a further 100,000 by 2020. In an industry which has already seen the second biggest increases in employment in percentage terms since the financial crisis, the importance of retention will become even astute.
Employees need to feel valued and know how they are contributing to the overall objectives of the business. Employees leaving for better job opportunities or those being dismissed on grounds of capability are often as a consequence of limited training and motivation.
Promotions and incentives
It is not always feasible to promote workers that excel but it is possible to facilitate sideways moves to allow employees to gain new skills and improve their knowledge base.
Employee remuneration has fine margins in this sector but there are ways to show you value your employees through total compensation packages that focus on achievements and productivity.
Health and safety in hospitality
The hospitality industry is labour intensive and has the added risk of being in direct contact with the general public, both of which increase the risks associated with health and safety and liability for infringements.
It is essential that employees are adequately trained in all areas of health and safety. There is even greater importance if your business is involved with food and beverages or in high-risk activities such as excursions and sporting activities.
Uneducated and inadequately trained employees are likely to increase a business’s susceptibility to claims from its customers, from instances such as:
- Poor hygiene
- Incorrectly stored, prepared and served food
- Poorly maintained equipment
- Breaches of health and safety guidelines
Would you like to know more about specialist HR services for the hospitality industry? Contact us today on 0330 555 2555.