As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact labor availability, businesses need to understand how to source and retain employees if they want to weather the crisis. While many former hospitality workers have turned to industries that offer remote work opportunities, there are still plenty of people out there with specialized hospitality experience who would return to the industry if conditions improved.
In many cases, these conditions include better or more stable wages, more flexibility around scheduling, better work-life balance to promote mental health and a more positive company culture. Understanding what employees want and expect from their jobs and employers—and effectively delivering on those demands—is key to boosting employee retention.
Once a company has made the decision to enact some of these new policies, whether it's raising wages, implementing a PTO policy or investing in programs to improve the company culture, the next step is figuring out how to effectively source employees.
One of the easiest ways to spread the word about your company’s open positions is to promote them within your brick-and-mortar shop or place of business. We’ve all seen signs posted in restaurant windows or on shop doors advertising roles for immediate hire. But it never hurts to take this a step further by posting open positions on a job listing site or working with a recruiting agency.
That said, one of the most effective—and cost-efficient—ways to source new candidates is to incentivize your current team members to refer potential new employees. Research has shown staff referrals tend to result in better-quality hires. This could be because employees are more likely to refer candidates they feel will do well at the job—a bad candidate would reflect badly on them, after all. Whatever the reason, though, most hiring experts will agree that a referral system is one of the best ways to attract new talent. A system with strong incentives, like cash bonuses or paid time off for every successful hire, also encourages your existing employees to stick around.
In addition to sourcing new talent, businesses also need to think about how they can retain these employees during these challenging times. As mentioned above, decent wages and flexibility can go a long way in encouraging staff to stay onboard. So does improving workplace culture. This can include steps such as making more of an effort to recognize and reward hard-working employees, encouraging staff to take vacation, promoting communication between staff and management, and inviting employees to regularly share feedback on the work environment and company culture.
Related: Can past pandemics help reveal COVID-19’s silver lining for businesses?