I was delighted to be one of the guest hosts for this mornings IOH in Conversation on Employee Essentials, together with guest host Clif Francis, Operations Manager at Lexington Catering and our main host Sam Coulstock, Head of Professional Development at the Institute of Hospitality. The topics of discussion were about fair pay, staff meals, working conditions, culture and job hunting.
Throughout our discussion we looked at how we attract staff into our industry through paying a fair wage, providing meals on duty and how we look after our employees through the working conditions we have on offer. With the staffing crisis we are currently going through many hospitality establishments have the demand from their guests, but are not in a position to meet this demand due to not having enough staff. Some operators have had to reduce their trading to ensure that the guests they have can be looked after with the same high levels of service.
With the cost of living increasing, providing accommodation is a real opportunity that hospitality operators should be considering. Daniel Thompson, General Manager at Mullion Cove Hotel and Spa in Cornwall, shared that their hotel has just bought a property which they are converting into staff accommodation. From this their employees will be provided with three meals a day, Wifi, TV license and utilities all included. A key way to attract staff and look after them.
The discussion moved on to explore job hunting and the employer and employee perspectives of experience versus loyalty. This led us to look at how well we actually know our employees and seeing how to personalise how we look after them. Like our guest, our employees are all individuals and have different needs. Caroline Cooper from Naturally Loyal, mentioned that benefits from organisations such as Perk Box may not be suitable as not every employee will want what is on offer. This then becomes an additional expense for the organisation, and is of no benefit to the individual employees. Daniel mentioned how he knew that one of his employees loved Sweet Peas. So he bought a bunch from his garden and gave them to her, and she was absolutely thrilled as it reminded her of her late husband. A small gesture that costs nothing, but something that can be only done when you know your staff.
Clif mentioned the coffee chats his organisation has to check how employees are doing, and seeing if they need any additional support. Ursula Boardman from The Crumbs Project shared about her trainees who have diverse needs and how they be can looked after when being introduced in to an organisation. Having a buddy or specific individual a new employee can work with can be reassuring for less confident members of the team.
The key points raised were the importance of how we recruit our staff, being clear on what we offer. How to look after our staff and to have a culture that will allow us to do that. If you were unable to attend and want to hear the full conversation, the IOH In Conversation on Employee Essentials was recorded and can be watched on this link.
More information, tips and advice on the above, can be found in my Star Quality Book Trilogy. In my Star Quality Hospitality book I look at how important it is to look after our customers, and this means both the internal customer as well as the external customer. We need to be delivering random acts of kindness to our staff as well as our guests. Ways that this can be done can be found in my Star Quality Experience book. By looking after our staff we can show what a great industry this is to work in. My third book Star Quality Talent explores the hospitality skills needed to be able to thrive and the opportunities available.