A note from Cally, our Head Coach, CLASSOF68…

The Caterer got it right, the hospitality crisis continues to be a brain drain.  They recently published a report discussing the ongoing struggle to recruit within the hospitality industry. 

I had to respond to this, after all, myself and Sixty Eight People have the answers – CLASSOF68. We really are in the middle of a huge culture change in hospitality. Some of it has been forced upon us, but we’re here, now, in the eye of it.  We notice leadership teams looking to solve today’s issues with yesterday’s approach/solutions and it’s not going to work. It’s time to tailor our approach to the current reality and not the past. 

One of things that has been prevalent, especially post pandemic, is the willingness companies now have to spend money on training people on wellbeing and mental health first aid. It’s fantastic and a much-needed step forward. But alone, it won’t be the answer. Managers that haven’t been shown how to be leaders; how to manage their time and their teams, will always be fighting an losing battle against burnout and poor culture. 

We need to revolutionise our industry. The time is now and it starts with the superstars that have remained loyal. We need to place our focus on them, not on those who joined the “mass exodus”… Here’s how we can put them first and at the same time put a stop to the brain drain! 

As Hannah Plumb, Culture and Talent Director at The Alchemist puts it, “The people are there, it’s retaining them now that matters!

Up-skilling our current managers

As an industry, we’ve been notoriously bad when it comes to dedicating time to immersing new talent into the industry.  The ‘lack of courtesy’ is, unfortunately, a tone we have set. We haven’t always given people our time and energy at interview and onboarding stages and now we’re on the receiving end of it – we don’t like it. We need to lead by example from here on in and model the behavior we want to see. 

That’s solved by up-skilling existing managers. Being able to recruit ‘properly’ is something we can teach, a learnable skill which will equip leadership teams to put recruitment first. No longer can we rely on experience when recruiting but we can focus on aptitude and attitude. If someone with little experience in the industry shows the tenacity to join in such a turbulent time then the very least we can do is give them our time as soon as they show interest in a role. Get recruitment right (if we don’t we stand no chance in tackling the “brain drain”) and the rest will follow. Promise.  

Shout about how you reward your existing teams 

The offering has to be better. We need to widen the talent pool and to do that we need to be attractive as an industry. Shout about your current employee perks! If this idea makes you nervous… it’s time to improve them. We’re not talking 25 days holiday and cake on birthdays but we KNOW employers are offering unique incentives to join them… 4 day weeks, pawternity leave, capped hours – the list is endless, why wait until the interview stage to shout about these? 

In an employee market, you have to stand out. You’re probably going to have to stick your neck out and try things that haven’t been the norm. Step away from the usual process, ask your current superstars why they like to work with you then share that message far and wide. Good talent attracts good talent. 

Appreciation for dedication

Managers are indeed being promoted quickly but now they hold those positions, let’s give them the skills and appreciation that they need to flourish. 

Appreciation can be shown in many different ways but one of the biggest ways is giving people time, sharing your experience and insights showing employees the same dedication that they’ve shown you. Training is the answer. And I know that’s easier said than done with limited time and the cost of everything rocketing. But I don’t see another way. There is no easy fix to this and collectively we have a lot of work to do to rebuild the talent pool. ‘Poaching each other’s staff’ is not solving the problem long term and a mass of experienced hospo humans aren’t suddenly going to appear. 

You only have to look at what companies like Dishoom are doing with projects like their Kitchen Academy. Their award winning L&D has no doubt played a large part in earning them their place as a top hospitality employer. (Glassdoor Best Places to work, 2022 // Excellence in Learning and Development, HR in Hospitality Awards 2021). I should also mention that they’ve done incredible initiatives around employee well being and mental health too – it really can, and should, go hand in hand. 

We have to invest – train, develop & reward the people we’ve got and use training and time as a tool to allow us to take on people we maybe wouldn’t have previously considered.

If these new managers remain loyal as a result, which a lot of them will, they’ll be training more junior managers in no time & showing the same dedication and appreciation that you once showed them. 

And it’s not just us that think so. We asked some hospo people leaders what they thought the answers to the biggest issues are…

…”now more than ever it’s important that you look after your people … and give them opportunities to developAshley Stevenson, Head of People at NQ64

Leadership training will definitely help with that challenge…by empowering managers to coach and train and develop people on the job it will naturally benefit the business as a whole.” Jules Furnival, Head of People at Escape to Freight Island.

Join our revolution. It’s time to make the brain drain stop.  We’re with you every step of the way and can provide every level of support you require. Whether it’s recruiting superstars, training your existing teams or to provide consultancy. We got you. Drop us a message via our contact page if we can help.