Over the last 12 months there has been a noticeable shift in the ability to draw staff and then retain them. 12 months ago we could see potential staff venue-knocking to find employment, and yet now we have a lack in available staff. There is a huge deficiency in the available chefs and bar staff and this has led to many large pubs having an open requirement for 10 extra staff.

Well I believe that the principles for attracting and retaining staff are the same in any industry and here is what I’ve found in my own company.

 Get some Action!

If attracting and then retaining staff is your biggest issue, the best thing to do is set up a monthly meeting focused on that! Create an agenda surrounding the issues at hand and brainstorm actionable tasks that will steadily improve the situation. Just remember, that there may not be the one single mission that is going to miraculously cure your venue. Be patient and ready to accept any and every idea, piece of feedback or suggestion. And be prepared to put the wheels in motion for more than one action. Something else you could consider would be to include multiple venue owners in the region in this meeting.

Do you have an online presence?

With the steady increase in demand for hospitality, has come a steady increase in available jobs for potential staff to choose from. Previously, people were happy just to have a job in the hospitality industry and weren’t picky about where the job was. Now it’s a different story.

We need to make sure our online presence screams at them that there is no better place to work. Have some great photography and content that rightly expresses the company culture and don’t forget any perks that your town or region has. Job ads need to stand out to potential staff, so bring your online presence up – this could include your facebook page, website, Google places listing, Zomato (or any other review site). Anything that comes up when your name is searched should be another avenue to arm future staff with reasons why they must work at your venue.

Where is your Company Culture at?

Now we are talking. Culture would have to be the biggest factor in retaining talent. Everybody is only human, and we all want to feel like we are a part of something special. We all want to feel like we are making a difference and we want to be trusted. Culture is something I feel very strongly about and I believe Trust, Transparency and Flexibility from the very top of your staff hierarchy are the 3 biggest concepts to improve company culture and retain top staff.

Trust. Simply put, place trust in your staff and they will look after what is yours. It comes down to the small things, like taking out your Range Rover to collect the mail. Show them you trust them and they will in turn do everything to protect you.

Transparency in everything is so important! Give your staff access to all the numbers, might not be right down to your Balance Sheet, but at least anything you are measuring – let them see it. You will be surprised how this can motivate the team to get those numbers moving for you. As I mentioned earlier, people want to make a difference and this is no different – they will make a difference to the numbers! Alongside the numbers comes transparency in decision making. Be completely transparent with business plans and bring the entire team into them. Better yet, include the whole team in management meetings. Don’t forget: it can be the cleaner that comes up with the best strategy for moving the company onwards and upwards.

And don’t forget to be Flexible with your staff with things like work hours etc. Put your staff in charge of themselves. It may be hard to do this at first, but if you are flexible with your team, they will bend over backwards for you and your company when its required.

Another way that I have found to boost Company Culture is setting up a group WhatsApp chat with every team member on it. Share the wins, give due praise to people and share issues when required. This facilitates a social environment within the company so they feel like they are part of something bigger than just what their raw job description describes. Your team will become a family.

Hold monthly one-on-one meetings with all your team members and help them through any issues they may be facing. Give them feedback – both good and bad – so that they know where their strengths lie and the areas they can improve on. If you don’t tell them, they’ll never know.

Going hand-in-hand with Culture is Atmosphere

Lets keep it simple: Make your Venue the best in the region.

The price to massively improve the atmosphere in a venue is small on the scale of what it can do to assist in the attraction and retention of staff. Have a look around. Does your venue need a fresh coat of paint, new lighting or new furniture? Or maybe its getting tired and needs a rebrand? You are the one that knows the answer to this question better than anyone else. If you’re unsure, the best people to talk to are the current staff members you have. Ask them what they like about the venue and what they would change if the venue was theirs.

These are a few pointers I have learnt along the way and I love to share my own insight. If you would like to have a chat about any of this, please feel free to reach out.

Elton Fawkes – Marketing & HR Director