4 Ways to Attract and Recruit Hospitality Staff

A robust hospitality recruiting approach is crucial, as the quality of staff can significantly impact a hotel or restaurant's reputation. The hospitality industry is known for its high employee turnover rate, making the discovery and retention of top-tier talent a critical success factor.

Why does hospitality recruiting pose such a challenge? The simple answer is that roles in hotels and restaurants are demanding. These challenges are amplified by factors such as low pay, limited benefits, late working hours, and job insecurity. Employees often have to deal with disgruntled customers and, in some cases, endure harsh treatment. These elements can make the process of recruiting for the hospitality industry strenuous and time-intensive.

However, it doesn't always have to be this way. What exactly can you do to attract qualified and reliable hospitality staff? Here are a few strategies to try.

1. Harness the Power of Word of Mouth and Social Media

A thriving work environment is the best recruitment magnet, with current employees serving as the most effective advocates.

You can motivate your team to act as brand champions. Request them to share their experiences and reasons for enjoying their work at your organization on your social media platforms, or to provide feedback on company review sites like Glassdoor.

However, it's crucial to remember that social media is a double-edged sword. Transparency and genuineness are key — any perceived dishonesty can be quickly identified and challenged by employees or customers.

Additional Tips:

  • Employee Referral Programs: Implement an employee referral program that rewards staff for recommending potential candidates. This not only encourages word of mouth but also ensures that your employees will recommend individuals they believe will fit well within the company culture.
  • Social Media Contests: Run social media contests through platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok where employees can share their favorite work moments or experiences. This not only boosts engagement but also showcases your company culture to potential recruits.
  • LinkedIn: Encourage employees to share job postings on their LinkedIn profiles. This can help reach a wider audience and attract potential candidates who may not be actively looking but are open to new opportunities.
  • Employee Testimonials: Share employee testimonials on your social media platforms. This gives potential candidates a glimpse into the work environment and the experiences of current employees.
  • Transparency: Be open about both the positives and challenges of working in your organization. This honesty will be appreciated by potential candidates and can help attract those who are a good fit for your company culture.

2. Embrace flexible staffing platforms and apps

Businesses can no longer afford to confine themselves to traditional staffing options. Many of the workers who left hospitality early in the pandemic – perhaps millions of them – will only return via newer, more flexible arrangements.

Platforms like Instawork offer a pool of hospitality workers ready and looking for work. From categories such as food & beverage to stadium events, thousands of workers are signed up on these platforms looking for different roles and are waiting to be staffed. Important features to consider when recruiting for hospitality workers through a flexible staffing platform:

  1. Quantity of workers: Are there enough hospitality workers on the platform looking for work? Are these workers readily available in your location of business?
  2. Quality of workers: Worker quality is of utmost importance. How comprehensive is the vetting process? Are you confident that if you bring them in, they'll do a good job to maintain your business reputation?
  3. Reliability of the platform: If you post shifts looking for workers to fill, can you expect the shifts to be booked (especially if volume is large)? What things are being done though the platform to prevent no-shows?
  4. Convenience, ease of use of the platform: How easy is to recruit hospitality workers? How fast can shifts be filled? Is there a mobile app to help facilitate recruitment?

3. Offer various options for short-term, recurring, and permanent roles for a layered approach

Today most hospitality businesses have payrolls that span two major categories of work: on-and-off shifts for temporary workers who fill in when needed, and fixed schedules for permanent employees who stay with the business indefinitely.

With hospitality, demand shifts as seasons pass. Businesses have to forecast what demand will be in order to calibrate the number of shifts available for workers, which can be difficult as temporary work can shift at a given time. To escape this inefficient situation, consider an alternative: the layered approach. This business could fill the same number of hours by splitting the shifts for temporary workers into two different categories, in addition to the shifts for its permanent employees.

  • Short-term workers come in on short notice when required by demand; they may work as little as one shift at a time; many will work as independent contractors without benefits.
  • Recurring workers have access to a group of shifts that doesn’t change much from month to month; these are experienced workers who work regularly but without a fixed schedule; they know the business and can fill in for permanent employees who may be ill or on vacation; their benefits depend on their working hours and terms of employment.
  • Permanent workers are the most experienced and occupy the most important roles; they set standards, carry institutional memory, and can train and manage others; their compensation includes the full benefits that correspond to their status.

Not only would this attract different talent looking for a variety of options, the layered approach provides advantages captures all of the advantages of traditional strategies for staffing and a few more.

4. Think outside the box with benefits

There’s no way around it: pay needs to be competitive. Many companies — including Amazon and Chipotle — have boosted wages for hourly workers. But cash isn’t the only element in a competitive compensation package.

With a lack of stable, affordable childcare keeping many people — especially women — at home, more and more companies are beginning to offer childcare benefits. The perk is even gaining momentum for hourly workers in the hospitality and light industrial industries, as companies like Starbucks offer childcare benefits, and industry groups hold events like Moms in Manufacturing

This doesn’t mean you have to go and build an onsite daycare center, though — there are plenty of ways to offer childcare benefits that don’t break the bank. Companies like Care.com, Bright Horizons, and others offer employee childcare solutions like subsidized childcare and backup care, but you can also offer monthly stipends if you want to keep it simple.

Another unique option is transportation benefits. Many job seekers rule out positions further away from where they’re located simply because the money they’d have to spend on gas, public transit, or a rideshare service would take too big of a bite out of their paycheck. Even for workers who do live close, commuting costs still add up over time. Offering a transportation stipend, or even outright paying for rides, can help allay those concerns — which can significantly expand your potential labor pool.

While finding great hospitality staff can undoubtedly be difficult, it’s far from impossible. Figure out how to distinguish your workplace from the others — whether that’s by recruiting on social media, offering bonuses, providing unique benefits, choosing flexible staffing, or something else altogether — and you’ll have a much easier time recruiting the hospitality staff you need.