8 Ways to overcome staff shortages in hospitality

Overcome staff shortages in hospitality

Staff shortages in hospitality have become an industry-wide challenge. For businesses to thrive post-pandemic, understanding the best ways to attract and retain staff is essential.

This article looks at different ways to hire great staff, as well as strategies to advertise, boost morale and improve efficiency.

The need to overcome hospitality staff shortages

Throughout the pandemic, almost 80% of workers in the hospitality industry were put on furlough. This resulted in people seeking jobs in different industries. Furthermore, over 1 million people left the UK in 2020, with 30% of these expected to be hospitality workers.

The loss of hospitality workers in the UK has resulted in a shortage of around 188,000 workers across the country, with front-of-house and chefs being the positions needing filling most.

As shortages continue to present challenges for those in the hospitality industry, businesses rely on their ability to attract and retain staff.

8 ways to overcome staff shortages in hospitality

1. Advertise in the right places

Make sure you advertise in the right places, capturing your target market’s attention. Here are some of the best places to advertise hospitality job vacancies:

  • Local press, such as newspapers and magazines
  • Free websites such as Gumtree
  • Hospitality job boards or trade press
  • Open days at your hospitality venue
  • In the windows of your premises
  • On local Facebook groups
  • On your social media channels

When advertising positions, make sure you explain the role in detail, as well as the benefits of working for your hospitality business.

Job interview for hospitality

2. Hire wisely

While it’s important to have the minimum number of staff to fulfil essential roles, it’s also important to make sure you hire staff that have long-term potential to prevent staff shortages in the future.

After all, training a member of the team up and having them leave shortly after is likely to cause further challenges.

Make sure whoever you hire is suitable for the job and that they have the skills or attributes that you require, even if some training is needed.

3. Train well

Great hospitality staff training is the key to building a team of proficient and positive people. Make sure staff are given all of the tools that they need to learn their roles and responsibilities, giving them the confidence to hit the ground running.

Training can be done in person, or even remotely with personalised video training. 

How to find right staff

4. Build a good reputation and working environment

Create a positive working environment to grow the number of people wanting to work in your establishment. This is a great way to encourage people to join your team over competitors’ businesses and overcome staff shortages.

These top tips will help you to create a desirable workplace: 

  • Pay well
  • Introduce incentives
  • Encourage teamwork
  • Take feedback on board
  • Think of ways to make work enjoyable for employees
  • Be fair with expectations and make sure there are enough staff
Overcome staff shortages in hospitality

5. Good staff retention

By creating an enjoyable environment for hospitality staff to work in, you are more likely to keep your best staff. This is vital to ensure success in hospitality, as it can be very difficult to find the right hospitality workers.

By keeping staff retention as high as possible, you are able to reduce the costs of advertising new roles, while having stability and building a positive workplace culture.

6. Ask staff for ideas

What better way to find out where your business can improve, than to ask the people in the thick of it? Ask your hospitality staff for ideas that could improve the business’ operations, as well as for feedback on things that could help them to do their jobs better.

While this will give you valuable ideas to help overcome staff shortages, this will also involve your team and make sure everybody feels listened to.

7. Create a referral scheme

By creating a positive working environment for your team, you increase the likelihood of staff referrals. It can even be worth incentivising staff to spread the word of any vacancies with a ‘refer a friend’ scheme.

8. Improve efficiency

While staff shortages in hospitality may present challenges, it is important to be as efficient as possible. If you are able to boost efficiency, even when you are short-staffed, you will be able to provide outstanding customer experiences.

Ways to improve efficiency include:

  • Setting priorities
  • Streamlining communication
  • Alleviating work where possible (e.g. allowing hotel guests to opt out of room cleaning during their stay)
  • Automation

Summary – Stay a step ahead of staff shortages

Despite staff shortages in hospitality, you are able to increase staff levels even in the most difficult of times. By following these 8 tips, you can become a desirable hospitality venue to work in and promote vacancies effectively.