By Maria Gorbatschova
Die Mitarbeitersuche ist eine der größten Herausforderungen, mit denen unsere Branche aktuell konfrontiert ist. Die Corona-Pandemie und die damit verbundenen temporären Betriebsschließungen haben einige der Probleme sichtbar gemacht, die die Gastronomie seit Jahren hat. Die Branche hat in dieser Zeit viele Arbeitnehmer an andere Berufe verloren. Das Ende der Pandemie bedeutet allerdings nicht, dass sich die Lage langfristig entspannt. Das Problem betrifft auch keinesfalls die GastronoFinding suitable staff is one of the biggest challenges currently facing our industry. The coronavirus pandemic and associated temporary closures have highlighted some of the problems that the hospitality industry has been facing for years. The industry has lost many workers to other professions during this time. However, the end of the pandemic does not mean that the situation will ease over the long term. Nor is this by any means a problem that only affects the hospitality industry.
The Institute for Employment Research (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung) estimates that the German labour market could shrink by up to 7 million workers by 2035. Many sectors are already complaining about a shortage of skilled labour. In city centres, companies are increasingly not only aiming their advertising campaigns at products, but also at soliciting staff. This means that the hospitality industry is now competing with other sectors over the ever-shorter supply of qualified staff. Many of these sectors are also able to offer better pay and more employee-friendly working conditions.
So how do we recruit (and retain) staff? By professionalising the jobs of bartenders and service staff. By running bars the way that reputable businesses should be run: with a clear strategy, open lines of communication and fair pay. By showcasing and enabling long and successful careers in hospitality in order to make our profession more attractive for applicants and able to compete with other sectors.
To help with this, I have compiled 10 tips to make the recruitment process easier.
01. Take Stock
Before starting your search, it can sometimes be helpful to take a critical look at your company’s staffing history. What points of criticism have former employees made? Is there a policy of open, friendly communication? How do pay and benefits relate to what is expected of staff? If there were problematic employees in the past, why were they hired and how could they have been weeded out during the application process? It is important to draw conclusions from past mistakes.
02. Be clear about who you are actually looking for
In times when staff are in short supply, it may instinctively feel right to fill positions as quickly as possible. But you should take a moment to reflect beforehand: What qualities am I looking for? What experience does the applicant need to have? Such an analysis will help you to write a compelling job description and to address applicants in a targeted way. The job description should also include any benefits that might be a draw for potential employees.
03. Leverage social media
The majority of bars utilise social media in some form or another. Ideally, your social media account already conveys the corporate culture, values and product portfolio. This way, applicants can already get a feel for whether they are a good fit for the place. A well-maintained website makes it possible to access a large pool of potential applicants quite easily, especially if the job offer is shared by others.
04. Conduct job interviews in a targeted way
Based on the job profile outlined in the first steps, define core attributes that candidates should bring to the position. Using targeted questions can help you elicit whether applicants have the desired qualities. A CV alone does not necessarily say anything about qualities such as empathy or the ability to work in a team, or whether an applicant has good organisational skills and is good with numbers. For a bar manager position, for example, all these skills would be essential.
05. Be clear about who you are not looking for
The goal of recruitment is not just to fill positions, but to build a stable, functioning team. This is only possible with targeted selection. An employee with a lack of soft skills, a negative mindset, a problematic ego or a lack of gastronomic talent can destabilise a team and even cause others to quit. After the trial period, be sure to get the team’s feedback and take it seriously.
06. Be Flexible
Particularly in the hospitality sector, employees are required to be very flexible. It makes sense to offer them flexibility in return to make yourself attractive to employees. For example, by offering 4-day weeks, part-time solutions or a flexible shift schedule. A fulfilling private and family life should not conflict with a bar job. If you are an employee short, it may be better to simply stay closed rather than cause another colleague to suffer burnout from sheer exhaustion.
07. Maintain an exchange with bars and bartenders
There are many reasons why it makes sense to maintain a positive relationship and active exchange with other bars and bartenders. A guest bartender could become a new employee, bars on good terms with each other can refer applicants if they are already fully staffed. You should also not hesitate to ask former teams about how they got on with an applicant.
08. Live diversity
Very few people are free of unconscious biases. These can often lead us to view candidates in a prejudiced way, and give preference to people who are more like ourselves. But patrons in bars are more diverse than ever and, ideally, your team should reflect that. Addressing your unconscious biases and actively promoting inclusion and diversity will reward you with more options in your choice of applicants and create a better atmosphere that enables patrons to identify with the team.
In addition to an induction plan for all new employees, which familiarises them with recipes, workflows and professional bar skills, you should also think about training for lateral entrants. The search for the perfect candidate is like looking for the perfect cake in a bookstore. In recruiting, it makes sense to focus on applicants’ potential and personality. If the resources for this exist, talents can be shaped and nurtured.
10. Staff Retention
The best remedy against staff shortages is to build up your employees and encourage them to stay on for a long time by promoting and supporting them and ensuring a good working atmosphere. Training, strategic meetings, feedback sessions and opportunities for professional development are all integral to this. Word will soon spread and, if a vacancy does open up, attract the right applicants, even in times when there are fewer and fewer job seekers.
Recruitment can be frustrating, especially when there are so few labour resources to go around. But you should not let this demotivate you. Every new hire is also an opportunity to find an employee with talents and skills to strengthen your team. And perhaps today’s applicants who consciously choose to pursue a career in hospitality post-Covid are especially motivated and predestined for a successful career. With good people management, putting our industry on a professional footing and perhaps a dash of patience, we will continue to find good employees. Our job is to create the right conditions for this to happen.