By Neelie Verlinden

It’s that time of the year again… Spring has finally sprung, we’re back on Summer Time and we’ve just had the first couple of sunny days. Barbecues are dusted and lit, winter coats are stowed away and toes are peeking out of shoes. For the hospitality industry this means one of their busiest periods is coming up. Countless couples will go on a romantic spring break and once we get to the end of May, people will start going on pre-season holidays. From that moment onwards things will get crazy, with July and August obviously being the peak months, followed by a slightly calmer period after summer.

Many a HR professional in the hospitality sector will freak out a little just thinking about all this. Not to worry though! Today’s topic is meant to help you out. Here’s how to tackle 3 major hiring challenges before summer.

1. Finding a Candidate that Fits

This one is of the utmost importance. Your staff is pretty much non stop dealing with your guests. They are the go-to person for people when they have a query or problem. Whether it’s late at night or early on a Saturday morning, your employees constantly need to be on top of their game. Especially during the busy period over the summer. You may very well have to hire extra staff to keep up with the increase in customers and the last thing you want is for those new hires to leave your company prematurely or have them be a bad reflection of your organization.

Unfortunately, turnover rates in the hospitality sector aren’t good. A wrong fit often is the number one reason for staff to quit, together with an unrealistic management of expectations. The question is, how to avoid this from happening? Well, with a proper preselection funnel for instance.

One of the ways to do so is by using HR selection software. Our preselection software TalentPitch for example, is an online immersive assessment experience for candidates. Each candidate gets tested on personality, intelligence, specific skills needed for the job and situational judgement. We captured what we did for Vapiano, a client of ours, in the video below.

The good thing about a preselection tool such as TalentPitch is that candidates get a very realistic preview of  ‘a day at your company’. They’ll get a detailed picture of your organisation’s culture and of course the specifics of the job they apply for. The online assessment confronts them with several real life scenarios and shows them what they’ll be dealing with in terms of their future customers, as well as their colleagues. This very much limits the risk of an applicant – and you – being disappointed once they start working.

Once a candidate has been through the online experience, their data profile is stored in the system’s back end. Here, the candidates are presented from top to bottom. From highest, to lowest matching score. The ranking is based on the different data that has been gathered from which our algorithms predict the likeliness of each applicant to succeed on the job. This way you can make an informed decision about who to hire.

2. How to Keep ‘em Happy

In other words: how do you keep your staff engaged so that they are more productive and think of innovative ideas to improve the business? If there is one thing we know about employee engagement, it’s that it all begins with hiring the right people. When it comes to the engagement matter, this means you want to hire people that are emotionally invested – do they care about more than just their pay check? For hospitality jobs in particular this means you should probably look for people that are very much quality orientated, know how to communicate well and have a high level of stress tolarance. On top of that you want to know if their personal values are aligned with those of your organisation. This has to do with your company culture; what are your core values?

Right, so the first thing you want to do is set up the personality traits your looking for and getting your values straight. Then you need to make sure they transpire in every company related message out there: from job adverts to emails to your office. Once you’ve got your company philosophy loud and clear, you can (and should) incorporate this in your recruitment process.

3. Onboarding & Feedback

Okay, so you’ve found your future rockstars and they’ve started their new jobs. Great, now how’s your onboarding process? This is your new staff members’ honeymoon period and you’d better show that to them. A well-structured onboarding process is a crucial part in keeping your most recent hires. The lack of one often is the main reason employees leave shortly after they’ve joined a new company.

With the right HR software, it is relatively easy to create an automated onboarding program that engages new employees and makes them feel welcome. Just give them a profile and let them run through the process independently. Think about the social onboarding part as well, you don’t want people to feel lonely!

The last thing I want to talk about today is feedback. Our Harver blog regulars may know this by now, but for those of you who don’t I’ll give a quick recap. Today’s workforce is not just about how much money they can make. For millennials, and for many other people too, their job is about continuous personal growth. Employees want to know how they’re doing, what they can improve and, probably most of all, where they’re going.

Now, we wouldn’t be an HR Tech blog if we didn’t have some technology to help us out here. There are lots of available (free) apps and tools to help you create an environment in which giving feedback is as normal as getting a cup of coffee. Some companies choose a team forum to share comments and thoughts between colleagues, others prefer an app. A good example of the latter is Impraise, a continuous feedback app that helps you structurize your employee’s feedback. There’s no right or wrong here, simply pick whatever you think suits your organisation best.

Especially in an industry such as hospitality, you need to give your staff a reason to stay other than their salary. If there’s just the money, it’s too easy for them to leave as soon as a better offer comes along. That’s (among other things) why you should have regular, individual feedback sessions with your employees. Ask them how they are, if something bothers them and what they’d like to see differently (if anything). Oh, and have a plan. By that I mean, make sure both your employees and you know where they’re headed career wise; what course they’ll do at what time in their career and where they want to be a few years from now. These feedback chats show that you’re committed towards each and every one of your staff members and is a huge boost for employee engagement as well.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, HR technology software and all the tools that come with it can make your life and that of your employees a whole lot happier. Keep in mind though that HR technology is a means to an end. When we talk about data driven recruitment or preselection tools for instance, it’s to show you how these 21st century inventions can be of use to you in your everyday HR activities, but in the end It’s the combination of man & machine that is powerful. The insights you get from data & technology can help you – with all the experience and human sensitivities you have – to make better decisions for your company.