Successful Recruitment After Lockdown

Looking at the impact of COVID on the hospitality and retail sector and how to effectively manage your recruitment process in lockdown recovery.

As businesses across the UK prepare for reopening in line with the Government’s roadmap, we take a look at how recruitment will factor in reopening planning and how to prepare sites and teams.

The last twelve months have seen an incredible impact on employment. Workers in hospitality, retail and entertainment have been adversely affected by the impact of COVID restrictions, with 368,000 jobs having been lost in hotels, restaurants and pubs and 123,000 in shops.

As operators start planning for recovery, recruitment in these sectors is going to play a huge role in the rebuilding of the economy and it will be important to look at the specific challenges of recruiting after the impact of the pandemic.

Recruitment After Lockdown

Future of Recruitment

The impact of long-term furlough and redundancies on the UK workforce is a factor to consider. Confidence in job security is low, around 8% of workers who are still currently employed expect to lose their jobs in the next three months, with this figure rising to 21%  for those who have been furloughed according to the Resolution Foundation. Many workers will not have had the career development, wage progression and skills training that would usually increase job security and satisfaction, and this will leave operators at risk of losing skilled team members. Team members who have been placed on long-term furlough may also consider voluntarily leaving their position in favour of one in a less affected industry, which may contribute to staffing issues for operators and a need for further recruitment drives.

In addition, younger people aged 18-24, are twice as likely to have faced an impact on their position during the crisis. With many young adults predominantly working in the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors, this link may not come as a surprise, but it’s important to consider what this means for recruitment. Young adults are now more likely to have suffered longer-term unemployment and will have less experience and development than they would normally have gained. Employers should look to understand these challenges and consider how their skills and development programme supports new recruits.

Business Leader Confidence

The latest insights from CGA’s Business Leaders’ Survey revealed a sharp rise in confidence in the hospitality sector, with half of leaders now feeling optimistic about prospects for their businesses over the next twelve months, an increase of 27% since November. Furthermore, three in five now plan to open new sites in 2021 and more than three quarters expect to recruit new staff.

For retailers, the news that shops will be allowed to extend operating hours to aid reopening and help relieve peak time shoppers may also impact on staffing. The shopworkers’ union, Usdaw is encouraging operators to consider making serving the extra hours voluntary for teams or covered by new staff.

Evidently, there will be a boom in recruitment as the country takes the steps towards recovery. But with the financial impact of the last year still hanging heavily over many businesses, focusing on recruiting the right people will be imperative.

Securing the Right Candidates

In both retail and hospitality, recruitment drives often produce large volumes of potential candidates and it can be challenging to ensure both that applicants with a lot of potential aren’t missed and that successful applicants stay in their position. Preparing those team members and managers with the responsibility of interviewing and hiring at site level is key in ensuring the success of your recruitment drive.

Your hiring teams will need to be prepared in how to pitch a role and manage realistic expectations. This means communicating a transparent and honest insight into the function and expectations of the role in order to secure the right candidates and reduce attrition.

Building a strong employer brand is imperative in ensuring that all hiring managers effectively communicate what it is like to be employed by your company. Delivering training in interview skills and technique is an effective way to improve the hiring and interview process and ensure consistency across sites.

In addition, your hiring managers will benefit from knowledge of hiring processes and legal considerations ahead of any recruitment drive. Training in open-minded recruitment will help hiring teams implement the optimal recruitment culture in your business. Extended knowledge of legal factors such as the current right to work requirements will also help to optimise the hiring process by ensuring correct documentation is sourced early in the hiring process.  

Effective Onboarding

After the hiring process is complete, operators should have a robust onboarding process for new team members to further help with long-term staff retention. There’s a lot of information for new team members to digest when they start work, so it can be helpful to break down the onboarding process into several core phases. As well as any welcoming procedures and general administration to be done when commencing employment, it can be beneficial to build in a structure such as 30-, 60- and 90-day appraisals to ensure your new team member is at the correct point in their induction process.

Utilising your learning platform to deliver your onboarding process means that you can establish a process to be followed for every new starter, from providing a platform for your initial welcome pack and contracts to delivery of online training and monitoring of appraisals.

We are already supporting many clients with their recruitment and onboarding procedures as well as providing learning materials for hiring managers, so get in touch to discuss your personalised requirements for successful recruitment.   

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