Photo by Crew on Unsplash

Is employer branding the missing link for hospitality brands struggling to recruit?

As we head into hospitality high season, research suggests that the UK sector is short of up to 200,000 employees this summer.

The combination of the pandemic and Brexit have left hospitality one of the worse impacted industries in the UK as UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls explains:

“The last 18 months have seen hospitality lose over two-thirds of its normal revenue, 10% of its businesses and headcount fall by almost 30%”.

To make matters worse, hospitality work suffers from a serious and historic image problem in the UK – perceived to be synonymous with low wages, long unsocial hours and zero hours contracts. Unlike our close European neighbours in France where hospitality service is both credible and admired as a long-term career path.

So, what is the answer for restaurant and hotel brands looking to attract and retain the quality staff they need in time to positively impact the 2022 season?

Can a well-defined employer brand deliver competitive advantage for hospitality brands?

The sector may be blaming the pandemic and Brexit for the severe shortage of staff it’s facing but the reality is the negative image of a career in hospitality started many years ago.

Often seen as a stop gap or ‘unskilled’ work for those not sure what else to do, stories of restaurant chains withholding tips and ignoring legislation around employee breaks have done little to help overcome these negative perceptions.

Now is the time for forward-thinking hospitality brands to think beyond online job board advertising in places like Indeed or issuing ‘poaching’ business cards in an attempt to target workers. Companies need to take a more strategic approach to creating and embedding a distinct and attractive employer brand that both candidates and colleagues will celebrate and crucially, want to be a part of.

Embracing the power of a great employer brand isn’t new in hospitality. But previously has only been delivered well at global brand level. Hyatt places a strong emphasis on a culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion and has been recognised many times with “Great Places to Work” awards. The #InAHyattWorld campaign and Hyatt Careers YouTube page showcases an authentic view of  what it’s like to work at one of their hotel brands and why employees love what they do.

But the secret sauce of employer brand does not have to be the domain of huge international hotels. Las Iguanas restaurant chain have done a great job of creating a fun, inspiring and people-focused employer brand reflective of their consumer brand.

Contact us to talk more about our structured employer brand services to suit restaurant and hotel chains of all sizes.

How to create a stand-out employer brand that colleagues and candidates will celebrate

A standout employer brand needs a structured approach. It’s important to work through these three key steps to identify unique attributes that will help you stand out against the crowd.

1.Insight: reach out to staff, candidates and recruitment consultants via workshops, surveys or interviews to understand what makes you different and why your current staff love working for you.

2. Create: an impactful and creatively articulated EVP (employee value proposition) statement which breaks down the experiential promises you can offer candidates when they come and work for you (think culture, recognition, benefits and experience). This can serve as the basis for a creative theme for your employer brand, ready to roll out across your website, social channels as an inspiring campaign, reflective of the experience you offer your colleagues and candidates.

3. Deliver:  it’s time build your delivery strategy and embed your employer brand across your employee experience and all those moments that truly matter for your colleagues by mapping your employee experience and identifying your priorities.

Contact Lucy to book an employer brand springboard session and explore how an employer brand can benefit your recruitment and colleague retention strategy.