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Six Ways to Insure Your Halls are Decked

Originally posted on Hotel Executive.

This year’s holiday season seems to be bearing early gifts for the travel industry, as average daily hotel rates seem to be trending up year-over-year, according to the same Orbitz study. However, as consumers are paying more, it becomes incredibly important for hotels to provide value that lines up with the increased prices. Various studies show that prospective guests have increased their expectations with rising costs, which can mean a variety of requests from free WiFi and continental breakfast, through various personalization and technological advancements.

To meet consumer demand at the holiday rush, hoteliers must staff accordingly to ensure a successful travel season. This can mean staffing up with temporary employees to support the seasonal rush as well as being prepared to work the busiest season of the year without many of your best employees. After all, many hoteliers must decide to offer their best employees time off for the holidays in order to retain their top talent.

This Catch-22, where hotels may need to go their busiest few days without their best employees, happens each year, and there is virtually no way to handle the situation perfectly.

However, that’s not to say steps can’t be taken to help prepare for a hotel’s busiest (and perhaps most profitable) time of year. After all, we all know that the Wednesday before the fourth Thursday in November will be a busy one, and we have a pretty good idea of when the other holidays will fall.

Below are six tips that can help hotel leaders be prepared for the upcoming season, and to recruit a top notch staff accordingly.

1. Start Looking Early

While it may be somewhat common place to wait until the last few minutes to begin one’s holiday shopping, this is a luxury that hotel management can’t afford to participate in. The most organized, professional candidates are likely to begin their search for seasonal work early, and tapping into this group will require hotel leadership to begin at the same time. Many candidates have likely already begun their search. This means that, at the very minimum, your property’s website should have posted the roles you’re hoping to fill.

2. Hire Like They’ll Be Permanent Employees

It’s easy for hiring managers to take interviews for temporary or part time employees for granted. This can be human nature (hiring managers may not want to invest heavily in employees who may not be around for more than a few weeks or a couple months), or simply due to decreased expectations on what a part time employee may bring to the table. Either way, it can be harmful to building the right team for the holiday rush. Approaching the hiring process in the same manner one would for a full time employee has two benefits, one short term and one longer. In the immediate future, it will mean a stronger team for the critical holiday season. Longer term, it can begin relationships with employees who may one-day grow into full time status.

3. Ask All the Interview Questions

Part of treating a seasonal hire like it could be a full time employees is doing everything in an interview that a hiring manager would otherwise do for a full time employee. This includes covering expected schedule, daily duties, what they’ll need to pick up quickly, what they must know in order to do their job well and asking about their plans for vacations. Will they be taking a vacation or require any time off? This is particularly crucial when thinking about offering a hotel’s best employees time to spend with their families during the holidays. Furthermore, be certain to include questions that highlight a candidate’s ability to empathize with guests. Travel can be stressful. The holidays can exasperate the stress, with seasonal depression and anxiety being far more common than one might imagine.

4. Excitement is Both Contagious and Required

Whether you’re interviewing a 20+ year hospitality veteran, or a school kid looking for his or her first part time role, enthusiasm should always be a requirement for hiring. Inevitably, there will be a time where a guest has a problem; travel schedules/delays and time with the in laws can have that effect. But many of those issues can be overcome with a smile and an enthusiastic approach. Full time or not, this is a lesson that needs to be remembered in the hiring process.

5. Recruit From Within

In many cases, a hotel manager has a team of experienced professionals who know the hotel’s policies and procedures a simple phone call away. It’s last year’s team of temporary employees. If a particular staffer left a strong, favorable impression, hotel leadership shouldn’t hesitate to proactively try to secure a return engagement. It could require a bump in pay, but the ability to avoid training, and to have someone hit the ground running can more than make up the additional expenditure. As a corollary to this, leaders in hotels should also ask their current employees if they know anyone looking. A reference should go a long way in the hiring process, assuming it comes from a standout employee. While many hotels offer a referral fee, this fee shouldn’t dissuade management from asking their troops for recommendations, even for part time workers. As we’ll discuss momentarily, a pennywise approach can have a lasting negative impact.

6. Remember There Are No Quick Fixes

Don’t hire someone to be a quick fix if you know you would never hire them permanently. A quick fix could end up causing problems or quitting right in the middle of your holiday season, leaving a gap that is harder (or impossible) to replace. Perhaps even worse, they may allow a poor guest experience to occur, damaging opportunities to generate repeat business. Visiting friends and family makes up the majority of holiday travel, meaning a hotel that continually delivers great experiences can expect recurring business, year after year. A quick fix hire can ruin that, costing a hotel untold income.

Once a hire is made for the holiday season, leadership within a hotel must operate as though there is no difference between the part time/seasonal employee and the full time team. Management must ensure there is some sort of training in place once a candidate starts their new job. No matter the length of the position, new hires must be fully prepared. This means making sure training materials are up to date (in advance of the hiring) so not to waste time. It also means making sure a trainer covers all details of the new hire’s job and allows for questions.

Employees can also be teamed up with a buddy; someone they can go to when they need help.

Leadership should also be sure to check in periodically to make sure everyone is doing well. This could be a good time for an employee to ask a questions or mention a concern. It’s also a great way to monitor the progress a new employee is making.

After the holidays/busy season, leadership should make sure to show appreciation for a job well done. Gratitude can be infectious, and almost always leads to a happier working environment.

Leadership can also ask for feedback on everything from training to daily tasks. After all, this season’s temporary hire could be next year’s full-time employee, and offering some sort of ownership regarding their primary role can be a great way to show gratitude and interest in an employee’s future.

In football, a coach would never put his best quarterback on the bench for the big game. However, oftentimes, hotel leadership is behooved to allow their best employees to take some time away during the busiest time of the year. Staffing for the holidays can pose a challenge, but hotel leaders who begin their search early, and treat their search with all due professionalism will inevitably end up ahead, meaning happy guests and recurring business.

Thank you for reading! Please leave your thoughts or share any Recruiting questions may have.

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Originally posted on Hotel Executive, https://www.hotelexecutive.com/business_review/4579/six-ways-to-insure-your-halls-are-decked


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Featured

Top Reasons Why Hotels Should Constantly Be Hiring

Originally featured on HotelExecutive –  https://www.hotelexecutive.com/business_review/6213/top-reasons-why-hotels-should-constantly-be-hiring

 

Hotel industry leaders are regularly guilty of misunderstanding the ebb and flow of hiring, building strong teams that flourish for a brief time, but then get rocked by changes such as promotions, departures, and even growth. While it’s nice to imagine having a full-blown succession plan for every employee, inclusive of replacements, that isn’t always achievable or financially viable. Or is it?

HR departments and hiring managers can take steps to mitigate the loss of a critical employee, whether due to internal promotion or someone moving out of state. The first such step is to build a talent pipeline by keeping the interview process open at all times. This can be achieved through obvious means, such as attending job fairs even if a company is fully staffed, or less involved methods like posting a section on the property’s job section saying that you’re always on the lookout for great talent and constantly accepting resumes.

For quality candidates that come in through these methods, it is important to walk the fine line of being diligent in the interview process, but not wasting a candidate’s time. A hiring manager should be up front in the first contact (likely an email), explaining that there isn’t currently a role, but that there is growth planned in the near future and the interview would be a way to be top of mind when it comes time to make a hire.

Face-to-face follow-ups for this type of interview are not recommended unless something changes and there is an immediate need. Essentially, hiring managers should think of these calls are pre-screening for if/when a need arises. It’s unfair to ask someone to take time off their current role to interview for a job that doesn’t exist.

Speaking of unfair, the role of “recruiter” shouldn’t actually be limited to leadership and HR departments, but should be a shared effort across every level of an organization.

Overcoming Passivity

Whether it is a junior level employee thinking “I’m not sure if it is OK to tell my friends too much about the company,” or a seasoned developer saying “this really isn’t my role,” under her breath, there is a major issue when it comes to employees looking to fill out the company’s depth chart.

In some instances, this can simply be a matter of encouragement. Employees who feel empowered to share their experiences and bring in new blood, will often do so with tremendous results. The ability to work with friends and former colleagues tends to increase employee satisfaction, as well as decreasing turnover.

However, sometimes it takes more than a push. If a hotel tech or hospitality leader realizes that incoming referrals are few and far between, it’s up to that leader to create an incentive scheme that encourages recommendations. While it is easy to think of referral bonuses as an easy way to approach the issue, financial compensation in this way can often lead to poor results (some employees may refer everyone they know in order to accrue bonuses, costing a company both time and money).

Instead, hotel leaders can look to having employees participate in local or regional networking events, trainings and industry conferences. This approach offers multiple benefits. On one hand, current employees come back with new skills or approaches. On the other, they also hopefully fill out the talent pipeline by discussing their career experiences in their current role.

Overcoming Exhaustion

Another reason that current employees tend to lapse on bringing in referral candidates has to do with the stress level of their current role. In hotels and tech startups alike, burnout is a very real risk. To compensate, many employees take a view that they will focus on their specific roles only, rather than taking on additional responsibilities, such as recruiting. This makes sense on emotional and logical levels, meaning that it takes many approaches to overcome the issue.

Overcoming the emotional side of employees feeling burned out is difficult, and takes far more than a quick pat on the back. Mental health days, temporary decreases in responsibilities, remote working opportunities, and even allowing employees to take a day where they “play defense,” can all help. If the majority of a team is feeling some sort of burn out, that’s a strong indication that they are stretched too thin, and a new hire may be in order. This is exactly the time that leaders can look to referrals to help fill the role.

Employees in this state will have a strong idea of what gaps need to be filled, and can often draw from their previous professional experience to find the right fit. Emotionally, it can also help employees know that they are receiving a “proven commodity” to help lighten the load; after all, they wouldn’t recommend someone they thought would make things worse.

Logically, looking at a team that’s been stretched too thin and asking for them to take on another role (that of recruiter) can seem, well, crazy. Instead of asking for direct help, hiring managers can offer simple alternatives to their employees as a way to tap into a new network, without increasing stress. Basics like “please post this role on your LinkedIn,” can go a long way. Very often, we have friends looking for a new position covertly. A simple post or “share” can encourage new blood to reach out, increasing referrals and building the talent funnel without requiring too much effort.

Overcoming Junior-itis

One of the biggest challenges in implementing some of the previous approaches lies in who they’re most likely to encourage: junior employees. Additional training and networking opportunities, social media, etc, all tend to resonate most with younger millennials, meaning that the “face of the company” can be awfully young and/or inexperienced.

That’s not a bad thing, so long as their enthusiasm is captured and utilized. HR teams and leadership can offer mentorship on how to present a property, chain or startup. Presentations might include basic information on corporate culture, growth opportunities, brand stability, and more. Each ‘elevator pitch” should be customized to the company being presented.

What if it All Works?

If everything above is effectively implemented, HR teams and leaders should, theoretically, be placed at the head of a talent funnel, with access to passive candidates who might be willing to move on a moment’s notice. However, that’s only half of the equation. Knowing what to do with resumes and notes from call screenings is equally important.

This is where Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) come in to play. ATS solutions allow teams and leaders to share information about openings, as well as the status of each candidate. Typically, they also allow for some sort of attribution (i.e. call out which employee made a referral on a particular candidate).

One of the most critical functions of an ATS is that it can connect disparate sites, meaning that a hiring manager in one locations can view notes about a tremendous candidate who might have applied at another property. Essentially, this means that all hiring managers get access to the best candidates that have passed a screening call, and while it might not be at the same property, employees who recommend a colleague can be compensated accordingly after someone has been hired. This cross site functionality increases the chances of an employee referral going somewhere, and also extends access to a deeper pool of passive candidates.

In hotel tech and hospitality, it’s very easy to rest on the laurels of a successful team, with leadership focusing on finding new blood only when it is absolutely critical. However, recruiting talent offers a unique set of challenges, which is why an entire industry of headhunters and talent solutions providers has emerged. The most successful companies are those that continually seek out qualified candidates, in order to ensure that there is a deeper pool of talent from which to pull in times of growth or turnover.

These companies are doing so by spreading out recruiting responsibilities, encouraging referrals through a wide range of approaches, including both active (sending employees to job fairs and industry events) and passive (encouraging employees to share postings on their social networks).

Once referred candidates are incorporated into an ATS, it then becomes simple. Leadership and HR can maintain consistent dialogue with the folks that have been identified as the cream of the crop, ensuring a deep pool from which to overcome both the immediate needs driven by forces such as turnover or growth, as well as the long term planning goals a company may have.

While it is counterintuitive, companies that have established amazing teams should go out of their way to keep interviewing. Hotel tech and hospitality changing regularly, which means companies

Originally featured on HotelExecutive –  https://www.hotelexecutive.com/business_review/6213/top-reasons-why-hotels-should-constantly-be-hiring

Featured

Manager/Recruiter Tip – Put Your Company’s Best Foot Forward In the Interview Process

Manager/Recruiter Tip – Put Your Company’s Best Foot Forward In the Interview Process: https://youtu.be/1gpZlmiX6pY 

Thank you for watching. Please leave your thoughts or share any Recruiting questions you may have.

More at www.HospitalitySpotlight.com
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Twitter: @hospitalityspot
Facebook: @hospitalityspotlight

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Managers/Recruiters – Onboarding

These are tips for Managers and Recruiters in regards to the onboarding process, after a candidate has accepted the job offer.   

 

Step 1: Have a 30 day training plan

Make sure to include as many details as possible within this plan. They’ll need the names of team members they’ll be meeting with, titles, the departments they work under, their contact information, office/cubicle location and what they’ll be covering. What you’re doing here is making it easy for the new employee to find their way around, as well as, have an understanding of what they’ll be doing for the first 30 days, until they are comfortable and have an clear understanding of their job/environment. Have the plan ready for day 1 (start date) or provide it prior if possible.

 

Step 2: Supplies

Have the new employee’s supplies ready on day one. It’s important to make sure you supply them everything they’ll need. Also, make sure that if the supplies aren’t new that they are clean. Things like phones, laptops, desks and fabs are often not cleaned in advanced and it’s a little detail like that that add comfort. IT should make sure the phone, email and passwords are working. Double back with the employee and confirm they are able to access their computer, email, software and key fobs are working. If the employee will be wearing a uniform, make sure it fits property. Also provide a notepad and pen for day one. It’s a new job must.  

 

Step 3: Guide to the organization

Every organization has its own quirks and events. Try to share what those are. There may be a standing birthday meeting that doesn’t have a formal invitation or a standing happy hour. Other things that can be shared include food truck locations, best lunch spots, how to join the company sports team, when in-house meals are catered (even if it’s just bagels), casual dress days and anything else that might be unique to your company.

 

Step 4: Follow up meeting

Schedule a follow up meeting with the employee and the direct supervisor. It’s important for them discuss their training in detail. Keep an eye on trends that will help improve training and remember that not everyone learns the same way.  Make sure to include the following in addition to any other training/new employee related questions:

  • Do you have any follow-up questions?
  • Was their training that was cancelled and still needs to be rescheduled?
  • Can they benefit from repeating any part of the training?
  • Do they have a clear understanding of the organization?
  • Do they have a clear understanding of the role?

 

The goal is to make sure your new employees feel comfortable, they have a great understanding of the organization and their job. Set them up for success!


👉🏼Check it out, leave a comment and recruiting questions 😁

Thank you for watching.

More at www.HospitalitySpotlight.com
Instagram: @hospitalityspotlight
Twitter: @hospitalityspot
Facebook: @hospitalityspotlight

YouTube: https://youtu.be/MEMA7ZqNKTg

 


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