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.
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.
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.
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