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  • Writer's picturesarahhabsburg

How to attract great hospitality staff

A school student recently stood in front of the UK parliament and quoted the quadratic equation.

In a classroom her teacher would have given her an A* . In her daily and future life, it has little to no relevance whatsoever. The student, Izzy, shared how she and her colleagues feel that the UK school system is failing them. A system similar to others found across the world. A system that puts unimaginable pressure on students to memorise, recite, and seek praise, instead of being allowed to develop their own identities, nurture their unique skills, and generate healthy feelings of self-worth that are not dependent on the achievement of A grades.

Izzy explained that they are calling for a “curriculum for life, a curriculum that will see us leaving school with a greater understanding of the world around us”. ¹

They are pleading for more emphasis on employability, communication skills, and personal well-being. She went on to say that memorising has become “a synonym for learning, and mental health has suffered as a consequence”. ¹

This is a cry for help that cannot be ignored. Our youth are already suffering with the negative effects of social media exposure that has left them isolated and often helpless. We all know that improving mental health is linked to developing purpose and sharing community, to receiving inspirational guidance and finding trustful leadership.

Nurturing the development of young people as individuals should be number one on the educational agenda, not the ability to recite the quadratic equation.

While the decision to overhaul our education systems may lie with our governments, all employers have a responsibility to offer educational expansion that fills the gaps.

You could conclude that it is not your role as a tourist accommodation owner, but I disagree. The problem is too urgent. But not only that, the health and resilience of our businesses depend on the staff we employ today, and tomorrow. This is an investment in our futures. Running a business that has a strong organisational culture is highly dependent on the people who work for you.

The pandemic left the hospitality industry reeling when it came to finding great staff with the right skills to get the job done. Hospitality is all about people, and the people skills that are required are numerous: empathy, flexibility, teamwork, multitasking, great communication, self-motivation, problem-solving, stress-management, good organisation, responsibility, initiative.

If cohorts of the school leavers that are flooding the work market are lacking confidence and are feeling unsure and insecure, how can we expect them to do great jobs?

There are 73 million 15–24-year-olds currently unemployed across the world. ² That is a lot of people out there looking for jobs where they feel valued.

Generation Z are those born between 1997 and 2012 meaning that in 2022, they range between 10 and 25 years old. They make up 23% of global population. Acutely aware of the state of the planet they are going to inherit, they are perhaps the generation that values kind action, to ourselves, our communities, and to the planet, more than any other.

Studies in 2021 found that 64% of 18-22 year olds consider it important for their employers to act sustainably. Over half also claimed that they would stay with an employer longer if they acted responsibly. ³

And 93% of Gen Zers agree that the more socially and environmentally responsible companies are and become, the more motivated and loyal they will be as employees and customers. ⁴

So, where am I going with this?

I see this as a great chance to position your business as the go to employer in your area. Not only will you generate opportunities for school leavers, but you allow trust to be built and developed in you and your business among parents and other people in your community. This can lead to many short- and long-term benefits, and there are a couple of ways to embrace this opportunity.

If our children are asking for guidance on mental well-being, how to set up a business, how to pay taxes (see video ¹), why not source an expert and host a workshop. Provide a safe space where the questions children are not finding the answers to in school can be asked and answered.

They are asking for guidance on how to build communication skills, and how to be more employable. Why not run a session that teaches the communication skills needed to work in hospitality, or how to successfully apply for a customer service job? Those who attend could well become your next staff members.

Invite school groups to visit your property for a “Behind the scenes” day. Why not even make this a series? A snapshot into the life of our chef, our gardener, our tech guy, our receptionist, our housekeeper. It does not have to be ground-breaking stuff, nor does it have to cost a lot of money or time, but the impact you could have is huge.

Why not find a young person with a great skill? Something that allows them to share their passion with others and take ownership of their talent. This could be the teen who loves biking, or the one who can teach calligraphy or robotics. Find that passion and build a package around it.

During Spring: Free bike service included for all stays.

During school holidays: Robotics workshop three times a week.

Every Saturday in October: Calligraphy course.

The last two can be included for all people staying at your property, and you can also market it locally to people who just want to join the workshop.

What better way to teach real life communication skills and responsibility than offering the chance for young people to help organise and share something that they love and enjoy?

The options are endless, you just need to pick what resonates with you, and this must be done selflessly. The word of mouth “marketing” that “sells” your business as a trustworthy place, where people are important, where the welcome is open and kind, where the lives of others matter, will happen over time, effortlessly, without you needing to do more than simply be you, and provide that safe space.

I will leave you with this quote to further inspire:

"Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people". Steve Jobs

Found inspiration here? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what efforts you are doing or plan to do to support our school leavers on that unsteady journey into the world of work. Scroll right down to the bottom and leave a message in the comments. If you would like to receive more helpful, relatable, and actionable content relevant to your business, click here to sign up to my email list. No spam, no bombarding you. Just really useful stuff. I look forward to having you onboard :)


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