Having the right workforce in place is key to maintaining standards, says The SV Group

Keyways for the hospitality industry to thrive again as businesses return

Having the right workforce in place is key to maintaining standards, says The SV Group

The hospitality industry has faced uncertainty and drastic changes but Stephen Ramsden of The SV Group says there are ways to support its future

For the hospitality industry, the pandemic has brought uncertainty, periods of closure, and the need to adapt to day-to-day operations and offer new services to continue trading.

As measures to tackle Covid-19 ease in line with the government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, businesses like restaurants, pubs, cafés, hotels, and venues can gradually return to serving the public at their establishments, with hopes of the industry being able to thrive once again.

According to Stephen Ramsden, the owner and director of Liverpool-based hospitality recruitment specialists The SV Group, there are ways food and drink-focused businesses can prepare and build strength for a successful future. He also believes there are ways the industry as a whole can make a difference.

See workforce as crucial to consistency

With reputation often so fundamental to success in the hospitality sector, the need to have a strong workforce in place shouldn’t be overlooked.

The SV Group recruits staff for small independent businesses through to large-scale events spaces, and Stephen said: “In order to give the best customer service, you have to have a strong and skilled workforce who have been trained in your business modus operandi.

“However, if you don’t have enough of your trained workforce to manage your customers’ expectations as well as business demands you will fall short of your customer service objectives and delivery, disappointing your customers who will just go elsewhere.

“You don’t get many chances to get it right in hospitality. A recommendation will be passed to one or two people but a complaint will be tenfold.”

The expert, who has 27 years of experience in the hospitality industry himself, explained that using ad hoc and temp staff to bolster the core team of workers in order to maintain standards, can lead to more revenue being generated than spent.

Stephen Ramsden worked on the pass before setting up a hospitality recruitment firm

Recognise the value of skills

A range of skills and high standards are essential for hospitality jobs such as chef roles, but there are concerns that such skills in the sector are overlooked.

Raising concerns that hospitality can be perceived as a place for low wage and low skilled jobs which, in turn could drive some now out of work hospitality staff to leave the industry forever and retrain, Stephen highlighted the importance of “investing in staff and training” to maintain a strong performance.

Use support to ease the burden of change

Branching out to takeaway services and online shops, enhancing outdoor areas and adapting indoor spaces, and adopting more technology for contactless payments or assisting new table service operations are just some of the changes hospitality businesses have been quickly making to keep going. Then there’s the matter of inconsistent opening times and ever-changing staffing needs to tie in.

It all amounts to a lot for businesses to focus on in order to maintain a healthy outlook and a risk that some key factors could end up falling short.

There is, however, an infrastructure of other organisations that hospitality traders may be able to look to in order to help lighten the load.

For instance, The SV Group is on hand to work with businesses of all sizes and put time into helping them make sure the right team is in place so that they don’t have to.

Stephen explained that the company works to set affordable rates for businesses, and said: “Recruitment agencies such as The SV Group dedicate all their time and resources to help you to find your workforce. This takes hours and hours and weeks of hard work and a considerable amount of money to do correctly.

“We use headhunting skills, paid job boards, social media, CV databases, industry contacts and much more; saving you weeks of work and lots of money on recruitment tools, sourcing, contacting, pre-interview, and vetting candidates.

“As a hospitality business, especially as a business emerging from the flames of the pandemic, you have enough to do just to get yourselves ready to reopen let alone recruit staff.”

Stephen Ramsden believes valuing and investing in skills is key to the industry

Retain and boost the talent pool

Having a healthy pool of talent available to the hospitality industry was always vital, but the pandemic has brought this into sharp focus.

While there may be workers from the industry who have been lost due to long periods of furlough and looking to retrain, there are also currently out-of-work, skilled job hunters the industry can help to retain as well as newly unemployed people from other sectors with valuable transferable skills.

Stephen said: “Currently there is a whole swathe of people out of work or looking to change career, or even looking for extra income here and there, mostly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Transferable skills are the key to creating and diversifying your workforce. This will lead to a more balanced, motivated and knowledgeable workforce.

“There is no perfect fit for anyone role. By the very nature of our own DNA, people learn and adapt to roles in life. Use this natural resource to benefit your business.

“A person who has lost their job or someone looking for a change of career or even someone wants some extra income does not need any more motivation – just some guidance.”

The SV Group supports hospitality businesses by handling recruitment

Learn from experience

Businesses being able to work with and seek support from those with a knowledge and understanding of the industry is “priceless” according to Stephen.

Reflecting on his own background, he explained how doing jobs in the industry himself enabled him to make the move into recruiting for it.

With an understanding of “the language of hospitality,” he said: “I worked in hospitality for more than 20 years before I started my recruitment business. In fact, while I was still working the pass in a large hotel I was also working to provide temps and recruiting for hospitality staff around Liverpool and Manchester for two years before the business became more and more in demand.

” I then became a full-time recruiter, and I still very occasionally get my hand in so to speak and work an event or consult other businesses and train their staff.

“I have seen it from the inside looking out and now I see it from the outside looking in – I have a full 360 view of an industry I love.”

For more information about The SV Group, and how it can help recruit temp and permanent staff for hospitality businesses, click here.