Author: Gabriel Cazado. Mitjans de Comunicació de L’Hospitalet

L'H New

Food | 04/01/2023 15:20:00

How can food service be made more attractive to workers?

Studies show that staff shortages will be one of the main challenges facing the food service sector in 2023. This was also confirmed in the responses to one of the regular surveys carried out by Club Top F&B, whose members include the corporate directors for food and beverages at some of the leading hotel chains in Spain. Managing human resources and a lack of staff were the chief concerns highlighted in the survey, followed by the rising costs of raw materials and transforming the sector into one that is attractive for customers.

Moreover, nearly 90% of the survey’s respondents said that they had experienced problems finding staff in summer 2022, while 22% said that these problems had resulted in major setbacks, such as an inability to open as scheduled on certain occasions.

For its part, the prestigious human resources consultant Eurofirms conducted a wide-ranging survey of more than 1,800 professionals in 2022, in order to find out their opinions on working in the food service sector. Alarmingly, just 9% of food service workers said that they saw it as a vocation, while 65% did not see themselves still working in the sector in five years’ time and nearly 40% would not recommend it as a career. “We are not enough of a draw to attract people who want to work with us”, explained Raúl Sánchez, the Managing Director of the Eurofirms Group.

In the Eurofirms report, six out of ten respondents stated that their main motivation for working in the sector was the need for a job. And there is an additional (and perhaps even bigger) problem: the public’s perception of working in the food service sector is even worse than that of the employees. Some 57% of those who had worked in the sector rated their experience “good” or “very good”, while 33% of those who had never worked in the sector said that their perception of it was “bad” or “very bad”.

The food service sector is asking itself how it came to be in this situation, and above all how it can be resolved. Eurofirms offers a series of recommendations for attracting and retaining talent and preventing churn, which is one of the key challenges facing the sector with regard to human resources management.

How can we attract talent?

To attract employees, a business needs to take a series of specific actions.

  • Firstly, it needs an exciting project. Many business owners fail to realise that their employees are a gold mine of ideas, so it is important that they listen to staff and encourage them to contribute. As well as strengthening the business, this will also increase employee satisfaction and identification with the brand.
  • Secondly, the business must be adaptable and flexible. Generally, remote working is not possible in the food service sector; although if it were possible, it would be warmly welcomed by employees.
  • However, what is possible is to offer flexible hours, avoid split shifts and, as far as possible, set working hours as far in advance as you can. Nowadays, there are an increasing number of technological solutions that can help business owners in this respect.
  • Thirdly, build cohesion among employees. Creating a positive workplace atmosphere is one of the formulas for building employee loyalty and achieving cohesion. Creating a pleasant and relaxed environment will facilitate teamwork and encourage employees to form a harmonious group.
  • Fourthly, focus on people and professional advancement. In nearly every sector it is necessary for employees to update their skills from time to time, as staying abreast of the latest developments is how the best results are achieved. Offering training – paid for by the business – and a good career plan will make employees feel valued and at ease within the company.
  • Lastly, be transparent with regard to wages, and offer incentives. Good work should always be rewarded in line with what the employee brings to the business. In addition to monetary compensation, these rewards can also include different incentives or benefits that will help to keep the employee at the company. Transparency is becoming increasingly important for a business’s employees, and a good internal communication system will enable every team member to feel part of the organisation and be more committed to it.

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