A Q&A with Scott Wintrip, author of High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant on Faster Hospitality Hiring
Scott Wintrip is the author of High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant, named a must-read book by SHRM’s HR Magazine. Over the past 19 years, Scott has led the Wintrip Consulting Group, a global consultancy that has helped more than 22,000 organizations build talent rich companies that have eliminated their hiring delays forever. For five consecutive years, Staffing Industry Analysts, a Crain Communications company, awarded Scott a place on the “Staffing 100,” a list of the world’s 100 most influential leaders. He’s also a member of the Million Dollar Consultant Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Staffing 100 Hall of Fame. We spoke with Wintrip on the topic of faster hospitality hiring and more effective.
You’ve had experience both in staffing and in the hospitality industry. What do you see as the biggest obstacle to finding talent in hospitality today? What are some strategies for faster hospitality hiring?
The biggest obstacle to filling jobs in the hospitality industry is that companies aren’t drawing in enough quality job candidates. The skills shortage often the blame—there are more jobs than qualified individuals to fill them. The right recruiting process makes this talent shortage irrelevant. Companies in hospitality that draw candidates from all eight talent streams have an abundance of qualified people, more than they can hire. For more details on those eight streams and faster hospitality hiring, readers can download a free report I wrote on the topic.
Your book High Velocity Hiring advocates for a fast process that results in faster hospitality hiring. What do you say to hiring managers who say that High Quality takes time? Particularly in the context of hospitality where quality and brand standard can be rigid.
Brands that are struggling to fill their jobs (and do quickly) are stuck in the old way of hiring. They keep a job open until the right person shows up. Leaders in these companies have been operating on a faulty premise: They equate time and effort spent on hiring with making a quality hire. The more time they take, the more energy they expend, the better the hire will be. Actually, it gives them a false sense of control. Taking lots of time to hire doesn’t save brands from bad hires. It only saves people from making a decision they’re afraid may be wrong. These are not bad people. They’ve simply have bought into a bad idea.
Can you explain what the concept of candidate gravity is and why it’s essential for faster hospitality hiring?
Every property in the hospitality industry has a pull on talent. That pull is weak, inconsistent, or strong. This pull is Candidate Gravity.
Properties with a weak pull are typically only effectively leveraging two or three of those eight streams of talent I mentioned previous. Those with an inconsistent flow of talent are often using only four or five. It takes all eight streams to maintain a strong flow of qualified people. Using all eight also comes with another benefit—less time and effort. Tapping into all eight take less time than using just a few.
You spoke about not worrying about all the positions that need to be filled, just the one that must be fill. How does that change the day to day struggle many properties face in finding talent?
I break jobs down into three categories: core, essential, and supportive.
Core Roles: An open seat creates an immediate and significant negative impact. The nature or amount of work in this role makes it hard to delegate. Filling the job, because of market demand, tends to be quite difficult
Essential Roles: A job opening has a negative impact, but is less severe than a core role. The nature or amount of work isn’t as hard to delegate, but is still vital to the company. Filling an essential role is challenging, but tends to take no more than a few weeks.
Supportive Roles: Supportive jobs are important,; however, openings for these roles have less impact when compared to core and essential jobs. Work is easier to delegate or cover while a replacement is found. Finding qualified candidates to interview for these roles usually takes a matter of days.
Breaking jobs into these categories helps leaders fill jobs in order of priority, making hiring more manageable given other daily demands.
Given your experience in hospitality and staffing, what are some of the unique challenges in the industry? Some benefits?
Hospitality jobs require that people always be “on.” The guest doesn’t care if your dog died that morning. Nor does that guest want to hear about relationship drama. People go to hotels, restaurants, and other properties to be served. Finding people who can manage the demand of always having to be “on” makes it more challenging when hiring. This must be baked into the selection.
The chief benefit I believe is the dynamic nature of hospitality—it’s a stage. Every meal, interaction, and guest interaction is an experience. People who enjoy being on the hospitality stage and performing in a role of service will find themselves with a lifetime of opportunities that will never be dull.
How does technology help enable faster hospitality hiring? How is it hurting?
Automation helps us make smarter choices and be productive. Take, for example, innovations in the automotive industry. Cars can now warn us of oncoming traffic when we’re changing lanes. There are cameras and sensors to help us when we’re backing up. If we’re poor parallel parkers, some vehicles can park themselves. Certain models will automatically slam on the brakes to keep us from crashing.
The risk with this technology is that we become over reliant on it. When we rely too much on automation, our skills become rusty and our senses dull. Such was the case when a semitrailer pulled in front of a car with autopilot. The autopilot failed to avert an accident. The driver didn’t react in time, losing his life in the collision.
Automation isn’t perfect. It’s created by fallible people and used in imperfect ways.
That’s why hiring technology also has its pros and cons. It, too, isn’t perfect, nor is it perfectly used. On the one hand, it makes some aspects of hiring more efficient (digital candidate information is paperless and searchable). On the other hand, it creates effort and undesirable outcomes; for example, job boards can flood recruiters with the resumes of hundreds of unusable candidates.
Striking a balance, when it comes to automation, is the best strategy. You can use too little or too much automation. Use just enough technology that fits your hiring process, and you’ll constantly be able to hire quality people quickly.
What are some ways that hospitality hiring managers can work with staffing companies more effective and create processes for faster hospitality hiring?
The most powerful thing hiring managers can do to create better working relationships with staffing partners is to set clear and reasonable mutual expectations. These should include how you’ll communicate with one another, what you each need to do quality work, and what you’ll do when conflicts arise. By treating this relationship like a healthy marriage, the hiring manager is more likely to have a satisfying experience that meets his or her needs.
Do you need help create faster hospitality hiring? Get in touch with HSS. We can help with you fulfill your hiring needs.
First, it’s important that hotel managers look at these hiring opportunities with caution. Hiring teams should stick to an overall strategy before engaging in a frenzy of hiring. For example, hotels often use temp staffing in order to hedge against the regular highs and lows of business coupled with unexpected events. As 2017 taught us, the hotel industry is very vulnerable to extreme weather so planning for downturns is important. Advice to hotels hiring Puerto Rican refugees is basically to follow the same playbook that you follow for any other pool of new hires. It’s also important to note that there is still a cost to on-boarding from various hiring events.
Keep An Eye on Costs
Hotels hiring Puerto Rican refugees at various job fairs taking place in the U.S. may not be weighing all of the costs. These costs can range of background and drug screenings to simply interviewing for skills and communicating to candidates in Spanish. A staffing firm can help overcome these challenges.
Ongoing Costs to Employ
Finally, the ongoing cost of employment is another key factor. A windfall of talent may sound like a great problem to have. However, unemployment, payroll taxes, workers comp claims, and other ancillary costs to employment can’t be ignored.
What hotel staffing model is right for you? Plan for the worst to get the best results.
2018 is right around the corner. Most mangers are finalizing their Staffing Model and budget for the new year. 2017 was a tumultuous year for the hospitality industry. Major weather events showed that events that impact one region severely can impact regions untouched. While you may not be able to plan for disasters in the future, you can help prepare your hotel for the highs and lows that might come with severe hurricanes or other natural disasters. Here are 5 ways supplemental staffing (sometimes called temp staffing) can help hotels ride these highs and lows.
1.) Greater Flexibility
A staffing model such as supplemental staffing can help you shrink and grow your staff to fit the needs of your organization at a specific time. This may mean cutting staff after an event or adding staff. However, supplemental labor gives you the opportunity to control your spend with room usage. It can also help reduce the cost of serving your customers. In addition, if a disaster does hit, reducing your staff is less costly in terms of unemployment payments. These are hotel staffing models you should consider to use now in your hotel staffing budget for 2018.
2.) On-demand Hiring
Hospitality is often unpredictable making planning a hotel staffing budget difficult. This can be due to weather or an array of other issues. Needing to add staff and do it quickly can be hard to predict. This is especially true when budgeting 6 months to a year in advance of that need. Contingent labor helps to meet that need when it arises. After all, meeting demand for your property should be a good problem. A great hotel staffing model, supplemental staffing, helps get you there.
Planning Your Hotel Staffing Budget? We'd Love To Help!
Remaining compliant should be in the budget for 2018. Safety concerns along with immigration law are major compliance issues for 2018. Staffing companies like HSS are well versed in compliance issues and can help avoid costly mistakes in the future. They can also help ensure that safety is a top priority with workers. This can help avoid workers comp claims. Compliance issues are not often (but should be) considered in a hotel staffing budget.
4.) Broader Pool of Talent
Staffing companies can also help you tap into a broader pool of talent when the need arises. In today’s challenging hiring environment, reaching potential employees can be costly. By planning to work with a staffing company in your 2018 hotel staffing budget you can reduce or even eliminate the cost of reaching new pools of workers.
5) Often Unseen Savings
Downtime costs, costs due to low customer ratings, recruiting, hiring and on boarding — these are all hidden costs that are often not planned for in a hotel staffing budget. In a disaster recovery situation these costs can spiral out of control. Working with a staffing firm reduces these costs both during a disaster and in the ramp up afterwards. A staffing firm also offers these savings during normal operations.
In planning you hotel staff budget for 2018, its worth considering supplemental staffing as a way to add stability to your outlook in 2018. If you are in a disaster prone area or have felt the ripple effects of a disaster, a supplemental staffing model can help you plan for these unpredictable highs and lows in the future.
Top Companies that Use Staffing Agencies Save Time and Money
There are many advantages that come along with using a staffing company, such as Hospitality Staffing Solutions, to expand and fill openings within your staff rather than hiring directly. Staffing with HSS alleviates the stress of direct hiring while saving your company time and money. Expanding your staff through HSS provides you with top candidates, flexibility, and savings.
Top Tier Candidates
Access to top tier candidates is essential to an effective and efficient hiring process. Working with a staffing firm will give you access to this pool of talent. For example, HSS employees endure a rigorous recruitment process, which means that only the top, most experienced workers will arrive to work at your property.
Using a staffing agency to expand your team may also provide a bridge for potential permanent hires. In this case, you can permanently add on an employee who has already been screened and trained, and that has prior experience and knowledge of your brand. This saves you time and money in recruiting, hiring, and training new candidates.
Flexibility is another advantage that comes along with using a staffing company. One of the biggest benefits of staffing with HSS is the flexibility that we provide. It is fairly common for a business’s staffing needs to fluctuate throughout the year, and this is especially true within the hospitality industry. Staffing needs are constantly changing due to occupancy spikes, peak season, and special events, and HSS provides a flexible solution for meeting these changing needs. HSS embraces change and offers flex staffing and open-ended contracts with no minimum hours required. This allows for seasonal changes in the number of HSS employees that you hire throughout the year.
Staffing with a staffing company can save you time and money. When you expand your staff with HSS, we become your partner in hiring and managing workers. We handle the time consuming recruitment and vetting processes and send you the best candidates to meet your needs. Our team members are employees of HSS, so we take care of employee processes such as background checks, payroll, and liabilities. To make the employee management process even easier, we assign a supervisor to each of our clients who serves as the property’s direct point of contact with HSS.
Furthermore, staffing with HSS can save your company a great deal of money. On average, we cut our customers’ costs by up to 12% annually. HSS’s inclusive pricing covers recruiting and hiring, employee benefits, taxes, workers compensation, and payroll.
Are you currently looking for work? HSS branches throughout the country are always looking for exceptional individuals to add to their teams. Working with HSS is an exciting and rewarding opportunity. Hospitality Staffing Solutions is known throughout the industry for our top of the line workers. HSS staff members are service minded, motivated, and attentive, and they carry this reputation throughout their assignments at the over 600 hotels, resorts, casinos, and other businesses that we service throughout the country.
HSS uses grass roots recruiting and rigorous standards to find motivated, hardworking candidates. We search for potential team members who share our passion for hard work and providing quality service, and in order to provide our clients with superior staff members, we employ diligent screening practices when interviewing and vetting potential candidates.
To apply to become a member of the HSS team, visit an HSS office near you to complete an application in person, or you may complete an application online. After your application has been screened, the four step interview process will begin.
Once you are selected to join the HSS team, you will be trained and supported by the hospitality industry’s top staffing company. HSS offers its team members many exciting opportunities for stable employment and career advancement.