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Video Podcast: Hospitality Trends During Pandemic Recovery

Video Podcast: Hospitality Trends During Pandemic Recovery

We sat down with Karla Dougherty, SVP of Strategic Accounts at HSS to get her expert take on what she’s hearing from clients and how HSS is serving their evolving needs during this uncertain recovery period.

Highlight: Flexibility in the Hospitality Industry is Vital During COVID Recovery

One thing that I see as a common theme from our clients is that they know that this period is not over. So, everybody’s sure that uncertainty, unfortunately, is something that we will have to continue to deal with moving forward. But what we are seeing more consistent is from them a shift in being more open and more flexible. And those that are actually making that shift quicker and faster, we see that they are able to solve some of the problems or at least talking about them with us. There is not a quick solution for anything. But we do see that trend, if you will, within some of our markets more than others.

With the changes that we’ve had within the last year, we’ve seen some of our partners be more open to the idea to become flexible in the shift that we’re going to offer to our associates, or they’re going to be more flexible in the protocols that they need to be applying when they’re being onboarded or cleaning the hotel rooms. And indeed, the adjustment that we had to had in terms of the mindset with the labor pools, with compensation. So, we do have some clients that are very in sync with what is happening in the market, very understanding, and who are working with us to be flexible and ahead of the curve, if you will, with the wages and the compensations. And we’ve seen some of them that are still having a little bit of a resistance to it. And obviously those, you know, get on board later on. It just takes them a little bit of more time. So, the key right now that we’ve seen is that flexibility when it comes to what’s happening locally in that market and when having to change the logic that we had six months ago.

Highlight:  We Never Stopped Recruiting

[HSS is] working with our current partners to be more flexible in the ways that we are recruiting, to still have a very good grassroots recruiting in each of the markets, to improve the communication with the candidate pool, to ensure that we’re not only telling them that wages are going to be different but also that the flexibility is going to be there, and also to ensure that we make these new roles or these roles that we’re offering in hospitality attractive for them and that they are still very mindful of the workload that they will have to have when they join the hotels. So, having those conversations and still being strategic about that. As a company, we never stop recruiting, not even during the pandemic, which I think has been a competitive edge for HSS because we were able to see firsthand some of that shifting the pools from the hotels to other industries. So that actually has helped us to inform and educate our clients of those trends and then have some collaborative approach on how do we bring back some of those associates to the hospitality industry.

Highlight: Trends Beyond COVID

One of them is related to changes in assets from one management company to the other. So we’ve seen a lot of merging from companies and acquisitions within different portfolios. And with that, it has come also a big awareness at the level of the decision making for new services.

The Full Conversation

James Krouse [00:00:05] Hi, my name is James Krouse, I’m the senior vice president of marketing at Hospitality Staffing Solutions or HSS, a KBS company. Hosting the HSS Hospitality Trends podcast together with Carla Dougherty, who is the SVP of Strategic Accounts at HSS. Today we’re going to be talking about trends and strategies in the hospitality industry moving ahead. Karla, welcome.

Karla Dougherty [00:00:35] Thanks, James.

James Krouse [00:00:37] So first, Karla, can you just describe your role at HSS and also the SAM program overall and how that works?

Karla Dougherty [00:00:47] Sure, our SAM program is part of an alignment strategy that we had as a company after being acquired early last year by KBS. And the main goal of the program is to ensure that we can provide support to our nationwide customers and ensure that we are acting more as a strategic partner for them and adding value based on the services that we currently offer by keeping them informed not only on that, but also on the trends that are happening within the services that we provide.

James Krouse [00:01:21] And, you know, in that role of working strategically with clients, I’m sure that you are involved in discussions and have insight into how hospitality leaders are really dealing with this recovery period that we’re in right now in hospitality and in the economy overall.

Karla Dougherty [00:01:41] Yes, absolutely, and to say that changes happened very quickly is an understatement. So currently, the way that we have seen some of the leaders in the industry acting is by being very open to what is going on, changing not only their standards and protocols and how they do business right now within the industry, but also partnering with us in new ways, venues and ideas to be able to help them with the resources that they need, which in this case, you know, staffing being one of the most critical.

James Krouse [00:02:16] And what about the uncertainty of the period that we’re in right now? How are your clients dealing with that? And do you have any insight into how to deal with that uncertainty?

Karla Dougherty [00:02:28] Yes. And will it have been different for everybody, James. Obviously, we’ve seen some companies that have taken a little bit longer to realize the quick changes that we’re witnessing in the industry. And again, it has been very challenging for everybody. But for the most part, the one thing that I see as a common theme from our clients is that they know that this period is not over. So, everybody’s sure that uncertainty, unfortunately, is something that we will have to continue to deal with moving forward. But what we are seeing more consistent is from them a shift in being more open and more flexible. And those that are actually making that shift quicker and faster, we see that they are able to solve some of the problems or at least talking about them with us. There is not a quick solution for anything. But we do see that trend, if you will, within some of our markets more than others.

James Krouse [00:03:33] Could you just elaborate on when you say quicker and more flexible? Are there some examples you can give?

Karla Dougherty [00:03:38] Yeah, absolutely. So, for instance, we all know that the hospitality industry was very set in its ways in the days prior to the pandemic – from the cleaning protocols to the way that we would recruit and hire and onboard. With the changes that we’ve had within the last year, we’ve seen some of our partners be more open to the idea to become flexible in the shift that we’re going to offer to our associates, or they’re going to be more flexible in the protocols that they need to be applying when they’re being onboarded or cleaning the hotel rooms. And indeed, the adjustment that we had to had in terms of the mindset with the labor pools, with compensation. So, we do have some clients that are very in sync with what is happening in the market, very understanding, and who are working with us to be flexible and ahead of the curve, if you will, with the wages and the compensations. And we’ve seen some of them that are still having a little bit of a resistance to it. And obviously those, you know, get on board later on. It just takes them a little bit of more time. So, the key right now that we’ve seen is that flexibility when it comes to what’s happening locally in that market and when having to change the logic that we had six months ago.

James Krouse [00:05:00] Well, let’s talk a little bit about the current labor situation, because that’s on everyone’s mind right now. What are some strategies that are working in the hospitality industry in tackling the labor shortage that we are facing right now?

Karla Dougherty [00:05:18] Absolutely. Well, let’s start with there’s no magic pill to fix this situation. But with that said, we are working with our current partners to be more flexible in the ways that we are recruiting, to still have a very good grassroots recruiting in each of the markets, to improve the communication with the candidate pool, to ensure that we’re not only telling them that wages are going to be different but also that the flexibility is going to be there, and also to ensure that we make these new roles or these roles that we’re offering in hospitality attractive for them and that they are still very mindful of the workload that they will have to have when they join the hotels. So, having those conversations and still being strategic about that. As a company, we never stop recruiting, not even during the pandemic, which I think has been a competitive edge for HSS because we were able to see firsthand some of that shifting the pools from the hotels to other industries. So that actually has helped us to inform and educate our clients of those trends and then have some collaborative approach on how do we bring back some of those associates to the hospitality industry.

James Krouse [00:06:40] And I know it’s hard to get to look beyond the pandemic, but I wondered if you’re seeing in your conversations with clients longer term trends that that are impacting hospitality good and bad.

Karla Dougherty [00:06:58] Yes, we’ve seen some of these trends. For instance, one of them is related to changes in assets from one management company to the other. So we’ve seen a lot of merging from companies and acquisitions within different portfolios. And with that, it has come also a big awareness at the level of the decision making for new services. In the past, we did notice that general managers at a proper level will have the buying decision. But right now, because of the costs associated with it and obviously the financial stress that the industry has, we see more involvement of their management company, their corporate offices, and indeed the ownerships in the decision process. So in the end, we do see that little by little there will be more opportunities for consolidation of some of these vendors or strategic partners, especially at a nationwide perspective, because they are looking more at the opportunities of having a better deal or improving their service quality and their standards and probably lower their cost. We are having these open conversations with them in order to help them where they need suport.

James Krouse [00:08:15] And that ties into HSS now being a KBS company. You mentioned that at the at the top. You want to just talk a little bit about that acquisition and also the benefits that it’s bringing to a lot of HSS clients.

Karla Dougherty [00:08:33] Yes, absolutely. So for instance, as part of our offer, SAM program last year I mentioned after the acquisition – our company has been very well known for thirty five plus years as a leader in the industry on the staffing side, as we have specialized mostly in that vertical, but with the acquisition of our company, now we have additional services that are critical as well for the facility management of the hotel and their operations. So now, instead of just being one of these two strategic partners for our clients, where we can offer only the labor force, the staffing side, we’re able to bundle some additional services that are also alleviating some of that shortage. For instance, of janitorial services, cleaning their kitchen and their public areas, their restaurants, as they are being open and back online, as well as some of the services involving the maintenance of the exterior, anything from their landscaping of the property, which again, taking consideration that some properties were close for a long time. So, getting these back online is attractive for their guests or keeping that in good shape as well as the parking lot maintenance or even the snow removal services in season.

James Krouse [00:09:51] Great. Well, Karla, that’s all the time we have. I’m sure we’re going to be talking again soon. I’m James Krouse with Hospitality Staffing Solutions. We’ve been talking to Carla Dougherty, who is the SVP of the Strategic Account Program there at HSS. And this has been the Hospitality Trends podcast. Thanks for watching and listening.

Karla Dougherty [00:10:13] Thank you, James.

 

 

 

 

Proven Hospitality Recruiting Strategies

Proven Hospitality Recruiting Strategies

Recruiting Strategies That Work

As the hospitality industry continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, recruiting candidates to fill open roles remains a top focus for many venues.

In early June, of the eight million available jobs in the U.S., one million hospitality jobs were open, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Often, hospitality venues struggle to find enough workers to fill their labor needs. However, there are some strategies they can employ to address this critical issue.

Here, we offer five recruiting strategies for hospitality employers to try:

Constant Recruiting

One factor that can boost a venue’s recruiting efforts is frequency. If a hiring organization is constantly stopping and starting to hire enough staff, that may hurt its ability to find – and keep – a skilled staff.

Instead, recruitment efforts that are continuous help establish an employer within the community. Given the rate of turnover some venues face, this approach can help meet the constant need to find and hire suitable candidates.

Community Involvement

By getting involved in community groups, a hiring organization can uncover potential job recruits and even potentially get to know them in a more relaxed environment.

Building trust can help attract strong candidates who may tend to be more loyal once they’re hired. Groups to explore include chambers of commerce and professional associations.

Social Media Engagement

It’s probably a given that most hospitality venues maintain a social media presence. But – if you’re simply posting – and failing to engage – your efforts there may fail to boost your hiring campaigns.

Posting consistently IS important but engaging with those who comment and share your posts is of equal significance. Be sure to respond if someone comments on your post. If they share it, thank them.

If you’re able to build a social media following of engaged members, your presence there can lead to a pool of potential candidates who may be primed and ready when you’re looking to fill roles within your business.

Digital Engagement

What is digital engagement? It includes all the methods your customers can interact with your organization online – so consider your web site, email, and social media.

Your web site should include job postings and a way to apply – or information on how to get in touch to apply. If you send out regular emails to your mailing list (perhaps you send a newsletter or other email campaigns), you can also include open job listings there.

Referrals

Have you overlooked one of the most vital sources of potential candidates? Referrals from your existing workers can be a source of strong applicants. Working where friends, neighbors or relatives already work can be an attractive prospect for many job seekers. And, if those they know who already work for your business have positive things to say about it, the trust that can create can be a draw, even for those who may be resistant to take a chance on a new role.

Consider starting an employee referral program, offering incentives to those who refer a candidate who is then hired. This may motivate current staff to recommend those they know. In addition, candidates who come through referral are more engaged, more productive and less likely to leave.

Supplementing Permanent Staff

Some organizations look at temporary staffing as a quick or emergency fix. In fact, many hotel properties work with staffing agencies to bolster their existing staff. This approach helps reduce the workload while also giving you another pool of talent to work with as demand ebbs and flows.

Factor Recruitment Strategies Into Your Hiring Plans

As hospitality venues move forward, recruitment efforts will play a major role in their success. Be sure to factor these strategies into your hiring plans and programs to achieve your recruitment goals.

Why Work in Hospitality

Why Work in Hospitality

Hospitality Career Benefits to Employees at All Levels

For those seeking work in an industry with a bright future, the hospitality industry is poised for tremendous growth. Summer tourism has been up, and the outlook for the coming months is also strong, as people crave the ability to get back out into the world.

Hotels make up the most significant part of this growth, contributing to a surge in providing more options for those who want to travel. One out of 10 jobs currently are provided through travel and tourism, while one out of five new jobs is created by the hospitality and tourism industry.

This growth offers opportunities for workers looking for job security – but what other advantages are there to working in a hotel? Let’s take a look.

Seven Advantages of Working in a Hotel

1) More control over your work: For those who enjoy working independently, working in a hotel provides the chance to do so, as many employees work on their own or as part of a small team. New ideas are often welcome, as the best hotels are constantly innovating to better serve customers. For those who are creative and able to pay attention to detail, the opportunities are endless.

2) Enjoyable environment: Working in a hotel provides a pleasant indoor environment, with well-designed surroundings and air conditioning. It’s also a dynamic atmosphere, with travelers coming and going, events taking place, and other factors that make every day different. It can be an ideal setting for those who don’t enjoy a typical workday where everything is the same day after day.

3) Perks including meals, parking and transportation: Working in a hotel comes with perks that other jobs don’t offer. Hotels may offer services they provide to guests to their staff, as well. For example, staff can enjoy benefits like catered meals, free parking, and sometimes even free transportation.

4) Chance to advance: The chance for advancement is higher than it is with other hourly jobs when working for a hotel. Little – or no – experience is needed for many roles, as training is provided. The industry offers workers a chance to grow and develop as the hotel business continues to expand. An entry-level position can quickly lead to more responsibility for those who show initiative. Tourism is a growing industry, and as such, there will always be a role for experienced workers.

5) Opportunities to work in exotic locations: Some hotels offer programs that allow workers to travel to various destinations, arranging transportation to and housing in remote resorts. The chance to travel and meet people from all over the world can be a compelling benefit. The hotel industry is truly a global community, attracting people from every nation.

6) Better work/life balance: While working in a hotel does require some weekend or holiday hours, it’s possible to balance one’s work schedule with their personal schedule. The higher one progresses, the more likely the schedule will provide more standard weekday hours, although the hours are predictable in roles such as housekeeper. For example, for working parents, the regular hours fall within when their children may be in school, making it an ideal schedule.

7) Friendly coworkers: The hotel industry highly values customer service, meaning that most employees exude friendliness and a positive attitude. If you’re looking for an industry that provides a fun environment, hospitality could be a great fit.

Hospitality Offers Unique Benefits

For those in search of a role in an ever-changing industry with limitless possibilities, working for a hotel can be an ideal option. The benefits of a predictable schedule with unusual perks and the chance to quickly move up the ladder can provide an opportunity that’s an excellent match for many seeking a career in a growing field.

How We’re Helping Senior Living Facilities with Hotel Staff

How We’re Helping Senior Living Facilities with Hotel Staff

HSS usually works with hotel and resorts. Today, we’re providing cleaning staff to senior living facilities. We’re helping these new customers fill their needs for qualified workers and helping put displaced housekeeper, food prep staff, and janitors from hotels to work during this crisis. We’re also working with our parent company, KBS, to provide deep cleaning and post-COVID cleaning response teams.

Luke Lindahl, SVP of Operations and James Krouse, VP of Sales and Marketing speak about how HSS is working with these new customers and what this pivot looks like today and in the future.

Thanking HSS Heroes

Thanking HSS Heroes

Like many businesses in the hospitality sector, the coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted our business here at HSS.  However, we’ve been able to turn our focus quickly to areas that do have a need for cleaning services, and by deploying our dedicated workers to senior living facilities, shipping and fulfillment centers, pharmacies, grocery stores, and medical facilities.  Basically, any essential business that needs cleaning and disinfecting now more than ever.  We’d like to send out a big Thank You to all of the HSS Heroes out there every day helping to fight this virus and keeping us safe.  The work you’re doing is so very important to all of us, at HSS and well beyond.

Things We Look For in New Candidates

So you’re looking for a job with Hospitality Staffing Solutions. What do we look for when searching for a new hire? What attributes do we like to see? 

  • Be Honest  

Honesty is a big part of any team effort, and the same is true in hospitality. Easy and open communication helps to get the job done. 

  • Detail Oriented 

Paying attention to even the little things can be very important in hospitality and seeing that you can take into account all the details of the job description and expectations will get you far. 

  • Teamwork Oriented 

Oftentimes, the work you’ll be doing means that you’ll be working with other people. Being able to operate well with a group of others is a good sign that you could perhaps be a fit for the position. 

  • People Skills 

One of the things you should be able to do when working in the hospitality industry is to have good customer service skills! It’s one of things we look for in potential candidates. 

  • Has Experience 

Having previous knowledge of what the job involves shows that you understand what may be required of you. Experience is always a thing that we’re looking for in new recruits.