Staffing Where It’s Hard to Staff: Five Pro Tips That Work
Resorts in locations that are off the beaten path offer incredible guest experiences. Be it an island getaway, Western Dude Ranch, or a spa outside the city center – it’s no wonder these high-caliber properties attract so many new and returning visitors year after year.
A large part of creating memorable experiences for every guest is hiring the best staff at the property; however, these somewhat remote locations present recruiting challenges that can sometimes make it difficult to hire enough workers, especially for temporary or seasonal openings.
At HSS, we provide contingent labor to some of the most noteworthy seasonal and year-round resorts in the United States. Here are five best practices we’ve learned from our work with them.
The first step to creating an attractive work experience for a remote property is to market the opportunities. It’s important to really sell the benefits of working in a prestigious resort if we are trying to attract people – sometimes from faraway places. Why should they come all the way to rural Wyoming for a temporary position when there’s probably a handful of hotels in the town where they already live? The skills they will build working at a luxury property will add to their marketability for future positions, and they can enjoy a truly unique work experience.
Part of any optimized staffing strategy is being sure the pay range is appropriate. Given our national reach (with 90 offices across the country), we frequently conduct comprehensive pay-rate analyses to help our property management teams gain a better understanding of what hospitality candidates expect to earn in a remote location. This service has become even more valuable during the current staffing crunch.
Housing and Meals
While pay is an important consideration, other tangible benefits have proved to be quite valuable in attracting and retaining staff.
Some workers at a high-end remote resort live in the surrounding towns, but many of them come from farther away. Being able to offer housing solutions for these workers could be the difference between securing quality talent and continuing the search in an already limited talent pool. We also work with clients that provide meals – both on-site and sometimes through vouchers.
While some properties shy away from this approach, due to cost and occupancy concerns, our clients have found it to be a valuable option that keeps quality standards aligned with high guest expectations.
In our experience, folding these benefits in as part of a pilot program is a good place to start. This allows a property to gauge results and efficacy. Seasonal resorts in remote locations have excelled at maximizing revenue with this approach and can prove instructive to year-round properties; evaluate your peak-booking season and provide housing for supplemental staff during those peaks.
As stated earlier, many workers at remote destinations do not live in the immediate vicinity of the property. Depending on the situation, even if they live in a nearby town, transportation issues may prevent them from easily getting to work. Providing transportation options locally (bus or shuttle) or from anywhere in the U.S. (plane ticket) is a great way to overcome candidate challenges with commuting.
If offering a transportation package to workers, it’s important to have the proper insurance in place and enforce compliance protocols. It can be tempting to take shortcuts here, but in the long run, having these measures in place creates a better experience for all involved.
When finding candidates for remote hospitality positions, it’s critical to search outside of the immediate area. Since HSS has nationwide reach, we are capable of tapping into many other markets to find top-notch candidates. Diversifying the talent pool also helps increase the likelihood of finding the needed staff, including H2B and J1 candidates, seasonal college workers, local talent, or initiatives like the innovative HSS Puerto Rico Plus Program.
Despite the obstacles that often come with staffing remote locations, HSS has the resources and expertise to not only identify and place the best talent, but also to be sure the talent is rewarded with an unforgettable experience working at world-class properties.
To learn more about our exciting and rewarding opportunities and current openings, visit hssstaffing.com.
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