Creating a Values-Based Interview Framework for More Equitable Hiring

Creating a Values-Based Interview Framework for More Equitable Hiring

Talent Consutling

Creating a Values-Based Interview Framework for More Equitable Hiring

This UK airport wanted to create a more standardised process for interviews based on their organisational values. As their long-time RPO partner, PeopleScout’s Assessment Design team created a values-based interview framework to support hiring for six levels of seniority from entry level to director.

Situation 

The airport’s talent acquisition leaders noticed that different teams across their organisation were conducting different types of interviews. They wanted to create a standardised process for interviews, which both measured potential and ensured fairness. They also wanted to embed their company values into their assessment process to secure talent who are in alignment with their organisational culture. 

This company turned to their RPO partner, PeopleScout, to transform their values into a multi-level interview framework.  

Solution 

Our Assessment Design team got to work conducting desk research into the client’s existing values and created a template which was populated throughout the project. Consulting with the client in an iterative way, the designers set clear definitions for the values and created a collection of questions for each value. The client’s team reviewed a variety of options for interview question styles and decided what worked for them.  

These questions also corresponded to six levels of seniority—from entry level to director—totalling 36 banks of question. The question banks were organised in such a way that interviewers at the organisation could easily pick and mix questions for their needs. We also delivered scoring criteria to ensure fairness for all candidates.  

Results 

In the recruitment process, the new values-based interview framework has standardised and streamlined the interview stage. Now, our client is building the questions into an internal tech platform to make the interview process even easier for hiring managers.  

Beyond recruiting, the new framework has applications across the entire organisation to help employees understand how the organisation’s values are manifested in their role. This has catalysed a cultural change within the organisation as employees at all levels are thinking more about how they embody this company’s values in their daily work.  

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: UK Airport
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Talent Advisory
  • ABOUT THE CLIENT: This UK airport has nearly 75,000 employees, making it one of the country’s largest single-site employers.

Serving Up a Winning Contingent Workforce for Sporting Events

Serving Up a Winning Contingent Workforce for Sporting Events

Hospitality Contingent Workforce

Serving Up a Winning Contingent Workforce for Sporting Events

PeopleScout helped a food service provider manage contingent labor hiring for large events, delivering 100% customer and supplier satisfaction.

73,000 Annual assignments
27 % Diversity spend, exceeding client goals
645 k Dollars in cost savings
100 % Customer and supplier satisfaction

Situation

This food service provider supports large public and sporting events at arenas and stadiums requiring thousands of contingent workers. In order to scale up and down to staff these peak season events and maintain their steady, day-to-day contingent worker staffing needs, the organization engaged PeopleScout as their managed service provider (MSP).

Further, the client was also struggling to create detailed purchase orders for each shift of an event. Their vendor management system (VMS) was not set up to support shift timecards, creating an excessive burden on suppliers and managers to create multiple job postings, work order assignments and timecards.

Solution

PeopleScout’s MSP team developed a solution that allows the client to scale up and down to meet peak season needs and is managed by PeopleScout’s highly trained program specialist to provide a high-level of support. This peak season strategy includes proactive planning for high-volume large events, including weekly meetings with the PeopleScout team, the client and suppliers to provide market analysis and ensure that the client is able to fill essential roles for the events. PeopleScout also conducted a full-scale market rate analysis for all active job titles to inform candid conversations about competitive pay rates.

PeopleScout is also working with the client to update their VMS to streamline the hiring manager, supplier, project manager and user experience. The new technology reduces manual tasks and provides more visibility into trends, spend, and overall program performance, so the client can operate more strategically.

Finally, monthly audits of the client’s internal accounts payable systems are conducted to help manage compliance and onboarding requirements to mitigate risk, provide visibility and reporting, and manage quarterly performance.

Results

The updates to the client’s program have eliminated a massive administrative burden on suppliers and hiring managers, leading to 100% customer and supplier satisfaction. The PeopleScout MSP solution achieved a cost savings of more than $645,000, with additional cost savings expected following the full deployment of the new VMS. At one high-profile event, proactive strategy planning resulted in placement of over 3,000 contingent workers. As an added bonus, PeopleScout has exceeded the client’s DE&I goals, with 20% of suppliers considered diversity suppliers and a 27% increase in diversity spend.

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Food Service Provider
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Managed Service Program
  • ANNUAL HIRES: 73,000 contingent assignments annually
  • About the Client: This multinational food service and facilities services provider supports organizations across healthcare, business, hospitality, education, prisons and more.

Heathrow Airport: Delivering Over 1,000 New Security Officers in Just 6 Months

Heathrow Airport: Delivering Over 1,000 New Security Officers in Just 6 Months

Heathrow Airport: Delivering Over 1,000 New Security Officers in Just 6 Months

How we re-engineered Heathrow Airport’s security officer recruitment process with an entirely bespoke virtual assessment platform, which led to reduced costs.

1,000 vacancies filled in just 6 months
70 + NPS score from candidates which is considered excellent
73 % increase in candidates assessed through a bespoke online assessment platform
48 % of hires were women

Situation

Heathrow Airport is a major international airport in London. With over 80 million travellers passing through annually, hundreds of staff are required to support operations 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Security officers play a crucial role at the airport, screening baggage, engaging with passengers and patrolling the runways and terminals.

What started as an recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partnership for 400 security officers sourced over six months, quickly grew to 1,000 vacancies in the same amount of time as travel restrictions loosened throughout the pandemic.

Due to the nature of the role, all offers for the security officer role at Heathrow were contingent on the candidate passing a thorough background screening and counter terrorism check, which can take up to 16 weeks. This stage requires the candidate to complete a lot of paperwork which can’t be cut back, so Heathrow needed PeopleScout to create a recruitment process that was fast and easy. Plus, we needed to find a way to keep candidates engaged during the long security check period to minimize drop-off.

In the previous process, after applying, candidates completed a telephone interview and then attended an in-person assessment center event at a hotel near the airport. However, the Heathrow team were experiencing challenges with this approach.

There were inconsistencies in the quality of candidates getting through to the phone interview stage, meaning that pass rates at the assessment center events were low. As the hotel venue incurred a cost for Heathrow, they needed to ensure that only candidates with the right skills for the role were getting to this stage to maximize their investment. The hotel events were held infrequently, and the two four-hour sessions at each meant they could only assess 30 candidates per event, 15 candidates in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. Plus, during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the lockdown laws, these hotel events weren’t possible.

Solution

PeopleScout reengineered Heathrow’s security officer recruitment process to get candidates through the screening, interview and assessment stages in a matter of days—all done in a COVID-safe, virtual way.

We introduced a completely bespoke virtual testing platform called One Experience Assessment (1XP). The candidates completed the assessment after applying, which allowed us to screen for essential skills. Tests were engaging and video-based, creating an immersive experience showcasing what it would be like to work in the airport. Scenarios evaluated candidates’ spatial awareness, as well as their ability to identify potential hazards such as hidden weapons or unattended suitcases. This virtual assessment tool allowed Heathrow to evaluate 52 candidates per day (up from the previous 30) and eliminated venue rental costs.

Candidates who passed the virtual assessment center were immediately prompted to either schedule a telephone interview with one of our recruiters or to submit an audio recording of themselves answering pre-determined questions which were then screened. Successful candidates participated in a live virtual interview facilitated by our team, which we were able to expand to accommodate their high-volume recruiting.

To support offer holders during the background screening process, PeopleScout created a video that explained what to expect, which Heathrow sent out to candidates. Our recruiters checked in with these candidates to ensure they were completing the required paperwork in a timely manner. We continued these pre-start check-in calls after the background check process was underway in order to keep candidates engaged and ensure they were still keen to start onboarding once cleared.

Results

We not only filled the 1,000 security officer positions for Heathrow in the allotted six-month period—we exceeded the goal. By shifting the assessment stages to earlier in the journey, we were able to improve candidate quality and test more people at a faster rate—a 73% increase—with less expense for the client in the long run. Candidates loved the immersive assessment experience, giving an NPS score of 70+ out of 100.

In addition, we were able to improve diversity amongst new security officers—48% of the hires were women. Our partnership with Heathrow continues to expand through our always-on RPO approach.

PeopleScout was named the Supplier of the Year at Heathrow Airport’s Supplier Awards. We were also the winner of the Candidate Experience Award at the 2023 Personnel Today Awards for our work in partnership with Heathrow.

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Heathrow Airport
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing
  • ABOUT HEATHROW: Heathrow is the UK’s largest airport, located near London and serving millions of travelers from around the world. Heathrow is used by over 90 airlines flying to 214 destinations in 84 countries.

Navigating Security and Compliance Checks in Recruitment for Enhanced Efficiency and Candidate Experience

By James Chorley, EMEA Talent Solutions Director, RPO

In an era where security and compliance checks are taking center stage in corporate priorities, it is crucial to recognize their impact on strategic recruitment campaigns. The meticulous efforts of recruitment marketing and employer value proposition (EVP) teams can easily be compromized by a convoluted recruitment process, potentially driving away top-tier candidates.

In fact, recent surveys highlight that three-quarters of job seekers abandon lengthy recruitment processes. This underscores the urgency for organizations to optimize security and compliance checks to prevent potential top-tier candidates from losing interest.

Compliance Challenges for Lean Teams in High-Volume Recruitment

Devising a recruitment strategy requires careful consideration of security and compliance checks, documentation, and candidate data requirements. While experienced recruiters navigate vetting processes adeptly, lean teams face challenges in high-volume recruitment scenarios. Establishing clear guidelines becomes essential to ensure a seamless candidate journey, preventing dropouts and optimising the recruitment process.

Case Study: Transforming the Onboarding Process at International Airport

For this major international airport, entry-level security employees undergo a comprehensive onboarding process, necessitating the submission of detailed job and address histories spanning five years before the vetting commences. When airports resumed operations post-pandemic, as the airport’s recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner, PeopleScout’s focus shifted to streamlining this process, ensuring swift candidate progression and minimising post-offer dropouts.

Candidate Hub Development

At the core of our candidate-focused recruitment journey was the creation of a candidate hub, featuring a unique section for individuals who had passed the initial stages of the airport application. This hub aimed to guide candidates through every step of their journey while emphasising early preparation for the extensive onboarding requirements.

Streamlining Communication

To address the issue of candidates dropping out post-offer, we sought to reduce the volume of emails and attachments. Introducing a video-led section, we enhanced inclusivity by providing a clear understanding of the process. These videos, presented by actors and co-created with the airport’s resourcing team, humanized each stage, informing candidates about what to expect and what actions were required.

Improving Accessibility and Understanding

The video-led approach not only simplified the onboarding process but also contributed to a 36% increase in the weekly volume of offers. By focusing on documentation and key information required for onboarding, candidates were equipped with clear instructions, fostering a sense of inclusivity and understanding.

Enhancing Candidate Engagement

A key objective was to ensure a welcoming candidate journey. We achieved this by implementing regular check-ins over the phone, personalized messaging, and managing individual queries. Additionally, informative webinars were conducted to provide candidates with a seamless experience.

Exceptional Candidate Feedback

The impact of our efforts was reflected in exceptional candidate feedback, with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of plus 70. This underscored the success of our strategy in creating a more efficient, engaging, and inclusive hiring process at one of Europe’s busiest airports.

Dos and Don’ts for Managing New Hire Security Vetting Processes

To help you understand best practices for creating a friction-free vetting process while ensuring compliance, we’ve included practical tips to set clear expectations, provide context, and offer guidance, while avoiding overwhelming candidates with information.

Do:

  1. Set Clear Expectations Early: Clearly outline vetting requirements in the job ad or as part of initial pre-screen questions.
  2. Provide Context: Explain why specific checks are necessary for the role, helping candidates understand their relevance.
  3. Be Transparent about Onboarding Timelines: Inform candidates of the expected duration for the vetting process, ensuring alignment with their commitment levels.
  4. Guide Candidates: Offer advice on where candidates can obtain the necessary data, simplifying the information-gathering process.

Don’t:

  1. Overwhelm with Information: Avoid bombarding candidates with numerous emails and attachments all at once during the vetting stage.
  2. Neglect Reinforcement: Don’t go silent on candidates at this stage. Continually reinforce the reasons they applied and accepted the offer, emphasizing the value of the opportunity.
  3. Assume Uniform Understanding: Recognize that individuals process instructions differently, and provide information in a variety of formats, like bulleted lists and videos, to accommodate diverse learning styles.

Onboarding, Compliance and RPO

Crafting a considerate approach to security and compliance checks in recruitment becomes instrumental in fostering an exceptional candidate experience. Through proactive management of vetting requirements, transparent communication, and clear guidance, organizations fortify their defenses against talent loss. Even in high-volume scenarios, this approach ensures that the recruitment process remains not only efficient but also centered around the candidate’s needs.

At PeopleScout, we seamlessly integrate your go-to-market strategy with tailor-made solutions, ensuring candidates navigate the vetting process successfully. Our award-winning candidate experience solutions, combined with our renowned marketing strategies, form an ideal synergy. This powerful combination not only streamlines your pipeline but significantly enhances the efficiency of your funnel metrics.

Food Processing Company Slashes Costs, Boosts Compliance with Contingent Workforce Tech Overhaul

Food Processing Company Slashes Costs, Boosts Compliance with Contingent Workforce Tech Overhaul

MSP – Contingent Hiring Solution

Food Processing Company Slashes Costs, Boosts Compliance with Contingent Workforce Tech Overhaul

PeopleScout helped a leading food processor centralize and streamline its contingent hiring process through targeted technology improvements resulting in $500k annual cost savings and 19% payroll spend reduction.

500 k annual cost savings
19 % reduction in payroll spend
100 % compliance audit scores

Situation 

A leading food processing company was struggling to successfully utilize its contingent labor program across all divisions of the business. The challenges spread across 67 of the organization’s locations in 23 states, where the existing business model enabled them to operate independently.

This decentralization resulted in varied spending between locations, increased compliance risk and an unequal distribution of contingent opportunities across the program. Just ten suppliers held 84% of the program spend, which drove diversity spend below 5%.

The client had also recently announced an initiative to move several satellite offices into the company headquarters, requiring contingent workers to either relocate or work remotely when possible.

On top of this, the client was experiencing reporting limitations within their existing vendor management system (VMS), challenges with an oversaturated supply base and difficulty identifying workers for unique healthcare assignments related to worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To solve these issues, the organization approached PeopleScout to create a centralized contingent hiring solution.

Solution 

PeopleScout deployed several centralized technology process improvements across all client locations. This included implementing a more robust and enhanced VMS to improve the experience for hiring managers, suppliers and project managers. The new VMS also offered better reporting and visibility into the program spend, supplier performance, requisition management, time-to-fill and more. PeopleScout also provided the client with data for competitive benchmarking. 

PeopleScout initially experienced resistance to the new process from both managers and suppliers but overcame that obstacle by highlighting benefits like cost savings, competitive rates, expedited payment terms and more.  

As the company relocated workers, PeopleScout proactively reached out to offices where contingent workers were assigned to determine if staff could work remotely and provided strategies to assist in retention and filling vacancies. 

PeopleScout also provided Talent Advisory consulting services, including onsite meetings to review the value of MSP programs and total talent management solutions, and to discuss DE&I trends and goals with the client’s DE&I taskforce.

Results 

PeopleScout’s program led to a cost savings of $500k in annual billing and reduced payroll spend by 19% while increasing diversity spend to $2.7 million. Additionally, in interviewing 333 workers, project managers maintained an overall compliance audit score of 100%. Partnerships have been established with knowledgeable suppliers to provide sourcing support for the challenging healthcare roles. 

“I am so very grateful for all that you have done and are doing for our location. You have made this very easy on this end. I truly can’t thank you enough.” 

Client Hiring Manager 

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Food processing company
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Managed Service Program
  • LOCATIONS: 67 locations served in 23 states

3 Strategies for Solving Hospitality Recruitment Challenges with Technology

Amongst travel and hospitality recruitment challenges is a clear and persistent issue: staffing shortages. Talent leaders are struggling to fill empty roles amid low unemployment rates.

According to a 2023 survey by Deloitte, more than half of hotel executives (53%) say their properties have between 25–74% of the workforce they had in 2019. The situation at airports is even tighter with 62% of executives saying their workforce is half its prepandemic size or smaller.

On top of this, the unemployment rate sits at 3.8% in the U.S., 4.3% in the UK and 3.7% in Australia. The travel industry also saw a massive exodus of workers. In 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported record quit rates during the Great Resignation, with the quit rate in leisure and hospitality jumping by a percentage point to 6.4%. So, how can talent leaders hire hospitality and travel workers when the available pool is smaller?

Luckily, the right technology solutions deployed at the right times during the recruitment process can help talent leaders source, attract and screen candidates to find the best talent more efficiently and effectively. In this article, we’ll cover three technology interventions that talent acquisition teams can put into place to tackle hospitality recruitment challenges.

Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 1: Our open positions receive few applicants, and many of those who do apply do not have the background or experience needed to succeed in the role.

Solution No. 1: Invest in artificial intelligence sourcing technology to fill the top of your funnel.

Amongst common hospitality recruitment challenges that we see is finding talent with a wide variety of specialized skills across diverse and distant geographies. There is no one-size-fits all approach to hiring travel and hospitality talent. Finding a chef for a luxury property in Lake Como, Italy will look very different from a search for housekeeping staff at a family resort in Orlando, Florida. Finding a flight attendant looks very different from filling a baggage handler role.

With such a tight talent market, employers must target passive talent. During the Great Rehire talent leaders focused on filling roles as quickly as possible, but now they need to focus on finding and hiring more experienced workers.

An AI-enabled candidate sourcing tool can identify passive candidates with the right experience for specific roles and can even identify which candidates would be most likely to leave their current employers. Within seconds, recruiters can build a list of these candidates and share the opportunity. PeopleScout’s talent acquisition suite, AffinixTM, includes the AI sourcing feature, Talent Finder, which can connect employers with millions of passive candidates.

Consider the following best practices for using an AI sourcing tool:

  • Before searching for candidates, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the technical and soft skills needed to be successful in the role.
  • Use features, like PeopleScout’s Diversity Boost, that can identify candidates from underrepresented backgrounds to help meet your DE&I goals.
  • Blend AI with the human touch. By having a recruiter reach out to a sourced candidate with a personalized message, employers can create a positive experience.
  • Make sure a human makes all final hiring decisions. AI can make the process more efficient, but hiring managers should make the final call.

Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 2: Candidates drop out of our process before reaching the offer stage, either by abandoning the application or ghosting the interview.

Solution No. 2: Improve the candidate experience by making the process quick and easy by embracing tools like SMS or virtual interviews.

Hospitality employers must ensure that their candidate experience sets them apart from other employers at every stage of the candidate journey. For candidates, how they’re treated during the hiring process is a preview of what their experience will be as an employee.

PeopleScout research shows that the hospitality industry has a lot of room for improvement in this area. In our analysis of the candidate experience of more than 215 different organizations, the hospitality sector came in last overall with the lowest average scores in every stage except Follow-Up (in which it was second to last). While hospitality organizations effectively showcased their diversity and inclusion efforts on their career sites, only half gave candidates the opportunity to register their interest.

Your candidate experience should be unique to your brand and help you distinguish yourself from other employers hiring for similar roles or skills. Many talent acquisition teams don’t appreciate that candidates don’t perceive the recruitment process as a funnel. They’re the main character in their own story, and they expect to be treated that way. Candidates want to engage in their job search on their own terms. So, anytime they encounter a roadblock to getting the information they want, especially if they don’t know what to expect in the next stage, they’re more likely to drop out of your process.

There are several ways to leverage  technology to make the process easier for candidates. First, start with a shortened application. According to PeopleScout research, nearly 40% of organizations asked candidates to duplicate information that was already contained in their resume or CV. Make sure your application only collects the information that is most critical for determining who moves along to the next step of the process.

From there, other technology solutions can be used to gather the additional information necessary to make a hiring decision. SMS can be used for an initial text screening, and virtual interviews, like those available in Affinix, allow candidates to answer additional questions at their own pace while feeling as though they’re driving the process.

Finally, automated communication can keep a candidate engaged in the process. The right technology platform can help by sending automated messages to candidates, via email or chatbot technology, updating them on their application status. You can even craft messages letting a candidate know if they did not get the job, so they aren’t left wondering if you ghosted them.

Consider the following best practices for using technology to improve your candidate experience:

  • Make sure your application is mobile-friendly and can be filled out in 10 minutes or less. Test your current application to see how long it takes to apply.
  • Provide candidates with the opportunity to opt-in to receive text messages or emails from your organization to remain in compliance with local spam laws.
  • Tailor the type of virtual interview to the type of role. While video interviews may be appropriate for customer-facing roles, others may prefer the opportunity to answer questions with recorded audio.
  • Make it simple for candidates to understand where they are in your process; this can be something as simple as a progress bar.

Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 3: Our assessment process isn’t effective at identifying the candidates most likely to succeed in the role, leading to increased turnover, reduced productivity and disengaged employees.

Solution No. 3: Assess candidates for passion, purpose and mindset.

The travel and hospitality industry is all about guest experience, and hotels, airlines, restaurants and theme parks differentiate themselves with the unique experience that they provide. So, talent leaders need to find candidates who not only have the right skills and experience but also a deep understanding of the brand and how it is reflected in the service provided.

For example, in a major city, you may find three hotels on the same street, one catering to a high-end luxury experience in a historic building, another geared toward young travelers with bold art and hit music playing in the lobby, and a third designed with business travelers in mind—with a large business center, meeting rooms and plenty of quiet spaces for someone to plug in their laptop. Many hotel brands even have this variety of styles within their own portfolios. The service provided in each hotel looks different, and a person who excels at a luxury property may not thrive in a trendy hotel.

By selecting the right assessment tool, employers can go beyond looking at just capability, behavior and results but also determine whether candidates align with their organization’s purpose, have passion for the work they would do and whether they have the mindset to adapt to new environments.

By building an assessment during pre-screening that accounts for passion, purpose and mindset in addition to the standard skills and experience, employers can use technology to shortlist candidates based on several different attributes at the same time. This way, employers can get a clear picture of the different strengths and weaknesses of candidates in order to make informed decisions about which candidates are best to bring forward to the interview stage.

By identifying candidates who match well with an employer’s brand of guest experience, talent leaders can reduce turnover and build a happier, more engaged team. In turn, that leads to better customer experience and a better bottom line.

Consider the following best practices for building an effective assessment for hospitality talent:

  • Identify the essential behaviors for the role to separate those who will actually be successful from those who simply present well during an interview.
  • Build assessment tools around your organization’s vision and values so applicants have a chance to form a connection to them from the start.
  • Self-evaluation tools can also be used to help applicants consider their own strengths and whether the role will offer sufficient opportunity to use and demonstrate them.
  • Distinguish between good candidates who meet the criteria and great candidates who will take an organization further.

Finding the Right Talent Technology for Hospitality

The travel and hospitality industry still faces an uphill climb in returning to or even exceeding their prepandemic staffing levels, but talent leaders have additional and improved tools available to help identify, attract and screen candidates. However, in a full marketplace, finding the right tools can be a challenge. Consider partnering with an RPO with expertise in technology that can help identify the most impactful ways new tools can solve your most pressing hospitality recruitment challenges.

Get more strategies for attracting and hiring hospitality, travel and tourism talent, with our Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality.

Checking In: Updating Your Hospitality Recruitment Strategies for the New World of Work

Travel is back, but hospitality employers are still playing catch up. Travelers around the world are booking flights, checking into hotel rooms, making reservations and buying tickets. Brands are attracting customers but struggling to attract employees with the right hospitality recruitment strategies.

In 2020, the size of the global tourism market fell by nearly a trillion dollars as travel came to a halt. The industry finally surpassed its prepandemic highs in 2023, reaching a market size of $2.3 trillion (USD). But employment in the industry lags behind. In the U.S. alone, nearly 2 million hospitality jobs remain unfilled, according to the Washington Post.

The old hospitality recruitment strategies aren’t working anymore. The world of work has changed.  Many sectors have expanded the availability of remote and hybrid work, and many front-line hospitality workers left the industry for more flexible roles.

Employers must update their employer branding and candidate attraction strategies to draw in top hospitality talent. In this article, we cover the hospitality brain drain and provide hospitality recruitment strategies that talent leaders can put into place now to get ahead of the competition.

The Hospitality Industry Brain Drain

One of the largest lasting impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic is the permanent loss of talent.  as workers fled the travel and hospitality industry for more stable, more flexible or less customer-facing positions. While employment in the hospitality sector still lags, professional and business services saw 1.4 million new jobs added during the pandemic.

Rather than returning to employment in hotels or with airlines, many laid off workers looked for behind-the-scenes office work where they were offered more flexibility, more traditional hours and often higher pay.

In 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported record quit rates during the Great Resignation, with the quit rate in leisure and hospitality jumping by a percentage point to 6.4%.

This phenomenon, sometimes called “brain drain,” has left hospitality employers with not just fewer workers but also those with less experience. This has led to increased competition for experienced hospitality workers and often increased time-to-fill rates for more specialized hospitality roles. Talent leaders must work to coax experienced workers back to the industry while also focusing on the next generation. Below, we outline three strategies to bring back and bring in hospitality talent.

Top 3 Hospitality Recruitment Strategies

1. It’s Time to Update Your Employer Brand

In today’s talent market, hospitality employers need to stand out in a crowded field of competition. Your employer value proposition and employer brand will be what convinces top talent to join your organization, rather than the hotel down the street or the customer service job that will allow them to take calls from their home offices.

However, after the past several years, few have had the resources to invest in and update their employer brands. If you haven’t refreshed your employer brand in a few years, now is the time. Each hospitality brand has its own distinctive personality and style that should be reflected in both consumer marketing and employer branding.

Your employer value proposition, or EVP, is the foundation of your employer brand. Your EVP describes the give and get between employer and employee. At PeopleScout, our EVP work has five phases:

  1. Define
  2. Discover
  3. Develop
  4. Design
  5. Deploy

In the define stage, we build a baseline understanding of you and your competition through competitor audits, social listening, candidate experience diagnostics and collaborative sessions. In the discover phase, we go deeper to understand what makes your organization unique through interviews with leaders and employees throughout the organization.

From there, we analyze the data and develop an EVP prototype that we validate through workshops and interviews with employees. In the design phase, we create the creative concepts to bring your EVP to life with an employer brand playbook and employer brand toolkit. These include deliverables like EVP positioning and messaging, social media posts and ads, and printed materials like posters and exhibition stands for job fairs.

Finally, we deploy, focusing on an employee ambassador program that helps your current employees share their stories with prospective candidates. From there, your EVP and brand can flex and evolve to adapt to changing candidate expectations.

By honing your employer value proposition and attraction messaging, you can zero in the characteristics you need for the variety of roles you need filled. By shifting your mindset from focusing on getting the most applications, or even those with certain experience, to getting applications with the right profile, you can reduce attrition by increasing the likelihood of your new hires being successful.

2. Are Your Offers and Benefits Competitive?

The leisure and hospitality sector has seen some of the highest wage increases across all employers in recent years. In the U.S., wages in hospitality have risen 23% over the past three years. Additionally, workers have more options for hybrid or flexible work in other industries where the pay is similar or even higher. This makes it more difficult for hospitality employers to compete. According to the Boston Hospitality Review, compensation was one of the most cited reasons that people left the hospitality industry during the pandemic.

To stand out in this market, you need offers that are not only competitive in terms of salary but also provide the types of flexibility and benefits that candidates are looking for and can likely find in other industries. Hospitality candidates are increasingly interested in remote work. Google searches for “remote hotel jobs” have increased about 400% since 2019.

Many hospitality jobs require being on site, making hybrid work only possible for a small percentage of roles; however, employers should evaluate and offer the option when possible. Additionally, consider flexible work arrangements or scheduling that would allow front-line workers time to do things like pick children up from school.

Other benefits can also help bring in or bring back hospitality workers. While 88% of employees say that health benefits are important to them, only 30% of restaurants offer medical insurance. Not every employer will have the budget for health insurance, so consider other benefits, like caregiver benefits, parental leave or a commuting allowance.

You can also consider different compensation models. Consider a salaried front-of-house staff. According to Monster, employers who pay their front of house staff a salary gain an advantage for attracting top talent, and those workers create a better customer experience because they aren’t focused on “turn-and-burn” tactics. You can also consider profit sharing or bonuses to help attract and retain employees.

3. Focus on Culture

Your company culture may not be listed as a line item on a paystub, but it can serve as a benefit for attracting top talent in a tough industry. In any customer-facing role, employees can be subject to stressful situations, but a supportive culture can increase employee retention.

One survey found that 91% of hospitality workers have dealt with customers who believed they inherently deserved privileges or special treatment. Of those workers, 70% wanted to leave the industry entirely after confronting a demanding consumer. Employers need to ensure that they not only meet traveler expectations but also keep workers happy and focus on retention.

Hospitality employers should focus on building a supportive culture. This should start from day one with structured training and can include things like mentorship programs to support new employees and help them feel like part of the team. Additionally, consider adding wellness programs that include things like counseling or employee assistance programs.

Finally, the travel and hospitality sector has a unique opportunity to build a fun culture by creating ways for employees to enjoy the services normally provided to guests. This can look like VIP perks for employees and their friends and families, discounted meals or free meals during shifts, yearly overnight stays at hotels to celebrate work anniversaries or discounted tickets to events.

Choosing the Right Hospitality Recruiting Strategies

Candidate expectations are always changing, so hospitality employers need to find the recruitment strategies that work best to attract the right candidates at the right time. An experienced RPO provider can help talent leaders narrow down the best solutions and help build an employer brand to bring in top talent with the right skills and mindset.

To get more strategies for attracting and hiring hospitality, travel and tourism talent, download our Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality.

The Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality

Attracting Older Workers to Retail and Hospitality Jobs

According to a global study by Bain & Company, workers aged 55 and older make up over 25% of the workforce in G7 countries by 2031, making older workers one of the most in-demand talent pools for employers today. In the UK, the government launched a “returnership” initiative to inspire those over the age of 50 to come back to work or to seek a career change. This scheme involves three programs that help older workers retrain and learn new skills, providing workers with a clear roadmap back into the workplace and encouraging organizations to hire them. In Western Australia, the Job Reconnect program provides grants to both employers and employees to cover costs related to licences, upskilling, and even work clothing, transport and childcare.

It’s crucial for retail and hospitality employers to know how to entice older workers back to work and to make the most of their valuable talent. Known as the ‘sandwich generation’—defined by caring for their elderly parents and also dependent children or grandchildren—older works have a strong work ethic. Customer facing and front of house roles enable them to fit work around caring for family and other responsibilities.

Keep reading for key insights from our panel discussion and get the latest research to understand exactly what older workers want and what retail and hospitality organizations can do attract this in-demand demographic.

What Do Older Workers Want?

What do over 50s want and need from an employer? Does your organization know how to attract and engage this older workforce and how to hire and retain them?

Flexibility

Unsurprisingly, monetary concerns are coaxing older workers back into the workplace due to the cost-of-living crisis. However, when it comes to choosing an employer, flexibility takes precedence over money.

Hospitality roles typically attract a younger demographic of workers. However, the flexibility offered by these jobs also appeals to the older working generation. Given that the over 50s are the largest age group with caring roles, flexible and part-time work is a powerful motivator for them to fit a job into their routine.  

As well as permanent roles, seasonal and flexible roles are available within the hospitality and retail industries, which can be more attractive to the older working community. Working harder in those seasonal months creates work-life balance, allowing older workers to take time off during quieter periods to recover and be with their friends and family.

Sense of Belonging

Workers in this age rage are still searching for rewarding work. Older workers wish to find a place where they can feel a part of their local community and give back. Over 50s enjoy creating social connections that a customer-facing job in a restaurant or supermarket can provide.

Customer-facing roles in hospitality and retail give individuals the chance to serve and connect with their community. For older customers, seeing employees in shops and restaurants that represent them can boost the customer experience. 

Myths About Older Workers

There are plenty of misconceptions out there from employers and colleagues about hiring and working with older workers. Consider these myths busted.

Myth 1: Older Workers are Resistant to Technology

Certain words can be viewed as a turn off for an over 50s audience, including “tech-savvy”, which some see as a way to ward off older candidates. There are older people who will feel excluded because others wrongly perceive that they’re less capable with technology, when in fact they are part of a generation that has seen huge advancements in technology. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is in his late 60s, and Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple is in his early 60s.

Recognise that all colleagues work differently with technology, so you must be thoughtful in your use of training. In hospitality and retail, workers are likely to be using tills and sales computer systems. Regardless of whether a person struggles with technology, an organization should have a strong program in place to support workers as they learn how to use these tools. For example, consider implementing a buddy system of workers and leaders who will happily help new employees in their first few weeks as they learn point-of-sale systems.

Myth 2: Absences are Higher Because of Health Issues

As people get older, their health can decline. However, this doesn’t mean that absenteeism is higher amongst older workers. In fact, older workers are more likely to have higher everyday attendance rates due to their strong work ethic. When you do see sickness or absence, it is typically in the form of long-term leave, rather than the odd day here and there.

Myth 3: Older Workers are Less Productive Than Younger Workers

A study demonstrated that there was no different between younger and older workers in terms of productivity. This study found that with their years of experience and memories, older people perhaps dismiss new information when they process things and instead use past information. It’s therefore important to acknowledge that older workers aren’t doing things worse, they just do these things differently through their years of experience.

What Can Organizations Do to Attract Older Workers?

So, how can retail and hospitality organization tap into this hard-working talent pool? Here are four questions to ask to ensure your talent acquisition program is over-50s friendly.

Are Your Candidate Attraction Materials Inclusive for Everyone?

To attract older workers, you must think more creatively and broadly.  Use community-based websites to engage with people who live close to your locations. Show how the job will fit into their lifestyle and what it would be like for an older person to work there, rather than a generic message. Create testimonials from your current employees to support this.

Make sure that your imagery is diverse, featuring people of all ages. Look at your marketing materials and ensure that it reflects the community so that over 50s can see that jobs in hospitality are here for them. Take advantage of local community-boards in community centers and supermarkets.

How is Your Candidate Experience?

Retention and attraction are very different. Employers can encourage people to apply for jobs through their advertisements, yet ultimately, it is down to the experience the candidate has during the recruitment process, induction and beyond. The candidate experience is what will make them accept the position and stay at the company. 

When younger workers leave education, they’re taught how to answer competency-based interview questions and how to write a resume. The older generation of workers likely won’t have a resume and may not have experience with this kind of interview. Is your interview process age inclusive and relevant to them?

Are You Giving Them What They Want?

Now that we’ve shared what older workers want, is your organization serious about flexible shift patterns? Over 40% of the part-time workforce is aged over 50. Not only does this part-time schedule work in hospitality, but also in retail, in which the holiday season creates a huge demand for workers.

Different shift patterns in retail can support individuals in their family commitments and lifestyle. Look at your employees’ caring responsibilities, for partners, for children, for elderly parents, and take this into account when creating your shift offerings.

But what else does this generation want from you? Everyone responds well to positive feedback. Both the retail and hospitality industries are great at celebrating successes, shown through brilliant behavior and examples across organizations.

Finally, show that your organization values them by offering benefit packages. Health is a priority for everyone as we get older, and health benefits can help to attract them to your organization.

Does Your Anti-Bias Training Include Age?

Ageism usually gets the least amount of focus across the DE&I plan. Train your leaders and hiring managers on unconscious bias particularly as it relates to age. Ensure there are no biases lurking in the recruitment process to open up talent pools instead of closing them down.

FUTURE OF WORK

DESTINATION 2030: 10 PREDICTIONS FOR WHAT’S NEXT IN THE WORLD OF WORK

Hospitality & Travel Industry Recruitment is On the Road Again [Infographic]

When the pandemic struck in 2020, the travel and hospitality industry saw some of the biggest impacts worldwide, and the reverberations and recovery are still shaping the industry years later.  

Now, people are traveling again, but while many industries have recovered the jobs lost in 2020, hospitality lags behind. The industry faces a new set of talent challenges, but employers have the opportunity to reshape their talent programs for the world of travel.   

Check out this infographic for insights on this transforming industry.

Through the job market volatility that has defined the hiring market for the past three years, the travel and hospitality industry saw some of the biggest impacts worldwide, and the reverberations and recovery are still shaping the industry years later. Now, people are traveling again, but while many industries have regained the jobs lost in 2020, hospitality lags behind.  

 

Travelers are finally ready to hit the skies, seas and roads for both personal and business travel. 

 

After several years of staying close to home, pent up demand has the travel industry booming. Global travel revenue is expected to triple 2020 levels by 2027. Full recovery of business travel to 2019 spend volumes appears likely by late 2024 or early 2025.i 

 

Travel is more meaningful than it used to be, leading to increased traveler expectations and more challenges for hospitality staff. 

 

46% of people say travel is now more important to them than it was before the pandemic.ii  

43% of people are upping their travel budget in 2023.iii 

91% of hospitality workers said they have dealt with customers who believed they inherently deserved privileges or special treatment, and 70% have wanted to leave the industry as a result.iv 

 However, hospitality staffing has not caught up to the renewed demand.  

 

In the U.S. alone, nearly 2 million hospitality jobs remain unfilled, even as hiring slows in other industries.v 

In September 2022, 87% of hoteliers reported staffing shortages.vi 

In the UK, hospitality job openings are still 74% higher than they were in January and February of 2020.vii 

 

One big reason for that? Millions of hospitality workers fled the industry during the pandemic and recovery. 

 

15.6% of people left their hospitality jobs in March 2020.viii 

8.3% of hospitality staff left the sector between August and September 2022.ix 

 

 

Do you need help hiring hospitality workers? Learn about how you can attract the next generation of workers, build more diverse teams and plan for the future in The Recruitment Handbook for Hospitality and Travel. 

  

[Download your copy now!] 

For more hospitality insights, download our ebook, The Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality.

The Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality

The Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality

5 Strategies for Recruiting the Best Travel and Hospitality Talent Now and into the Future

Through the job market volatility that has defined the hiring market for the past three years, the travel and hospitality industry saw some of the biggest impacts worldwide, and the reverberations and recovery are still shaping the industry years later.

While many industries have recovered the jobs lost in 2020, hospitality lags behind. While people are traveling again, the industry faces a new set of talent challenges, from a talent exodus to shifting traveler expectations. Now, employers have the opportunity to reshape their talent programs for the world of travel.

In this handbook, you’ll learn:

  • Global trends driving the need for travel and hospitality talent
  • Strategies for overcoming challenges in your travel and hospitality hiring programs
  • How partnering with an RPO provider can help