Does is add up? A post from HR in hospitality

Does it add up?

By Sam Coulstock, Vice Chairman of HR in hospitality

17 million – what is 17 million?  In the UK today, 17 million people are not able to deal with numbers – imagine getting the lift and not knowing which button to press, or not being able to give cash in a shop to pay for your shopping. It is something that most of us today do not have to worry about, but a growing number of people in the UK do.

It is likely that in your organisation, you have employees who struggle with simple maths and may not even be able to work out a simple household budget. 

Should we just accept this? Should people simply say ‘I can’t do maths’ and leave it at that? Or should we work to try and help change people’s attitude towards this issue? What can be done? Who can help?

Lots of attention is given to people who struggle with words – I for one struggled at school. Iwas diagnosed with Dyslexia from the age of 11 and was lucky to receive special attention and extra lessons. These days even more is known about the condition and is Dyslexia is widely accepted by society and employers to the extent that it is perhaps not much of a barrier any more.  But what about numbers? With literacy improving but numeracy levels deteriorating what can be done to improve this situation?

The National Numeracy organisation are launching a challenge this summer to reach 1 million people to test what level they are at and offer help, support and basic training to people who take the online challenge. I think that this is one of the most important issues facing our work force today.  With people on low incomes more likely to be affected by probelms with maths, we as responsible employers and as an industry should take the opportunity to help them.  After all, a work force that is happy is going to be more productive and effective at work.  The National Numeracy simple online challenge for your employees could have a massive impact on them and your business in the future.

HR in hospitality held an event recently at Marriott Park Lane to explore this issue. It was attended by 30 human resource and training professionals from the hospitality industry who together concluded that employers would (not should!) look at what they could do in each of the businesses they represent and take part in a pilot programme this summer. It’s a big step forward. What will you do?

About HR in hospitality

HR in hospitalityprovides a forum for Human Resources professionals & other interested parties within the hospitality industry. We hold regular networking events, learning sessions and awards. For more information visit


Mya Lacarte Team - Best Employers in Hospitality 2012

A year as the best employers in hospitality – Mya Lacarte

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Could the retail sector’s loss be the hospitality employers’ gain?

Take a glance at the news or visit your local town centre and you might forecast a bleak future for the UK high street. With the latest retail casualties once seen as high street stalwarts, it’s easy to imagine a wasteland of boarded up shop fronts. However, the reality is far from pessimistic. It’s clear that the high street is evolving, driven by the tough economy and changing consumer habits. Some high profile retail brands (along with their employees) are suffering in the process, but there is continued growth taking place in other significant areas. Most notably, in the branded restaurant sector.

A recent report by construction data analysis firm Planning Pipe highlighted that planning permission applications from restaurants are at their highest ever rate, with two proposals currently being put forward each day. The UK high street now boasts a huge range of branded dining options, with Nando’s, Cote, Café Rouge, Wagamama and Carluccio’s amongst those with multiple new openings. Pubs and bars are also developing their offering, with Greene King just one example of a brand with sites undergoing refurbishment and expansion.

This good news for the sector also brings with it significant challenge, as new openings require teams of high quality staff. With the skills shortage in the hospitality industry as acute as ever, restaurant sector employers are in constant need of relevant candidates. As any HR Manager in branded restaurants will tell you; it’s an unrelenting pressure.

Could the changes on the high street provide some respite to the hospitality industry’s thirst for candidates? With hundreds of retail job losses being announced, many in customer facing roles, could the retail sector’s loss be the hospitality employers’ gain?

Many believe that the skills required for customer facing staff in retail and hospitality are different. Yet, aren’t the hallmarks of a strong front of house candidate (chiefly the ability to provide a great customer experience and sell up in the process) shared by retail candidates too?

If that’s the case, then could branded restaurant employers benefit from fishing in the growing pool of available retail candidates?

For some, looking beyond the industry may seem a step too far, but the concept can apply within it too. Candidates who wish to move across industry sectors often find resistance from prospective employers, who prefer to recruit in their own image. Yet, if blue-print candidates are in short supply, those from other sectors can often provide the answer. Might candidates with transferable skills provide part of the solution to hospitality employers’ endless recruitment needs.

Many forward thinking employers with effective recruitment strategies seek candidates with transferable skills, not just within their own organisations but beyond into other sectors and industries. With growth in the UK hospitality industry ongoing, despite the grim economic conditions, it’s clear that recruitment needs are not going to fade.

Should hospitality employers be growing their talent pool by embracing candidates with transferable skills? If so, the UK high street may be just the place to start.

Pop-Up People

Pop-ups have been a huge trend for 2012, whether it be the likes of The Electrolux Cube, Noma at Claridge’s, Pittcue or Pret a Diner there has been an abundance of them, from the top of the spectrum to everyday eats. Wahacha also delivered a superb and innovative pop-up on the Southbank this summer, setting their sights high with 8 shipping containers modified to create an interlinked open space on 2 levels including panoramic windows.

These pop-ups allow customers to try out new experiences whether it be the chef, the location or the type of food and these operations need people behind them that are geared up to provide the optimal experience. With only a short period of time opening, whether it be a day, week, month or season they must maximise footfall and bookings and have the right people to deliver the pop-up.

The pop-up concepts are likely to continue as a trend for 2013 as it also allows businesses with units to trial locations before committing to a lease and generates good brand affinity and buzz. Just ensure that you have the right operations team and high quality chefs and front of house teams to deliver the experience.  Look at their previous experiences in the industry and plan ahead for your projects in 2013 and get the best people in place by using

The Best Employer Scotland 2012 Goes To…

Best Employers in Hospitality 2012 ScotlandThe Knight Residence near Edinburgh Castle and known for  their award winning, five star, serviced apartments took this years title for Best Employer in Hospitality Awards 2012 Scotland.

The awards were again held and the superb and unique Prestonfield Edinburgh.  The team are known for their philosophy to deliver; “efficient, unobtrusive, helpful and friendly; each member of our team is there simply to provide you with the very best in Scottish hospitality…”

They also took the title for Best Small Independent Hotel Employer. We caught up with Mr Colin Stone, General Manager and he said;

“I’m absolutely delighted to win, it’s a really great accolade to add to our set of awards and be recognised for being a Best Employer. It means that we’re working well with our team and therefore delivering a good experience to our guests. We work hard to engage with the team and develop them wherever possible. Good communication with our staff is key and they are more than just employees, they all take ownership of their roles.”

It’s a good time to review how you engage and motivate your teams ahead of the new year and what will always be a tough trading time. Think about how you can retain your teams by being a ‘Best Employer’ and deliver the best possible experience to both your staff and guests.

By working hard now you can prepare to enter and win the awards next year, after all it’s important to not only recruit team members but keep them when you get them.

For more on how works with industry click here.

The Christmas Conundrum

Every year we all think about getting the right amount of staff in for the peaks and troughs that the run up to Christmas brings. With the inevitable Christmas parties kicking off in the next couple of weeks, businesses will be gearing up to deliver what should be the biggest contribution to their bottom line this year.

Getting the right level of staff in is always tricky, either you, overstaff and send people home or are rushing around and deliver a bad experience and your customers who won’t come back. To beat the yearly conundrum here are our top recruiter tips for the Christmas rush:

  1. Look back at your last two years sales (if available) and use the 8 week trading period as a guide to manage your rota. (Take the snowfall into account, which would have had an impact on footfall).
  2. Speak to any team members that were with you last year about any unexpected rushes or quiet periods.
  3. Communicate with your team – give them a draft rota and get them scheduled in for hard to cover shifts such as Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and the New Year period.
  4. Offer peak shifts – ie 3 hour slots that some team members will work to generate more hours and tips.
  5. Recruit a Christmas host to welcome, seat and say goodbye to guests, this will allow them to manage the capacity of each section.
  6. Give any new recruits the right level of training – keep their sections simple and allow them to deliver the best they can in one area.

Please feel free to share your tips from running previous operations and recruiting over the Christmas period as we would love to hear them. If you require additional staff over the Christmas period then get recruiting now on

MyTrends: A Chef’s Guide to Recruitment

We recently spoke to head chef Allan Picket on the state of chef recruitment in the hospitality industry and, in his opinion, there could be signs of a skill shortage on the horizon. Allan, head chef at Plateau in London, said: “With the amount of openings in London alone this summer, I do wonder how all the positions available will be filled.”

Allan has worked alongside top chefs like Michel Roux Junior and Marco Pierre White, and has given us an insider’s view on what it’s currently like on the front line of chef recruitment, along with top tips for recruiters and applicants, for MyTrends — a handy cut-out-and-keep visual guide to chef recruitment that you can share with colleagues and contemporaries. Check it out below, or download a PDF version:

Click the image for a bigger version, or embed our MyTrends: Chefs visual guide to chef recruitment on your site by copying and pasting the code below.

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Hr in hospitality awards celebrate the best the industry has to offer

The HR in hospitality awards 2012 were hosted at the Dorchester and celebrated the achievements of Human Resources within all sectors of the hospitality industry.  With over £5,000 raised on the night for the HR in hospitality’s chosen charities of Springboard UK and Hospitality Action it was a huge success for not just the winners. Judges for the awards included Ian Burke from and Penny Moore from Hospitality Action.

The Excellence in Recruitment and Retention Award went to Red Carnation Hotels for their innovative initiatives for looking for new talent to join the industry.  Liz McGivern, Vice President HR said “We are so delighted to be recognised for this by industry leaders and our contemporaries.  Finding great people and holding onto them isn’t easy, so how brilliant to have this endorsement.”

Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons were the very proud winner of the Establishing Links with Schools and Colleges award.  Julia Murrell, HR Director said “I can’t tell you how pleased we all are at Le Manoir – the whole team – as we have worked so hard to build relationships with education.  This was definitely the year when all our efforts really paid off.  Thank you to HR in hospitality for recognising us”.

The famous Rising Star award went this year to Philip Jackson from Jumeirah – a talent beyond expectation and one to watch for the future!  Philip looked delighted at winning this prestigious award that has recognized so many people who have gone on to become true ‘forces to be reckoned with’ in the industry.

Excellence by an Operations / Line Manager award was, for the first time in 17 years, won by two people – the judges were unable to place one contender over the other.  The joint winners were Tzveta Ivanova from the Milestone Hotel and Amanda Godfrey from The Savoy.  Director of HR, Emma Jayne, from The Savoy said “The whole Savoy HR team were absolutely thrilled to see Amanda Godfrey, who is one of our strongest People Leaders here at The Savoy, receive this wonderful accolade in recognition of her continued commitment to her Back of House Team’s welfare, development and basically her huge support and motivation for the sheer hard work they put in every day in our hotel.”

Employee Engagement award was won by IHG Group and Zoe Hiscoke was truly surprised and delighted “This award is very dear to our hearts. We pride ourselves on creating great hotels that guests love and this can’t be achieved without our associates.”

Excellence in Learning and Development award went this year to CH & Co for their superb approach to employee development.  Park Plaza were also awarded a special Highly Recommended by the judges.

Anyone within any sector of hospitality interested in getting involved or being a member should in the first instance visit the website

HEI TrendWatch: Your Path to Employee Retention

The UK’s descent into a double-dip recession in the first quarter of 2012 put a furrow on the brow of many business leaders across the hospitality industry. While most sectors were left reeling though, hoteliers were able to breathe a partial sigh of relief, according to the Hospitality Employment Index (HEI) report Q1 2012, produced by People1st, in partnership with But even though the HEI indicated that hotel job ads were up compared to the first quarter of 2011, there were strong indications that businesses need to invest in their future by finding ways of increasing employee retention.

Click the image for a bigger version, or embed our Choose Them, Keep Them, Train Them infographic on your site by copying and pasting the code below.

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Jobs on the go

The recent Hospitality Employer Index report produced by People1st in partnership with highlights that according to the European Dining Index from Livebookings, online restaurant booking in the UK more than doubled in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 2011. Furthermore, bookings made via mobile phones had trebled. The report also pointed out that nearly a third of restaurants in the UK do not have a website, and the authors estimate that that this could result in an approximately £31,000 revenue loss each year.

With this in mind businesses are not only losing potential business but also a route for customers and potential staff to interact with them.’s recent user profile survey showed that 46 percent of respondents have used their mobile phones to apply for jobs and 60 percent have used a tablet. Moreover, 82 percent of respondents said they will make more use of their mobile phone or tablet in the future to search for jobs. This trend will continue to grow and the use of a second screen, i.e. phone or tablet whilst watching television is becoming more and more common, especially for this age group.

Without a website or area for people to find out more about you your competitor has the upper hand. Updates, notifications and emails are now all done on the go so ensure your company profiles and available jobs are kept up to date so that you can attract the right people at the right time.  Visit now to update your profile and post your jobs.


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