With a skills shortage threatening to undermine Britain’s restaurant scene, Springboard’s FutureChef offers hospitality employers a fresh approach to recruitment, says Caterer.com
The UK chef skills shortage is well documented and one of the biggest threats to the hospitality industry today. While waiting lists at popular restaurants grow, there are less chefs than ever available to cook the food customers crave. The situation is so critical that it’s threatening to undermine Britain’s restaurant scene, and presents an ever-present challenge for hospitality employers. Figures from the Employer Skill Survey 2015, produced by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), reveals that 47% of vacancies for chefs are difficult to recruit for, with chef shortages most prevalent in London (66%) and the South East (46%).
The survey goes on to suggest that the skills shortage could affect how we eat out, having a direct impact on the success of UK hospitality businesses. Some commentators even go so far as to suggest that the shortage of emerging young chefs could change the restaurant landscape forever, making fine dining redundant as restaurateurs choose high volume, low cost food over luxury.
Practically every UK restaurant has a shortage of staff, and this is impacting all ends of the restaurant spectrum, from fast food to fine dining. According to the People 1st State of the National Report 2013, around two thirds of hard-to-fill vacancies in the sector (65%) are hard to fill because applicants don’t have the skills required.
So what’s the solution?
Springboard’s FutureChef seeks to tackle, head-on, the challenges of recruiting and retaining young chefs and in doing so offers hospitality employers access to the best emerging talent at grass roots level. The programme reaches out to 11-16 year olds, expanding their understanding of food and cooking. It talks to schools, young people and their parents, encouraging them to positively consider a career in hospitality, challenging negative perceptions of the industry. Later in the programme, professional chefs mentor the participants, supporting their progress and teaching them core skills. Springboard’s FutureChef seeks to ensure a steady stream of young people joining the hospitality ranks. And, it seems, this approach is working.
This year, a staggering 8,000 11-16 year olds entered FutureChef.
Paul Whitecross, Head Chef of Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, and mentor to 16 year old second runner-up Connor Duncan, says, “2016 has seen more entries than ever, and this year we noticed a real shift in attitude. Now, young people are coming to us saying they want to be a chef. They see their friends and school mates becoming passionate about food through FutureChef and they want to get involved. It’s creating a whole new talent pool of aspiring young chefs.”
Trying to make a career choice at such a young age is a tough decision, says Whitecross, so FutureChef, which encourages 11-16 year olds to master their skills in a nurturing environment, is the way to attract new talent to the industry. Pairing aspiring young chefs like Connor with industry mentors like Whitecross enables supervised skills practice and a taste of real life work experience. In the case of Whitecross and his young charge Connor, this led to a permanent job, and the young chef now works full-time at Trump International Golf Links, alongside his mentor.
Says Whitecross: “Mentoring is all about nurturing aspiring young chefs and encouraging them to try new skills. The goal is to inspire them, share your passion for food and above all, give them the confidence to cook.”
The attributes of a good chef are cultural as well as skills-based, says Whitecross. “There’s more to it than just being able to cook. To succeed, a chef needs passion, imagination and creativity. They need to be a good team player and have a hunger for food. They should listen, learn and respect…and a modicum of cooking talent is a good start. By working closely with Connor through FutureChef I was able to nurture his skills, so by the time he joined me as a trainee chef he was already competent beyond his age.” For his part, Connor says, “Being this young and having so much under my belt already is amazing.”
This success story is one that is repeated many times for employers and participants involved in Springboard’s FutureChef. The national programme is a clear pipeline for talent.
With the chef skills shortage costing hospitality employers dear, FutureChef offers hospitality employers a new approach to recruitment. Working with the programme can help employers to tackle the skills challenge head on by engaging directly with enthusiastic and talented young people.
Interested in finding out more about FutureChef? Click here
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Are the best candidates considering you as an employer? Read our Caterer.com Top 6 Tips on boosting your employer brand appeal
Employer brand is often considered a concept that only applies to larger companies. The truth is, every business has an employer brand. It’s who you are, what you stand for, and the kind of company you are to work for. It’s an expression of your reputation, the benefits and rewards you give your staff, the culture of your workplace. It’s what sets you apart from the competition.
Top employers of all sizes from across the hospitality industry are embracing new and innovative approaches to aid their recruitment strategies, with employer brand at the heart.
In a skills shortage, employer brand matters. What’s more, investment in it drives recruitment costs down.
Ultimately, understanding your employer brand and communicating it to your candidates and employees will pay you back in terms of attraction, recruitment and retention rates. And you don’t need a big budget to get it right.
Our recent Caterer.com employer event looked at the meaning of employer brand and how businesses of every size can understand and communicate theirs. Here’s what our expert panel of hospitality employers say are the Top 6 Tips on boosting your employer brand appeal:
1. WORK OUT WHO YOU ARE
For many companies, the biggest challenge is defining their employer brand. What exactly does it mean? The simple way to begin the process is to remind yourself of why your business started and what it means to you. What are the values of the business? What matters? By getting back to basics you’ll start to create a point of difference that helps you stand out from the competition. This is the basis of your employer brand and all your communications should be an expression of it.
2. ASK YOUR MOST IMPORTANT CUSTOMERS – YOUR EMPLOYEES!
Many employers struggle to create a genuine employer brand message that resonates with the business and its employees. One of the best ways to tackle this is to engage your workforce in the process. Your current employees are your best customers and your best advocates, and know better than anyone what it’s like to work for you. Canvas their views and opinions to help you create an authentic message that you can communicate out to potential employees.
3. BUT…KEEP IT SIMPLE…
Beware the pitfalls of over-thinking! In large organisations, or companies with multiple founders or owners, visions can often be contradictory, and the obvious solution may seem to include all the various perspectives in your employer brand message. Do this at your peril! To keep things authentic, keep it simple. Look for the overriding themes in the views expressed. For example, if you run a restaurant, you might focus on the ethos behind your food and the service, the values behind your offering. This is the heartbeat of your business and it’s what makes you great and will appeal to potential candidates
4. GET SOCIAL
If you struggle to engage with potential employees, communicating your employer brand through social media channels can be an effective way to build general awareness. Tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram can act as a support for your ongoing recruitment campaigns by giving your business a personality online. Have fun with your content and share regularly. Focus on the things that represent your business best,including new starters, work anniversaries, celebrations; these all allow you to engage with a future candidate pool by giving them a view into your workplace. Engaging employees and candidates in a dialogue through social media also allows you to develop a talent pool of potential candidates for future roles
5. BE CONSISTENT
For some candidates, there’s disconnect between the brand they engage with as your consumer and the brand they experience through your recruitment campaigns. Whether you are a global brand or a local business, your future employees may well be your current employees, so take time to align your consumer brand and your employer brand messaging. Make sure your communications, no matter how big or small, are recognisable as coming from the same business
6. ENGAGE YOUR EMPLOYEES
Your current employees will take your employer brand message out into the market, so it’s important to look after them. Running regular employee engagement surveys will give you the chance to understand what matters to your people and where adjustments need to be made. This process does not have to be complicated. Whilst employee engagement specialists can support larger brands in the market, smaller businesses can easily and cost effectively set up staff surveys through sites such as Survey Monkey. And when you have the results, make sure you visibly act on them. An engaged workforce can be your biggest employer brand ambassadors!
Employer Brand was the topic of a recent Caterer.com event which brought together over 70 HR professionals and recruitment specialists with a panel including Jean-Pierre Gadsdon, Head of Recruitment for Carluccio’s, Harald Samuelsson, Senior Advisor/Commercial Director for Honest Burgers and Rachel Mellors, Managing Consultant for Cubiks UK.
Showcase your team’s successes and #GetRecognised in this year’s Caterer.com People Awards.
There are 12 categories for every stage of the recruitment process…which will you enter?
Whether it’s the best Candidate Experience or Rewards & Benefits Initiative, outstanding Learning & Development or Employee Engagement Programme, there’s a category for every team.
Shout about your achievements!
Request a form now by emailing email@example.com
A strong employer brand provides competitive edge, says Caterer.com, but how can it aid recruitment strategies?
“In the war of talent it’s so important you have your presence out there,” says Carluccio’s Head of Recruitment, Jean-Pierre (JP) Gadsdon, setting the tone for Caterer.com’s recent Employer Brand interactive panel session.
Gadsdon, together with Honest Burgers Commercial Director Harald Samuelsson and over 70 HR professionals and recruitment specialists, explored in more detail the new and innovative approaches top employers are adopting to aid their recruitment strategies.
With unemployment at its lowest rate since 2008, it’s no secret that great talent is hard to attract and retain. Employers need to work harder than ever and take the competitive edge in recruiting and retaining top talent, in turn building and leveraging strong employer brands. What’s clear is that employer brand matters in a skills shortage, and investment in it drives recruitment costs down.
For those new to the concept, employer brand is defined as the ‘commercially competitive qualities, reputation and attributes that set a company apart from the competition.’ In short, it’s the payback for investing in staff – attraction, retention and inspiration.
So what makes employer branding so important in today’s climate? Says Harald Samuelsson: “Recruitment has changed over the last 15 years. Today, potential employees want to know what they are letting themselves in for. Now it’s all about ‘what can you offer me?’ JP Gadsdon agrees: “Now you spend the first half of an interview selling the business to candidates. This is driven by the skills shortage and in part is due to the millennials’ approach to finding a job.”
What’s clear is that in defining your employer brand, finding your point of difference is key. However, far from being a corporate branding exercise there’s a real need for it to be authentic and genuine. As Harald Samuelsson says, “in this market there’s a need to keep it real.”
“As an industry, we are judged by Trip Advisor and the online community,” says JP Gadsdon. “All the bits that make you unique need to be out there. To attract millennials we need to show them why and how we are unique.”
In the bid to establish a meaningful employer brand, authenticity is key. “If your employer brand feels corporate and fake you’ll soon be found out,” warns JP Gadsdon. Drawing on his own experience at Carluccio’s he says: “You need to ensure that the people working in your business have a tone of voice that is common across all platforms. Create a consistent language.”
Harald Samuelsson concurs: “The employer brand needs to mean something to your employees. You can’t impose it on them.”
Offering guidance to a member of the audience who had recently opened a kebab shop in Clerkenwell, the Panel offered practical guidance on taking the first steps to define employer brand.
“The market is so competitive that you need to remember your point of difference. Why did you start the business and what does it mean to you? Leverage that,” says JP Gadsdon. “Give food samples to potential customers, tell them your story, share your vision. Give them something to follow and something to believe in. Use social media. Have fun with your content. Expose your followers to new experiences and ideas. ”
On differentiating yourself from the competition, Harald Samuelsson says: “Keep it real and remember your purpose. Follow through on the promises you make to staff. If you offer training, train them. Remember, your customers are potential employees.”
Talk of Branding can often raise alarm bells for those holding the purse strings, viewed as expensive. However, contrary to popular opinion, “You don’t need pots of money to get employer branding right,” says Carluccio’s JP Gadsdon.
A strong employer brand provides competitive edge and is sought after for hard to recruit candidates. This, in turn, can reduce recruitment costs. Says JP Gadsdon: “Recruitment is a by-product of great employer branding.” What’s more, employees who are totally aligned with your brand can act as advocates, in turn attracting new recruits. “By focusing on staff retention you’ll save on recruitment costs,” says Harald Samuelsson.
Branding is now a fundamental part of the employee journey. What’s more, to achieve cut through, a brand needs to be closely aligned internally and externally. “To present a strong employee brand you need to get back to your company roots,” says JP Gadsdon. “Employees need to have bought into both the consumer and employee brands for them to take you seriously. To align consumer and employee brands gives consistency.”
He continues: “It’s our responsibility as recruiters and HR professionals to get the message out there to potential employees. We need to help them de-select as much as select our businesses.”
“As an employer the starting point is how can we communicate our messages to the outside,” says Harald Samuelsson. “The messages in our heads need to be on the website. We need to ‘tickle’ potential employees and engage them in a dialogue. We need to sew the seeds for future roles to attract the best candidates.”
After all, as JP Gadsdon concludes: “If employer branding’s doing its job you’ll get the candidates.”
In an industry characterised by a skills shortage, an engaged workforce is invaluable.
So what is employee engagement? In a nut shell an engaged employee is one who is fully committed, enthusiastic and involved in their work. As a collective this means you have a workforce who are driving the company forward.
How do you get this? Well, we’ve done some research and these are the top five things you need to think about to get great employee engagement.
1. A clear vision: Employees want to know what the future vision for the company is. They want to know that leadership are aligned and have a clear view on where they are headed and how to get there. Even more so, they want to be taken on that journey with you and feel like they have a part to play in what that vision is.
2. Opportunity to grow: Without a clear development plan, roles can become stagnant and employees disengaged. The key employees with future potential need the room to grow and a path to do so. This will drive up your retention and attract more talent.
3. A voice that matters: It’s simple. We all want to be heard and taken seriously. Give everyone a voice and a channel to have meaningful dialogue with leadership and commit to it.
4. Confidence in leadership: This ties together point 1 and 3. Leadership should be present and engaged themselves. They should be regularly communicating with employees and keep the dialogue open. They should be inspiring confidence in employees that they know what they are doing and that they care.
5. Congratulate and celebrate: Finally, appreciation is important. Employees should be celebrated for victories, supported through tougher times and recognised for going above and beyond.
Have any of these points had a part to play in your great employee engagement programme? We want to hear about it! Enter our Caterer.com People Awards now in the Employee Engagement Programme category and get recognised as a leader in the industry.
We’re looking for entries that demonstrate a focus on understanding and successfully improving employee engagement levels, and the measurable value this has brought back to the business. Find out more and enter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Request your entry form for the Caterer.com People Awards by emailing email@example.com now!
If you entered before 8th June please email firstname.lastname@example.org as we have important information for you.
Every team has achieved something they’re really proud of, whether a company wide programme or a small, local initiative that has had a positive impact. These awards are about acknowledging the great work that you do, at every level of the recruitment process.
Every employer has achieved something they’re proud of. Tell us about it! There are 12 ways to Get Recognised with our Caterer.com People Awards.
It’s free to enter via our simple online form.
- Employee Engagement Programme
- Employer Brand Campaign
- Rewards & Benefits Initiative
- Learning & Development
- On-Boarding Programme
- Emerging Talent Initiative
- Candidate Experience
- Launch Campaign
- HR Team
- In-House Recruitment Team
- Leadership in recruitment, retention & development
- Ambassador to the industry
Marco Reick, HR Director at Bill’s, reveals how a fresh approach to recruitment has helped Bill’s source more of the right type of talent.
At our latest Caterer.com employer insight webinar, the panel explored the increasingly popular topic of hiring for cultural fit and training for skill. Throughout the webinar and busy Q&A session, Marco Reick, HR Director at Bill’s, shared insight with over 60 live delegates, speaking of Bill’s own recruitment methods and approaches around cultural fit.
Reick outlined key employee motivators that drive retention, the importance of internal stakeholder buy-in and the tangible benefits to team, customers and ultimately the business.
The 45 minute free to attend webinar ‘Hiring for cultural fit: going beyond skills set’ also featured Rachel Mellors, Managing Consultant, Cubiks, and Caterer.com Account Director Roy Walker. Rachel Mellors, Managing Consultant, Cubiks, talked through the key learnings from our recent employer round table on the topic, attended by 10 senior recruitment leaders. Read more here.
You can view the webinar free on demand now here.
Our next employer insight event takes place on 14th June, at Soho Hotel, London. This live interactive panel session will take a look at how Employer Brand directly impacts attraction, recruitment and retention in a competitive talent market. Employers and recruiters can register attendance here
Hospitality employers and recruiters gathered last night at Hilton London Bankside, together with our Caterer.com team, to celebrate the launch of the unique Caterer.com People Awards. Sales Director Neil Pattison spoke on the evolution of these awards over the last 5 years and announced their fresh new format. Guests then enjoyed drinks and canapes throughout the evening along with networking and the chance to talk through the awards in detail.
The prestigious Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality Awards have now re-launched as the Caterer.com People Awards. Entries are open until June 23rd. Get recognised!
Neil Pattison commented:
“For 5 successful years, our Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality Awards have celebrated hospitality employer success through the results of an online employee engagement survey. But through our close work with many hundreds of hospitality employers, the Caterer.com team know that whilst employee engagement is important, it is just one part of the complex recruitment and retention mix. So, we’ve moved our awards forward to a more relevant format, truly reflecting the great work carried out by today’s hospitality employers to address the various recruitment, retention and development challenges they face. In this respect, we are pleased to say our Caterer.com People Awards are unique to the sector.
We believe that every employer will have achieved something they’re really proud of in recruitment, retention and development, whether it’s a company-wide programme or a small, local initiative that has had a positive impact. Our Caterer.com People Awards are about acknowledging hospitality employers delivery at every stage of the recruitment process.”
In the new Caterer.com People Awards, Employee Engagement is still recognised in an award category of its own. However, the awards go further to recognise hospitality employers across the 12 categories including Employer Brand, Rewards & Benefits, Learning & Development, On-Boarding, Emerging Talent Initiatives, Candidate Experience and Launch Campaigns. Teams and individuals are recognised too, in the HR team and In-House Recruitment Team award categories and with the Leadership and Ambassador for the Industry awards.
Caterer.com People Awards are now open for entries until June 23rd. Entry is FREE, online, and simple to complete. We are encouraging every hospitality employer, of any size and in every location of the UK, to enter as many categories as they feel relevant and get recognised for their best work over the last year in recruitment, retention and development.
Our panels of judges are comprised of around 45 employers, recruiters, specialists, award winners and leaders from hospitality and complimentary sectors, bringing a fresh and unbiased approach to the judging process. Entries will be judged in July using transparent criteria and a clear, benchmarked scoring system. All entries will be exclusively reserved for the independent judging panel, with a shortlist announced closer to the time of the awards.
Make sure that you and your teams are rewarded for the amazing work you have delivered in the past year. Visit the awards site for all the detail you need on the categories, entry forms, judges and awards night.
If you have any questions our Caterer.com People Awards 2016 team are here to help- email@example.com