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How global thinking gets results

Caterer.com People Awards 2019 | Global Talent Attraction Strategy Award Winner | The Dorchester | Alice Merry, Talent & Culture Manager

Caterer.com People Awards Winners Interview

Thinking outside the usual recruitment channels, meticulous planning and a team that was 100% committed has yielded solid results for The Dorchester, winners of the 2019 Caterer.com Global Talent Attraction Strategy Award.

Commonwealth Countries

The Dorchester has recruited outside the UK but was finding it increasingly more difficult, especially for teams within their kitchens.  HR looked at countries that offered visas to their nationals to work in the UK and decided on Canada.

We asked Alice Merry, Talent & Culture Manager at The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, why Canada? ‘Canada is part of the commonwealth, which means people between the age of 18 and 30, with a Canadian passport, can obtain a visa to work in the U.K for two years quite easily.

Being Proactive

The Dorchester proactively reached out to Canadian hospitality schools and colleges to see if their year 3 or 4 students would be interested in an opportunity in London.  They also asked if they could visit the students in college to showcase the opportunities on offer.

Alice continued, ‘From here we planned our trip, and created an attractive package for all potential Canadian recruits to ensure their time with us would be as rewarding as possible, as well as easy to make the transition to London’.

Plan Ahead

This included a package for when they arrive, as well as a bonus for when they finish their 2 years. On the trip Alice and her colleagues visited 2 cities and 6 schools in 5 days, meeting hundreds of students, a lot of whom had never heard of The Dorchester’.

The aim was to hire 5 students to join in the autumn of 2019 as an initial trial of the programme, with expansion year on year.

Impact of the Strategy

We asked Alice about the impact of the Canadian strategy. ‘With 30 applications to the programme online, we were spoilt for choice of chefs and other candidates and interviewed over half, asking questions around their motivation for moving to London, their capacity to handle such a big move and also why they thought our programme was good for them.

We then successfully recruited our 5 people, including two chefs. Although this is only a small number, we are excited as a team to be building these relationships and offering the students an opportunity to work in the UK. The small number means that we can monitor how their move goes, and learn from their experience to recruit more and more every year’.

2020 and beyond

We asked Alice if they would repeat the campaign.  ‘We are already planning our next trip to Canada, with more schools on the list and a better idea of how to tempt the students into their next adventure. Ideally, we would like to expand further into other Commonwealth countries, such as Australia, and offer them a similar opportunity to come work at The Dorchester.

By going on this trip we increased our talent pool and it is only just the beginning of what we can do by taking advantage of the tier 5 youth mobility visa.

Alice’s Top 3 Tips

Finally, we asked Alice for her three top tips for any hospitality organisation planning a global recruitment strategy.

  1. Forget about the cost and how it fits into your overall recruitment strategy.  Think big, what is the dream and then work out ways to deliver that.
  2. Hospitality is by its nature culturally diverse so when considering recruitment outside your normal locations put the candidate in the middle of your planning – what will they need, what can you offer them, why should they join and more importantly stay with your organisation.
  3. Do the homework.  Make time to create relationships with schools and colleges that have the right cultural fit for your business and could provide a pipeline of talent into the future.

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