The hospitality sector is resilient, motivated and sociable by nature, as has been demonstrated throughout the pandemic. However, there is a new challenge to be faced as furlough support comes to an end and brands need to restructure their teams.
Redundancy V Redeployment – the options
Caterer.com asked Sophie Canning, Talent Manager at Gaucho & M Restaurants and Oli Cavaliero, Head of Employer Brand at Honest Burgers why businesses should consider redeployment before redundancy during their recent webinar, Reboarding, Redeploying & Reskilling: The Role of ‘People People’.
Redundancies in hospitality
With the possibilities of redundancies in the sector becoming more than a talking point, we started by asking Sophie what her priorities for managing any redundancy process were.
“Anyone considering the redundancy process should have a very clear focus on the process. For me, it is about being objective but also compassionate, understanding that everyone’s situation is different. You have to really understand your team, listen to them, and have clear and simple communications throughout the whole procedure. You also need well-defined timelines with realistic outcomes so that there are no shocks.”
Examine all the alternatives
“It can be a tough time but before you consider redundancies, I would implore anyone to think about alternative options, a recruitment freeze, or reducing overtime, and then ultimately, think about cross–department training, potential secondment or sabbaticals before that final option of redundancy. You have to be human as if it were you on the receiving end of redundancy and treat the process with empathy and consideration.
We’re not going to be in this position forever, so workforce planning is paramount. There may well be a skills gap again. Could the people you are making redundant have a role within your organisation in the future?”
Widen the selection process
When considering any redundancy or redeployment process have the widest section process possible and look at all the variables. Location, length of service, skill sets and extra competencies, so that as a business you can gain a better overall picture of the impact of the process on your brand.
Explore and understand new skill sets
We asked Oli Cavaliero what steps could businesses take to redeploy people?
“Furlough has been a strange time for everyone, particularly in hospitality. Thinking about redeployment, the chances are that during lockdown your teams could have upskilled themselves, doing webinars, learning more tech platforms, signing up for apprenticeships, so the first step is to find out and understand what extra skill sets do they have, other than their existing technical skills for their particular role.
Oli continued, “I would suggest working with your directors or your operations team to think about whether people could be suitable in another role, could we stretch them, could we offer a trial period with a different department, maybe we could set them up shadowing someone else. Would your people consider different departments, roles or locations? We have to look at the wider soft skills around HR recruitment and think outside the box.”
Every person matters
“At Honest Burgers we’ve gone down the long route by trying to understand every single person’s needs and done everything we can to create hours for them. There have been redundancies and for those for people, if a job opens up for them in six or even 12 months, we’re going to welcome them back with open arms, because they’re great people.”
Keep in touch with Alumni
“At Gaucho our alumni have access to our platforms, for instance, Flow, if they want to keep learning. We also make sure that they’ve got access to company updates and have regular check-ins so that we can send them any useful materials, for example, top CV writing hints and tips, access to any kind of mental health support, or fitness. It is about making alumni feel engaged and part of our team and part of our brands.”
Sophie continued, “Some alumni might want to be left alone or only contacted once a month. Others might want to be involved in our cocktail masterclasses or our exercise classes or online yoga. So, treating each one individually and providing ad hoc support on their personal choices.”
Hospitality Internal Recruitment Exchange
Both Sophie and Oli are part of the group that formed HIRE (Hospitality Internal Recruitment Exchange), a collective that works to support the talent acquisition community. During lockdown HIRE extended its reach and created tools to help those being faced with redeployment.
Oli: The most recent project we worked on is ‘Get Hired’. Due to COVID-19 some HR and Talent Acquisition professionals have lost their jobs and are looking for new roles. We don’t want the hospitality sector to lose these people and their expertise. HIRE has created a platform where we can post jobs for ‘people people’.”
“It’s about trying to do something for people who unfortunately have lost their job. HIRE wanted to create a niche platform for people in the HR community, specifically wanting jobs, where we could make recommendations and help each other out.”
Tough choices ahead
The case for redeployment versus redundancy is a strong one, that will benefit those businesses brave enough to opt to try and keep their people in post over the coming months, instead of letting them go.
Some hospitality businesses are going to have to make hard choices. What is clear is that the hospitality sector is putting people first, thinking about how best to retain talent and if that isn’t possible, how best to ensure that they remain in contact until suitable job opportunities open up again.
Watch the live session