Just as we are starting to see a rebound in bookings, a new challenge emerges: staffing the events.
Finding and retaining employees is proving to be this year’s most difficult task.
How serious is this issue? During the pandemic, The World Travel and Tourism Council predicted that 121 million of the world’s 330 million tourism-related jobs would be lost by 2020, resulting in nearly one-third of all jobs needing to be rehired when travel resumes.
However, not all agencies are experiencing the same level of distress. During the pandemic, The Clifford Wallace Agency prioritised their people.
“Our team members are the agency’s most valuable asset“: said Roger, Director at Clifford Wallace Agency.
“We work together as a team in both good and bad times. Even though the agency was closed for six months due to the pandemic, we kept being in touch with all our employees, including those who had recently been hired. ”
After more than a year, guests are now ready to return to events, but many agencies aren’t. Event organisers may struggle to maximise events if there are limitations on wait staff and line chefs.
Many agencies have adopted an all-hands-on-deck approach. Managers are being more agile and supporting with guest check-in, meal service, and filling in where needed.
However, this is not a long-term solution. Overworking your current employees will only result in more resignations, especially with so many open positions in the market.
Given this observation, should we simply downgrade high service levels while still providing a positive guest experience?
Of course not!!
The Clifford Wallace Agency adheres to four main principles that significantly facilitate in maintaining our high standard of service:
First, let your employees know you understand the strain they’re under. Recognising that they are being asked to work under difficult circumstances will go a long way towards retaining their trust. Empathy is required. Allow employees to see that managers and leaders are going above and beyond their job responsibilities to pick up the slack.
Most importantly, maintain open lines of communication. Inquire how they’re feeling and pay attention when they respond. Find ways to help them manage their mental well-being and stress.
Second, set manageable expectations for employees so they don’t believe they have to compensate for the staffing shortage on their own. Prioritise what’s important and assist them in understanding what needs to be done and what can wait.
Third, set expectations with guests before they arrive so they are aware of the challenges that the industry is facing.
Determine which services and amenities can be automated or serviced directly by guests.
Your ability to change services will vary depending on your service level, but any agency should be able to make minor changes that free up staff time. Can you persuade guests to check in via your mobile app rather than at the front desk? All these changes will reduce reliance on employees and free them up for more important tasks of food and beverage service and guest experience.
Lastly, we found many ways to recognise and reward employees who are working hard to make a difference. Fewer staff members mean an increased workload for those who are working. Everyone enjoys bonuses, and The Clifford Wallace Agency has increased pay rates and is providing direct incentives to employees. Furthermore, we assign our best shifts and senior responsibilities to workers who show initiative and give it their all. We regularly and publicly acknowledge their contributions. For many people, recognition goes a long way towards making them feel as though their sacrifices and hard work are valued.