Recruiting for Retail and Hospitality: Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Read our top takeaways from our Recruiting for Retail and Hospitality: Attracting and Retaining Top Talent webinar!

Avatar of Seb Waterfield

Seb Waterfield

UK Marketing Manager at Teamtailor

In this industry-specific webinar, our host, Leah Spradley, chatted to Sophie Melrose, Global Talent Acquisition Lead at Astrid & Miyu, and Paul James, Sales Director at Hospitality Jobs UK to get their takes on recruiting effectively through the likes of your talent pool, automation and your employer brand in both retail and hospitality.

Watch the full recording here:

Here are the key takeaways from the session: 

Ensure your ATS or recruitment system is aligned with your brand

It’s vitally important to have a hiring software that not only aligns with your hiring strategy, but also your culture, values and overall brand. For instance, if you have a playful, more contemporary brand, you may opt for an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) or recruitment platform with a more modern user experience and interface. Generally within both retail and hospitality, there is a range of different recruitment software, including numerous ATSs, so choosing the right one isn’t always easy. 

Your recruitment software also needs to reflect how you treat your candidates, as this has a direct impact on their experience of your application process. Time-saving tools such as triggers are great for streamlining recruitment, encouraging hiring manager collaboration and reducing key metrics such as time-to-hire. Within hospitality for example, it’s important to have a software that is user-friendly enough for decentralised recruitment teams to be able to collaborate effectively and receive the same, thorough training.

When it comes to your candidates, it’s important to determine when to use the AI tools you have at your disposal and when to be that little bit more personal with certain touch points such as an email with specific candidate feedback. This may also include letting a candidate know when they can hear back from you, drawing upon something you shared in a face-to-face interview, or providing personal feedback on why a candidate has been unsuccessful, which is easy to neglect.

Market your recruitment

Most hiring managers are very aware of the power of the employer brand and in retail and hospitality it’s no different. Due to many candidates coming in at entry level and for many it’s often their first role, the first impression they get is paramount. Whether it’s your career site or an alternative platform, your first touchpoint has to sell. Often, companies in both industries promote their opportunities for career development on their career sites, with the nature of the industries offering candidates without certain qualifications the chance to move up the ranks fairly promisingly. 

There’s also a great deal of investment, particularly in hospitality, that goes into the EVP (Employee Value Proposition), which broadly covers the perks and benefits framework that a company offers. Many hospitality organisations, whether it’s Honest Burgers or Flat Iron, really want to showcase what it’s like to work in their environment through their own people, whether it’s as a store manager or a chef, attempting to reverse the stereotype of the long working weeks and lack of flexibility.

Such strategies involve ‘a day in the life of’ videos where an employee is given the opportunity to document what they do on a typical day on the company’s social media, using the employee as a platform to showcase an advertised role, which let’s be honest, beats scrolling through countless job ads. With this in mind, hiring managers should be wary particularly with large retail and hospitality brands that have subsidiaries and various job roles. Ensuring the tone of voice and style of communication on all channels is important to provide candidates with an authentic lens for your company. Much of the younger generation are good at spotting when they are being sold a dream. Your marketing revolves around your people and the stories they tell, in order to allow the candidate to imagine what it’s like to work at your company. And the more this comes from them, the more transparent your employer brand will become.

Your company values are the crux of your employer brand. This is an area that Astrid & Miyu have developed significantly in the last few years through focus groups and workshops with their teams, understanding that these values come first and foremost, from their people. Once these values are established, it’s important to implement them in your recruitment process. These are not only used as benchmarks to determine how you recruit but they should also be used for your employees to live and breathe during their time at work. It’s easy to define values and leave them by the wayside on the office wall.

Transmit transparency to achieve retention

It’s no secret that the nature of roles in both industries have always been subject to high turnover. However, the balance is starting to shift, and with the prominence of mental health and desires for more work flexibility growing across all industries, companies have become more tolerant to this, ditching rigidity of work schedules and prioritising employees’ work-life balance. Because let’s face it, in the battle for talent, if you’re not offering any flexibility as an employer, there are other employers out there that will.

As touched upon briefly before, offering something as free as transparency is often the key foundation to a healthy company culture. Sometimes going that extra mile to be honest with a candidate has positive consequences in the long term. Candidates will appreciate the more realistic expectations of the role too, such as the challenges they may face along the way.

Change the status quo for the next generation

It’s common for many people to see jobs in retail and hospitality as merely stopgaps for students, in their search for something more sustainable in the future. Much of it needs to start with the Millennial parents who are perhaps more ingrained in this stigma, so this can trickle down to their children who now make up both Gen Z and Gen Alpha. As an HR, Talent and Recruitment community, conducting talks at schools offers a way to promote what the industries have to offer for career development and the long term benefits of remaining in these roles. 

Appealing to the next generation also requires roles within the industries to be more inclusive. This can start with providing different ways in which candidates can apply to your roles, whether it’s through their phone or a different device so they can access everything on the go. Being inclusive towards the wider, diverse community is also vital. You may choose to opt to move away, like a lot of companies, from the traditional job description and permit candidates to apply by writing a blurb or uploading a portfolio on why they want to work for you. If the candidate prefers to avoid a written style of communication, you may allow them to make an audio or video recording instead. Having these various options puts them at ease as they won’t feel forced to apply in one way that may not suit them and risk being disadvantaged as a result. This also gives the candidate the reassurance that if successful, they can be part of an environment where they’re empowered and championed. Much of the younger generation desire that sense of belonging in a workplace, where it’s much less about the salary, but about having an environment where they can mix their social and work personality.

Thank you to our speakers and everyone who joined the webinar! If you'd like to connect with our speakers, you can find their details below:

Sophie Melrose, Global Talent Acquisition Lead at Astrid & Miyu

Paul James, Sales Director at Hospitality Jobs UK

Leah Spradley, Account Executive at Teamtailor

If you'd like to see Teamtailor's AI assistant, Co-pilot in action, click below!

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