Looking for a Few Good Employees: 
How to Attract and Keep the Best
By Elizabeth Johnson, Public Relations Manager, EI  

The latest figures on record-low unemployment may have economists cheering, but you’ve got jobs to fill and no one to fill them.  Before you call the newspaper to place your standard help-wanted ad—again—take another look at your recruiting strategies.  Good employees are out there, if you know where to look and how to attract them to your property. 

Get Creative

The first step in creative recruiting is to determine the skills, experience, and behaviors needed to succeed in a particular position.  Reviewing job descriptions, task lists, and performance standards will give you a good idea of what’s expected in a job.  Observing employees on the job and talking with senior employees will fill out the job picture. 

Now that you know what qualifications to look for in a job candidate, you not only need to attract applicants, but also convince them that the position you’re offering is the position they want.  Competition is fierce among service industries for a shrinking pool of workers.  What will make a job at your property more attractive to a job seeker than a job at the mall or the pizza parlor down the street? 

Aim at a Target

Target marketing is the key.  Just as you target your property to various kinds of travelers, you need to target your workplace to various groups in the “New Workforce.”  Here is a list of groups of potential employees that are under-represented in the hospitality industry and the benefits that might lead them to apply for a job at your property. 

  • Diverse ethnic groups—education and professional development, health benefits, transportation to and from work
  • Legal immigrants—assistance learning English, training and development, health benefits
  • People with disabilities—accessibility, career development and opportunities for advancement, health benefits 
  • Seniors—training and education, new skills, flexible schedules, health benefits
  • Women—daycare referrals or assistance, career mobility, flexible schedules 
  • Young people—fun, team-oriented environment, flexible schedule, career development 
Nearly everyone in the New Workforce values the opportunity for training and development.  All other factors being equal, a company that is committed to training its employees will be more attractive to a job candidate than a company where training is not a priority. Training will also help you keep good employees once you’ve got them. 

Next, instead of writing a generic help-wanted ad, try writing several different versions of your ad, highlighting the benefits that will attract a more diverse pool of applicants. 

And don’t limit your ad placement to the daily newspaper.  Community organizations and senior centers, places of worship, school placement offices and career fairs, employment agencies, radio, and the Internet are all places to showcase your ad.  

In your search for new employees, don’t overlook the employees you already have.  Ask employees to help recruit new staff.  They know what’s expected on the job and they may know someone who’s just perfect for the position.  As an incentive, offer a cash bonus if the person they refer stays with the company for a certain length of time. 

Once You’ve Got Them, Keep Them

Recruiting good employees is only part of the equation.  Unless you can keep them on the job, you’ll find yourself placing those want ads again and again. 

Take the time to discover what motivates your employees. A good starting point is the benefits package promised when you hired them. Make sure you deliver what you promised—whether it’s professional development, a team environment, a chance to learn new skills, or flexible schedules. 

Many managers mistakenly believe that money is the most important motivator.  However, research studies have shown recognition for a job well done, professional development opportunities, and concern for an employee’s personal life often rank higher than increased pay as motivational factors. 

Communicate with your employees, recognize the work they are doing, and thank them for their contribution to your property’s success.  People want to know that what they do makes a difference.  When your employees feel they are an important part of your operation, they will be more likely to stay. 

This article originally appeared in AAHOA Hospitality

For more information on recruiting and retention resources from the Educational Institute, contact info@ei-ahma.org

800 N. Magnolia Ave., Suite 1800
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 999-8100 • (800) 752-4567
fax (407) 236-7848
web site: http://www.ei-ahma.org
Also See:
The Labor Squeeze: Finding Good Employees / Elizabeth Johnson / EI
Who Are You Hiring? Pre-Employment Screenings Help You Find Out / Elizabeth Johnson / EI

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