Professional Comment

The Christmas Staffing Conundrum: What Businesses’ Can Do To Ensure A Smooth End To The Year

By UK Country Manager Johan De Jager from Brigad, the hospitality platform for professionals

The festive season poses a unique set of challenges for the hospitality industry. On the one hand, business is booming which is fantastic for the sector but on the other hand, trying to service that extra custom whilst maintaining the highest possible standards can be a real issue for managers and business owners.

Looking at our data, the demand for independent hospitality professionals has risen by a third between November and December, with the total demand rising a staggering 67% between the third and fourth quarters of the year. And it’s not just entry-level positions that are needed, we see demand for more experienced roles such as chef de partie, bartenders, sous chefs and waiting staff increase at this time of year.

This huge boost in demand puts real pressure on managers and business owners to supplement their workforce with skilled professionals that can maintain the highest possible service levels at the busiest time of year. Finding independent professionals who are flexible enough to fill the roster gaps that come up as the cover counts and working hours increase can be a major stumbling block. The scenario that we all want to avoid in hospitality at this time of year is that these issues impact on the customer’s experience – something that can tarnish reputations and be detrimental to the business longer term.

It is difficult to estimate the number of hours that the hiring process takes, but it can be a real time drain, and often result in sifting through mountains of irrelevant CVs, running trial shifts where candidates sometimes do not turn up and taking on people who was not always up to standard, sometimes out of sheer desperation. This slow speed of connection to the right people for the job is a major issue for many of those in the industry who would much rather be concentrating on providing excellent service and maximising sales.

What can be done?

Careful planning for the festive season is one of the ways to ease the burden at this time of year. Looking at our data, the increase in demand for skilled independent professionals follows a general trend each year. Keeping track of your company’s figures and planning ahead can be a great solution. The earlier you anticipate the need, the earlier you can start your recruitment process.

Embracing new technology is another way to help ease the strain. Hospitality talent platforms provide a great go-to pool of skilled independent professionals. By providing a much faster speed of connection than the traditional convoluted recruitment process, they ensure that managers can quickly and easily find professionals who are already vetted and can meet their needs.

Easing the worry that your seasonal staff might not be skilled up enough to offer a seamless customer experience is surely one of the best gifts those in the hospitality industry can receive, ensuring businesses can focus on fantastic festive service.