Thank goodness for Bake Off! There’s nothing like a soggy bottom or soft round baps to lift the spirits and help us forget the challenges of the past 21 months, as well as bring us back to a sense of joyful normality.
Part of this normality is also the return to a more normal office life.
Working in the world of hospitality, it’s great to see pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels bouncing back – in particular, breathing renewed life into our towns and city centres. People are enjoying the chance to socialise once again, eating out, meeting for drinks and planning weekends away.
But it’s not all joy and happiness – there are definitely a few bumps on the journey out of the pandemic.
It’s worrying to hear of establishments having to change their opening hours due to staffing shortages. The recruitment challenge is nothing new and has been bubbling away for some time now. In fact, encouraging young people into hospitality has been an ongoing challenge for decades. Complacency is no longer an option. Now more than ever, the industry must work on its branding and appear more appealing to school, college and University leavers as a professional and viable career option.
My first job was in a local hotel, and I learned so much from my time there. Customer service, teamwork, financial management in cashing up and balancing the till, the ability to sell and upsell, pouring the perfect pint – I could go on! That role really was the perfect place to start my career.
Fast forward 30 or so years and I’m still involved in hospitality. Today, rather than working behind the bar, I am part of a team that is shaping the future of hospitality by creating and developing connected technology solutions for this exciting and dynamic sector. Whether it’s the latest EPOS system, order & pay app or online booking system, the chances are Zonal is behind it.
We spend a lot of time working with schools and colleges to encourage people into the industry. We showcase our company at career events, offer office tours and presentations to schools, attend STEM events to shout about the opportunities available, we try lots of different routes to attract people to us.
Ultimately, though, we still currently have around 70 live vacancies. The challenge to find talent and encourage people into those roles is real. In order to support our business growth, we need those extra people. Is it now time to think differently about those challenges?
As a business, we’ve always been keen to support and develop our people. We have a lot of long service and expertise in our business and, as a result, regularly promote from within. In the last six months alone, we’ve promoted more than 15 employees into more senior roles. This is a great success story and one we’re incredibly proud of. Quite rightly so too.
Our people are our greatest asset and retaining them is key to business success. We’ve had great success with our Graduate Schemes and Apprentices too. Our first ever Apprentice hire eight years ago is now, several promotions later, heading up our Helpcentre Technical Support team. Another, supervises our Repair Centre.
Growing our own, creates good succession, provides career progression and development and retains the best talent in the business.