Have you noticed the increasing number of signs in windows of restaurants and pubs saying ‘Staff needed’? As the UK moves closer to full employment, it is going to become more difficult for businesses to find and hold onto the right staff. The foodservice sector has a particularly poor record for hanging onto people, even if they are good at what they do, observes PAPA director, Jim Winship.
Part of the trouble is that young people see working as a waiter, delivery driver or kitchen hand as a stop-gap to something else more interesting and exciting. Unlike some other countries where waiting can be respected as a career in itself, it is more often viewed as a dead-end in the UK.
Yet we need good staff to make our businesses work and each time someone has to be replaced it costs money – not only in recruitment costs but also in training. All too often, they too are leaving just at the time they start to perform the job with credit!
As well as the disruption to business, this can also have a detrimental effect on customer service.
Furthermore, with the living wage coming in from April, people costs are going to rise further, which makes it all the more important that we find ways of reducing this endless drain on business resources.
We will be looking at some of the ways businesses can help to change this – by encouraging employees to stay and become part of an enthusiastic team; by building career paths that can incentivise them; and by helping to change attitudes.
One of the key pieces of work for the Pizza Pasta & Italian Food Association over the coming months and years will be to try and change attitudes by promoting some of the career opportunities in the industry. We will be highlighting some of those who have entered the industry – often at the bottom – and lifted themselves to the top.
Through these columns we will also be looking at some of the ways businesses are working to change this culture and things you can do to hang on to the good staff you want to keep.