As we’ve been discussing extensively in our newsletter and Employer Resources over the last year, the needs, preferences, and desires of job seekers in the hospitality and tourism industries has shifted dramatically as a result of the pandemic. The industry continues to be in a state of reconfiguring itself and finding a new normal. This process will likely unfold for many years to come.
As you prepare to hopefully enjoy some time celebrating the holidays with friends and family before the months-long dash to staff up for the upcoming season, we wanted to leave you with some 2021 parting takeaways. From our surveying of seasonal workers as well as the feedback they share with us directly and within the CoolWorks Community, we’ve learned that the top priorities for job seekers today are: wages that support the cost of living, feeling safe and supported by management in their workplace, and having access to affordable housing with their seasonal job opportunities.
As those priorities take top focus for users browsing our site, employers who are providing the most transparent, upfront information are poised to have the greatest success in their recruitment marketing efforts. Here are some areas to key in on for making sure you’re providing the information that job seekers are most interested in to ensure you’re attracting on-target candidates and setting yourself (and your potential new hire) up for a positive employment experience.
One complaint we are hearing regularly from job seekers these days is that they were hired and agreed to do a specific job, and upon arriving, were asked to do something entirely outside of the scope of the position they accepted, or a different job altogether (e.g. being hired as a waiter or busser, and asked to be a housekeeper for a few weeks or months, etc.). It’s common for business demands to fluctuate in a hospitality setting, especially for smaller businesses, but asking employees to accept one position and then presenting them with something different after they’ve traveled a great distance under the guise of filling the original role agreed upon is not a good practice, and employees will often leave when presented this scenario. If you need your staff to wear different hats, be explicit and communicate that in your hiring materials and interview process. Create a role specifically to reflect the varying needs that explicitly state that purpose in the title and job description (Utility Position, Multi-Focus Hospitality Staff, Resort Associate etc). When job seekers have a clear understanding of what you need and expect from their role prior to accepting a position, and what they agreed to is what is asked of them once they arrive, there is a much better chance that they’ll work out and be a good fit for your team.
A big change is happening quickly across all industries: employers are regularly advertising their wages in their recruitment materials. The ones who are not are experiencing much lower application rates. In the years prior to the pandemic, it was common for employers to exclude this information from employment ads, and save conversations around compensation for further along in the hiring process. That trend has shifted rapidly as employers are leveraging increased wages, signing bonuses, end of season bonuses, and other compensation to entice job seekers to consider applying. One consequence is that employers who exclude this information run the risk that job seekers will completely overlook them and move on to different opportunities. Trends change over time, and employers may one day revert back, but that’s simply not the way the wind is blowing today. Job seekers are increasingly focused on making a living wage in the face of rising costs of living are not inclined to consider opportunities without first getting an idea of what their income would be.
Room & Board
Perhaps no aspect of seasonal employment is more important to prospective candidates than housing and meals – two of our most essential human needs. For every possible housing arrangement – shared dorms, private room, yurt / wall tent, RV spot – there is a pool of interested candidates out there. But increasingly, job seekers want detailed and accurate information about what will be provided, and when what’s promised doesn’t align with what’s provided, a short-lived employment relationship is often the outcome. No matter the specifics of your particular housing offerings, be clear and transparent about communicating those details. Provide photos of housing. Be clear about details surrounding roommates and common/shared areas (bathrooms, kitchens, etc.). These spaces are going to be home for your staff. They don’t have to be luxurious; they simply need to be clean, safe, and in line with what is promised and what they expect. If not, they may be likely to cut short their time with your company, after investing considerable time and money traveling to your location, and this is a loose-loose for all involved.
We all know that hiring is costly, data shows that turnover is even more costly. Communicating the critical details of the employee experience from the very beginning and fostering a culture founded on transparency will ensure not only that you’re attracting the candidates best suited for your organization, but also that they’ll be best prepared to enjoy the experience that your company provides and spend a full season helping your team accomplish its goals.