One Key Factor to Improve Your 2022 Retail & Hospitality Hiring Strategy

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Strategic workforce planning for hourly roles in retail and hospitality may be more about what employers don’t require from candidates than what they do. During a time when employers would usually be focused on seasonal roles, they are still struggling to find full-time workers. Many companies are re-assessing their qualifications for hourly roles, from requiring a high-school diploma to college degrees to drug screening. 

Given that many employers use college degrees when screening to help them sort through large numbers of job applications, even when the credential does not relate to how an individual performs in the job, dropping this requirement for hourly roles in retail and hospitality just makes sense.

Related: Why Seasonal Hiring for Retail and Ecommerce is Lagging This Year

According to a November 6 article in The Wall Street Journal, Help Really Wanted: No Degree, Work Experience or Background Checks, “employers are easing job requirements and speeding up hiring procedures to survive a U.S. labor market with more openings than applicants.”  

“In a labor market where job openings outnumber applicants, companies are brainstorming how to get more candidates in the door and to the floor. The hiring overhaul signals a potentially broad rethink of job qualifications, a change that could help millions of people enter jobs previously out of reach, according to economists and workforce experts.”

While eliminating requirements for degrees or prior experience can give you and your team a larger talent pool from which to hire, it’s important to consider the impact it may have on your current employees – specifically those responsible for training new employees – as well as the time it takes to get new hires up to speed.

Factor Into Your 2022 Hiring Strategy: Training & Upskilling

Companies dropping degree requirements include big names like Whole Foods, Costco, Starbucks, Chipotle and Hilton. Last year, Elon Musk said a college degree isn't required for a job at Tesla. And Business Insider reporter Rich Feloni reported that apprenticeship programs, which mix school and on-the-job training, could better prepare the workforce of the future.

If you’re dropping industry experience from your job requirements, but don’t want to burn out your current employees by adding “trainer” to the list of their job responsibilities, consider investing in setting up a job-specific training or apprenticeship program and creating a role that you can fill internally dedicated to training and mentoring.

Related: Creative Strategies for Hiring in Restaurant & Retail

Additionally, if you have a need for skilled workers, upskilling your existing staff can help open up more entry-level roles as you move those employees into higher level roles.

One good example of this is from a recent Workology Podcast on talent acquisition in restaurants and hospitality. Rob Dromgoole, Senior Director of Recruiting for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the largest employer in its geographic area (with 22 casinos and three resorts), said that two of their hardest positions to fill are for qualified bartenders and sous chefs.

“We have data that show we’re not going to fill a lot of these openings through traditional methods,” said Rob. “Let's consider building a training program where we can hire a kitchen manager to actually train our existing cooks and give them the curriculum that they need to become sous chefs in time and... offer our internal associates an opportunity to become a skilled bartender because there's just not enough bartenders in our region and people just aren't going to commute from Dallas. So if we can't buy the talent through a pay increase or sign-on bonus, we're making the decision to train them.”

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Developing internal training programs for no-experience candidates doesn’t have to be a huge line item on your learning & development budget. Many companies have created online training courses using video for new employees, eliminating the need for one-on-one guided training for the most basic elements of roles in retail and hospitality. Many retail and hospitality vendors already offer online training for things like point-of-sale systems and booking and payment platforms. 

Finally, internal training and mentorship programs can be very effective in attracting a broad candidate audience and should be highlighted in your job postings. Career development at any level is a positive for your employer brand and your return on investment for these programs can be high in candidate attraction as well as employee retention.

Topics: Recruiting Strategies

Updated November 16, 2021