The first problem that worries a Hotelier or Restaurateur is the lack of staff, either qualified or not. When I as well, Giancarlo De Leonardo, used to work in the hospitality sector, there were days where I hoped no customers showed up because I had no clue on how to serve them.
Or I would have risked to serve them badly and as such I would have achieved a series of negative consequences and reviews.
In this article
The world has changed, we are living the end of the digital revolution, and we are entering into the era of Artificial Intelligence, we can’t keep seeking staff for our restaurant or hotel as we used 20 years ago.
Today’s young people are “digital natives,” they have completely different needs than those we had; our task is to ensure that they can strike a balance between a life worth living and what are business goals.
In this article, I will share with you some thoughts on the topic certain that they can be useful in sparking a constructive debate that will allow us to find solutions.
I am Giancarlo De Leonardo, a former hotelier and restaurateur, now a digital popularizer and innovator: the dream I share together with the digital dream team of Caro Collega is to help entrepreneurs and managers in the hospitality industry to understand how to generate additional turnovers through modern strategies and tools derived from the digital revolution.
For the past few years, the biggest problem for a Hotelier and Restaurateur has been finding both qualified staff (executive chef, sommelier, restaurant manager, concierge, customer care) and willing young people with the aptitude necessary to take up a profession that is both beautiful and sacrificing at the same time.
A difficult problem to solve given that:
- We pay for the many years we have enjoyed the “unfair competitive advantage”
- There is no entrepreneurial culture that values people
- Tourism industry rules and laws are anachronistic
This is where I and the Caro Collega Digital Dream Team fit in to bridge entrepreneurs and managers in the hospitality industry on the one hand and the opportunities inherent in the digital revolution on the other. It goes without saying that generating additional revenue from investing in digital marketing allows anyone to become more attractive: not only as a matter of money but also as a matter of better peace of mind at work.
In addition, there are to consider the anachronistic laws and rules that govern the tourism sector within which there are national industry contracts: the cost of labor in Italy is very high, so each employee receives half of what the company disburses at the end of the month including taxes and contributions. Only by generating extra turnover directly attributable to digital marketing can a Hotel or Restaurant achieve economic equilibrium and perhaps even afford to increase the professional skills of the staff, inserting additional and more qualified resources than those already within it.
Finally, one must make “mea culpa.” I, too, during my many years as a manager and entrepreneur in the hospitality industry very often neglected my employees. I always thought about the fact that they should be grateful because I was paying their salaries.
And in times of difficulty, I thought it was only natural that they would understand.
Moral of the story is that I never managed to create a hard core of professionals with whom I could grow together. Pre”y much the same behavior that most of my colleagues have, also convinced that you keep people a”ached to you because of the money.
But that is no longer the case today.
Static and dynamic mindset
All managers and entrepreneurs who continue to think that they can’t or won’t change will have an increasingly difficult life. People who decide to devote their lives to others, working all Saturdays and Sundays and all holidays, maybe 6 out of 7 days a week will be fewer and fewer.
Here is where a dynamic mindset makes it possible to see this problem from a different point of view; the thought of adding extra turnover to that already developed directly attributable to digital channels makes it possible to approach this problem from a modern perspective according to which it is possible to introduce:
- The division of weekly shifts on a 5-day basis, as my friend Chef Heinz Beck at “La Pergola” restaurant in Rome has been doing forever. Keep in mind that there are nations that are even experimenting with the work week on a 4-day basis. The thinking however must be, what can I do to fill all the rooms in my hotel or all the tables in my restaurant every day?
- Corporate welfare policies i.e., a wide range of initiatives, such as health care and wellness programs, parenting support services, work-life balance facilities, childcare services, supplemental retirement programs, discounts on products or services, and more. The goal of corporate welfare is to create a healthy and fulfilling work environment, improve
employee satisfaction and engagement, increase staff productivity and retention, and promote a corporate culture based on care and concern for employees.
- Training and professional development programs, which today more than ever can be the reason for choosing one company over another. Why do the more emblazoned hotels have less difficulty finding staff? Or why does a starred chef always have so many CVs or so many requests for collaboration? Clear is that when the workplace is prestigious there are many opportunities for professional growth. Incentivizing and facilitating one’s employees to take internships and professional courses paid for by the company or letting them free a few hours a month for team building or volunteer activities, produces in the medium to long term a loyalty that all companies need.
At this point many people take me for a fool; in reality, I have realized that the secret is to borrow what I see already working in other businesses in the hospitality industry as well, because only in this way can memorable feats be accomplished. Without forgetting that the primary goal for sustaining these virtuous initiatives must be to generate additional revenue to what is already there.
Chief Happiness Officer
Precisely to create a corporate culture that fosters employee happiness, engagement, and well- being, medium-sized and large companies have introduced a new professional figure: the Chief Happiness Officer (CHO). We see his or her duties and responsibilities listed below:
- Development and implementation of wellness strategies: The CHO works to create and implement policies, programs, and initiatives to improve employee well-being. This may include training programs, work flexibility, health and fitness promotion initiatives, work-life balance policies, and other similar activities.
- Creating a positive culture: The CHO is responsible for promoting a positive corporate culture, including values such as respect, collaboration, transparency, and mutual appreciation. This may involve organizing social events, team building, and activities to improve team cohesion and corporate climate.
- Employee feedback and involvement: The CHO works to gather employee feedback and identify any issues or areas for improvement within the company. This can be done through surveys, interviews, listening sessions or other forms of open communication. The CHO is committed to responding to employees’ needs and creating an environment where they feel heard and involved.
- Professional development and motivation: The CHO can work with the human resources department to develop professional development programs, provide training and growth opportunities for employees, and promote a work environment that encourages personal and professional improvement.
- Measuring employee well-being: The CHO can use indicators and metrics to measure the level of employee happiness and well-being. This data can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of wellness initiatives and make any improvements.
The role of a Chief Happiness Officer can vary depending on the company and the industry in which it operates. In the case of Hotels and Restaurants, it is difficult to find the resources to afford to hire such a figure. That is why within Caro Collega we have included people who know this subject well and are able to offer these services on multiple companies at once.
And have you ever thought about improving employee satisfaction and motivation, reducing stress and absenteeism, increasing engagement, and creating a positive work environment that promotes productivity and long-term business growth?
Article written by Giancarlo De Leonardo, Former Hotelier and Restaurateur, now founder of carocollega.com