April 13th, 2022 | Ken Schnee, General Manager - Technology, Media, Entertainment, and Hospitality

Efficient Background Checks a Must as Hospitality Preps for Peak Travel Months

Travel began its rebound in 2021 and the momentum continues in 2022. In fact, Expedia dubbed 2022 the year of the GOAT— greatest of all trips — predicting that this year’s leisure travelers are chomping at the bit for bigger, better vacations. Business travel is also set to climb by 38% this year. The message to the hospitality industry? Ready or not, here they come. Is your hiring workflow up to the challenge?

Rebound is Welcome, but Current Trends Pose Challenges

The leisure and hospitality industry, hard hit by the pandemic, is still trying to replenish staff. The January Job Openings and Labor Turnover Report notes that new job openings have surpassed last year’s by 897,000. Unfortunately, hires aren’t keeping pace, leaving a hiring shortfall of 485,000. In addition, the industry saw 1,052,000 total separations in the same month. The current staffing backlog, combined with accelerating demand, is a challenge on its own, but other factors make streamlining the hiring process even more critical.

Competition for Talent Is Fierce

Many people who were furloughed or laid off from leisure and hospitality jobs in 2020 migrated into roles in more stable industries. Others are still unable or unwilling to return to work without being offered more scheduling flexibility. In addition, the hospitality industry finds itself competing against large retailers like Amazon and Walmart which have increased wages to attract job seekers.

Another reason for this heated competition comes down to skills. As a talent executive writes on hospitalitynet, “To top it all, hospitality employees are recognized as having strong customer service orientation and training, resulting in their poaching by other industries.” Tyrone Stoudemire, vice president of global diversity, equity and inclusion at Hyatt Hotels, concurs, telling Travel Weekly that some industry recruiters have even approached random hotel workers, offering bonuses to leave current jobs for new ones. He suggests leaning into diversity, equity, and inclusion to attract and retain more workers.

Hiring Needs to Happen Fast

With candidates fielding offers coming from multiple fronts, talent acquisition teams may be tempted to take shortcuts, such as foregoing background checks to make immediate hires. While time is clearly critical in hospitality hiring, it shouldn’t come at the expense of customer and employee safety. Partnering with a background screening and identity verification provider helps organizations strike the right balance between faster time to hire and a safe workplace.

Streamlining the hiring experience can also make organizations more competitive. Tools like our native mobile Candidate Hub keep candidates engaged from recruiting on through to onboarding. This technology not only keeps the hiring process moving more quickly but also gives candidates a clear view of next steps so they feel less anxious about the hiring process and don’t drop out.

Retention Strategies are a Must

With more than a million separations in January 2022 alone, employee turnover rates across the hospitality industry only add to the hiring conundrum. The accommodation and food services segment is the highest among all tracked industries at 7%. The search for work/life balance may contribute to job-hopping — and not just among younger workers.

Consistent hours and flexible scheduling are attractive to another large cohort. According to Pew Research, 47% of 40- to 59-year-old adults have aging parents and are raising a child under 18 or are providing support to a grown child. This “sandwich generation” isn’t limited to those aged 40 to 59; 19% are under 40, and that percentage is only going to grow. Technology like scheduling dashboards can help retain workers like these by providing more transparency, helping to avoid over-scheduling, and increasing current employees’ job satisfaction.

What else can hospitality organizations do to reduce turnover? Invest in employee success so workers are more invested in staying. Mentoring, formal training and development programs, and opportunities for advancement are all attractive incentives. Employee appreciation programs and perks can further motivate employee loyalty.

Health and Safety Regulations Keep Changing

Like other high-contact, in-person businesses, the pandemic pushed concerns about customer and staff safety to a new level. However, on-again, off-again vaccine mandates and masking recommendations can be confusing and difficult to manage. Rather than wait on city, state, or federal rules to solidify (or evaporate), hospitality organizations can establish programs that they believe will best protect their employees and customers, such as integrating vaccine tracking and reporting into the HR workflow. For many candidates concerned about potential virus exposure, it can be reassuring to know that an employer has a policy designed to help keep employees safe and healthy.

HR Technology Helps Hospitality Manage Trends Effectively

Identity verification, background checks, health testing, and vaccine collection can all be accomplished manually, but at too slow a pace to get hospitality organizations ahead of the hiring curve. Thorough, efficient candidate screening helps shorten the time that prospective hires spend between recruiting and onboarding. Additionally, technology-enabled compliance tools can help businesses navigate anti-discrimination laws and implement second-chance hiring practices that align with their programs and culture. With a technology-forward partner, the hospitality hiring workflow can be optimized and scaled to meet demand — now and into the future.

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