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26 & 27 NOV 2019

ExCeL LONDON

Brexit; Low Unemployment & High Staff Turnover: How Can the UK Hospitality Industry Survive?

The storm clouds are gathering

Cloud 1: For many years the UK hospitality industry has relied on the employment of high number of EU workers. In fact according to recent research, close to 400,000 of all workers in the hospitality sector are EU Nationals, that’s 12.3% of all sector employees, which is a significant higher percentage than the whole UK workforce at just 6.9%. If the Brexit news reports are to be believed then potentially the industry will be in crisis without access to EU workers.

Cloud 2: The pool of talent and number of people is shrinking. In July 2018 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the latest employment rates. The latest figures show the current employment rate is at its highest level since records began in 1971, at 75.7%.

Cloud 3: The gap is set to get bigger and bigger. Already the shortfall in available labour means that the sector is finding it a tough challenge to recruit the workers needed. The rising number of vacancies means that compared to any other sector, the hospitality industry has the largest number unfilled positions as a percentage of the total employment.

So, with March 2019 approaching and no Brexit deal in sight, the future of recruitment for the industry is looking at least challenging, but as all three clouds converge, the industry could be heading into the perfect storm.

One thing is for certain, standing still and staring into the clouds is not an option. Long term we can look at rates of pay, contract conditions and better career progression, but that will take time and resources, so the question is: what can be done in the short term? 

IRONICALLY, THE ANSWER LIES WITH TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLOUD! Giving employees access to information thus enabling them to carry out their jobs and tasks quicker, with increased accuracy might be the sunshine among clouds. Hospitality professionals should embrace the world of mobile and apps, building an inclusive and empowering community across the organisation. For the monthly price of a cappuccino, employers can easily provide every employee access to a modern social media platform directly from their mobile. 

The sector needs to adopt consumer like apps that enable a closer relationship between employee and employer, a relationship that make the employee feel more connected to their co-workers and the organisation. We can use terms such as engagement or interaction, but the truth is, what most employees want, is to be able to receive and share the right information with the right people who help them to do their jobs better and faster. 

Using mobile apps such as Qnnect, allows employees to access information and communicate with their colleagues thus accelerating the whole connecting and sharing process. It enables everyone to keep up to date with everything that is happening, and it is an easy way for the all members of staff to feel more engaged with the organisation.

Without doubt, providing employees with the right tools to do their jobs both individually and collectively, has a big impact in two key areas:

Increase in productivity 

Through more efficient communication and putting the right information into employees’ hands can help improving productivity by up to 25%. 

Increase staff retention

Creating a culture of participation, where all employees feel connected and involved, encourages a community and team spirit that in turn increases the ¨ personal feeling of belonging building loyalty between employees and employer.

At Qnnect, we are working with world-renowned hotel chains to change the way hospitality employees and employers communicate on a daily basis. The app ensures that important information now reaches all employees instantly while still meeting the organisational needs for confidentiality and corporate security. 

So as the clouds gather and the storm builds, mobile apps can provide the front line of defence while the industry takes time to truly assess the damage after the storm. 

Bill Parker, Managing Director, Qnnect Solutions Limited 

Qnnect Solutions Limited

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