Article courtesy of Marlowe Bennett & Michelle Watson from BENCHMARQUE – one of Sydney’s leading hospitality and event recruitment agencies.  They presented the recent Drop Workshop “WAYS TO COMBAT THE HOSPITALITY SKILLS SHORTAGE AND ENHANCE BUSINESS GROWTH”, available online soon for all Drop members.


It’s in your best interests to build a positive workplace culture that attracts the right cats. Attract those who are on board and aligned with your business for the long term (which isn’t that long, but more than 6 months is a bonus, right?). So rather than playing the short-term game and dealing with costly turnover, let’s look at some key points that can assist you to create an all-star team worth shouting about.

Let’s talk about progressive and positive workplace culture, specifically in the hospitality industry. It’s unmistakably clear that in order to operate a successful business, it’s the power and passion of the people you choose to represent your business that elevates you from standard operator to industry leader.

The ideal employee

Think about the ideal type of person that you want representing your venues, bars and restaurants:

  • They’re personable
  • They’re customer focused
  • They’re passionate
  • They love interacting with people
  • They are NOT purely skills focused

Notice we highlight the importance here of NOT focusing on skills alone. Why? Because skills are taught and can be learnt.

Technology isn’t the only way

Using technology to attract talent can make things easier, but it shouldn’t replace all of your recruitment processes altogether. Using apps that manage the application process does work to a certain extent. They refine the needs and wants for both employee and employer but what we’re suggesting has more of a personal touch.

ANY potential people who are applying to your business need to understand WHO it is they’re working for, before understanding WHAT they’re going to be hired to do. Ultimately, they need to buy-in and feel aligned with the overall vision where they can see themselves attributing to the success of your business. This leads to retention and acknowledgment that a job with you may in fact be a solid career choice. Where opportunity for growth is not only talked about, but engrained into the culture of your operation. This needs to flow from the directors or owners right down to the front line and part-time/casual employees.

Why is this all so important? Because your recruitment strategy has to do more than just attract the right talent to your business. Remember, businesses don’t hold all the cards anymore, candidates have CHOICE and a lot of it. So once your business has their attention, you have to work hard to communicate WHO you are and what you stand for from the get go.

Alignment and culture fit is a two way street

Candidates need to be able to see themselves working for your business, but you have to also ensure they are the right fit to carry out your businesses vision. Carefully consider how you’ll evaluate in an interview:

  • Personality, passion and culture fit
  • Accountability
  • Reliability
  • Technical ability

Consider if you’re asking the right questions and are you telling the right story about your brand? If you can nail the interview process, then you have achieved one of the vital steps in a positive candidate experience. Regardless of the outcome and even if a potential candidate isn’t the right fit, you want them to leave feeling that the experience was positive. So when they self reflect, there is a part of them that could agree that the position wasn’t right for them. When a candidate experiences this self realisation, this may in fact lead them to refer more suitable applicants to your business. Predominantly because the experience conveyed was professional, honest and in the best interests of both parties.

Keep in mind that the candidate is actually evaluating you and the business you represent. Your body language, tone and context of what you are providing is on show. If you are fake or passionless you will come off unauthentic and the job or lifestyle you are trying to sell won’t resonate.

What does your workplace culture look like from an outsider? Is it welcoming or is it overwhelming? Consider the perception your current staff provide when onboarding new starters and review this frequently. These processes and the information provided can become outdated and disconnected if the business has changed but the onboarding content hasn’t caught up.

Everything you do after this will reinforce culture, aiding engagement and guaranteeing retention, which will then affect your bottom line and brand perception.




Effective Managers: Ways to combat the hospitality skills shortage and enhance business growth. For more insights into the evolving world of recruiting an aligned and focused hospitality workforce and improving your workplace culture, download your FREE Ebook from BENCHMARQUE by clicking here.>>