THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG IS MELTING IN CANADA.... AND KUDOS TO KOSTUCH!
But there is still lots of ice beneath the water as only a small portion of the Hospitality Industry faces up to the reality that tomorrow's visitors may have to cook their own meals, make their own beds, clear their own dishes and pay more for the pleasure.
Hats off to Kostuch Publications for their initiative in launching the first one day conference on Hospitality Labour shortages in Canada. Excellent speakers, panellists and moderators assembled in King City to address the catastrophic labour shortages that the industry faces as a result of changing demographics, hyper-active turnover, fertility rates, weak leadership, restrictive foreign labour policies and poor industry image....to name a few.
But this is not just a Canadian problem.
In an effort to identify solutions rather than to whine, the combined mix of industry, faculty, suppliers, government, media and associations (except the Restaurant Association!) debated, interacted and digested the multiple examples of Best Practices that will one day define employment in our industry.
Here are my notes from the days sessions plus some thoughts of my own,
As important as Marketing is to the success of any business, Marketing to Employees is the new skill set that will set tomorrow's profitable hospitality business apart. But as we all know, over promising and under delivering is where we went wrong in the front-of-the-house.
Hence, some employers have realised that People don't quit jobs, they Quit Managers.
Unless Hospitality Employers Treat Applicants like Customers, we can not expect to set the stage for Hospitality excellence in the workplace. Assuming of course that the Customers are well-treated.
The Failing Hospitality Education System needs some assistance since there are line-ups for hospitality Education, 30% of the students are lost during the 3 Year course and +/- 50% of the graduates go to other industries. Add to that the fact that graduates have unusually high expectations of the jobs they will go into and are loath to start at available entry positions.
Some successful Employers recognise that Employees are their Brand and have proven that Job Satisfaction equates to Profit but have failed to define Employee Excellence.
And last but not least, the subject of Talent was and always has been sorely misunderstood in the hospitality industry. The Educators believe they have to Attract Great Talent and then develop it into Super-Graduate-Talent. The Employers have little actual use for Super-Graduate-Talent and create their own Internally Developed Talent.
Conclusions At the end of the day, one realises that wherever one is on earth today, we are surrounded by extraordinary talent that is ready and able to be developed. Demographers tell us that future young employees could largely be Hispanic, Black and/or Aboriginal, the majority of managers will be 'multi-tasking' females while the customers, who all feel 12 years younger than their actual age will be hunting out low sodium, sugar and lactose free menus.
Action. This is a worldwide industry crisis that afflicts both the developed and developing world. We face shortages of some 10 million workers. Here is my suggested 10 Point International Action plan.
- Conduct a Global Hospitality Audit of the future HR employment needs of the industry and update regularly.
- Assess the Global Hospitality Educational Output and determine the best methods for addressing the shortfall.
- Fund and expand the Geneva-based International Hospitality Consortium formed to address this problem (ie. ILO, IOE, IOM, IUF)
- Develop a Global Plan to improve the Hospitality Industry's Image. This has been discussed repeatedly for years at Global Industry Hospitality & Tourism conferences.
- Create a Migrant Worker Exchange Plan through the United Nations. This to move unemployed workers to where the jobs are, and then home.... creating employment, internatonal education, productivity and reducing poverty.
- Develop an Annual Summit of Employers & Educators. Assist the 3,000 hospitality education institutions to deliver committed, properly focused career hospitality graduates.
- Develop an international Certification Program to educate middle-managers in HR skills to specifically reduce turnover.
- Consider the need for developing Space Hospitality Personnel over the next 20-30 years to staff the space tourism market. Now that would do something for our image!
- Develop a Global Apprenticeship Program that works for the apprentice as well as the employer world-wide.
- Appoint and finance a Global Council of Human Assets to address these issues on an on-going basis.
This is a Global Issue. It has potentially huge ramifications for the industry and leadership is needed now.
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