Finding the right people

Communication can be crucial to recruiting the best staff


ASSEMBLING the right team is one of the most important aspects of any business, as well as potentially one of the most challenging.

Even setting aside external factors (Brexit is already said to have reduced the number of European workers seeking jobs in Scottish hospitality), attracting the right talent, with the right attitude, can be tough.

And licensees who don’t clearly communicate what they’re looking for in the hiring process are only making their lives harder, according to Ceri Radford, recruitment and training executive at Admiral Taverns.

“The key thing is to communicate exactly what you are looking for in a recruit and be clear about the job description,” said Radford.

“Working in the pub industry is a very rewarding and satisfying role which demands more than a nine to five job.

“It is more of a lifestyle choice, and it’s important that those taking it on know what to expect.”

Qualities such as flexibility, willingness to learn and a passion for pubs are more important than prior experience, said Radford, particularly if the operator has the time and resources to train new recruits.

And licensees have to be aware that people’s priorities are changing in terms of what they look for in a job.

Radford said: “As people change the way in which they look for jobs and place different importance on the things they value about a job, our industry needs to evolve alongside this.

“Operators need to be constantly evaluating their recruitment strategy and looking outside of the industry for people who have new and transferable skills which can help us evolve the role of the publican and the great British pub.”

Operators need to be constantly evaluating their recruitment and looking outside the industry.

Finding the right staff is one thing – keeping them is something else entirely. Radford said that it’s important staff feel like they are actively involved in the business. 

“Staff retention is incredibly important,” she said.

“It creates a positive working environment and it has an overall positive impact on the business.

“Investing time and training your staff by having them involved in the business will help them to feel like they are adding value and making a difference.

“Licensees should involve the staff by encouraging new ideas and give them responsibility, where possible to help create a positive vibe.”

One of the challenges the hospitality industry has long faced is the perception that there are limited chances for progression – particularly in independent businesses – and this puts some people off choosing it as a career.

Brian Davidson of Star Pubs & Bars said this very reason was behind the company’s launch of its Just Add Talent scheme, which acts as a stepping stone between employment in a pub and taking on a lease (see page 26).

“For those wanting a long-term career in the Scottish on-trade and to manage or operate their own pub, the Scottish pub sector can be challenging,” said Davidson. 

“There’s a low ratio of managed pubs and therefore a limited number of general manager positions.

“Plus two thirds of pubs are independent free trade-owned and the high cost of buying these puts them out of reach for the majority of people looking to run their own pub for the first time.

“These factors combined means it’s easy for great deputy managers and managers to reach a plateau in their careers and ultimately to consider leaving the on-trade for opportunities in other sectors.

“It’s one reason we’re launching Scotland’s first turnover and profit share agreement, Just Add Talent.”