Opinion

How a digital workplace can attract hospitality staff in times of staff shortage

By Adrian Valeriano, SVP and MD of EMEA at Lightspeed Commerce Inc

It has never been more important for a hospitality business to be an attractive workplace. The hospitality sector continues to struggle with serious staff shortages, which could become a problem throughout the summer holidays.

The pandemic has caused many hospitality staff to switch to another sector, making well-trained and experienced personnel hard to find these days. To cope with the upcoming summer rush as best as possible, many hospitality businesses are in need of extra staff or seasonal employees. What’s more, it is also important that new employees are recruited and trained, but above all, retained with as little time, money and resources as possible. The last thing you want as a hospitality owner is for potential employees to drop out because the working conditions are too demanding, the pressure is too high, operating protocols are too old-fashioned or the general working atmosphere is less than pleasant.

At the same time, the pandemic has also boosted the implementation of digital tools. Where some initially created new sources of income, today others have become important in tackling staff shortage and simplifying the work of the existing employees. In businesses where staff shortage was felt right from the start, the implementation of digitalisation often happened at a proportional pace. Why? Digitalisation is focused on increasing efficiency and saving time, two things that are inextricably linked to hospitality staff requirements. When a shortage of staff arises, it becomes all the more important to use the time of the available staff as efficiently as possible, not to overburden them and above all not to give a reason to look for another job.

QR codes – give your staff the time they need

Contactless ordering and payment options play a crucial role; the impact of QR codes during the pandemic has been invaluable to many hospitality businesses. As a hospitality owner, you hand over part of the responsibility and several tasks of your staff to your guests. They can view the digital menu, place an order and pay with their smartphone. Three actions that your staff no longer has to perform manually. What’s more, especially on busy days, errors tend to creep more quickly into orders. Everyone makes mistakes, of course, but with QR codes you give your guests control of the orders and their accuracy.

In doing so, not only do you create more time and space for your staff to focus on the quality of their service and improve the guest experience, but you also take away a lot of pressure from your staff, which in turn reduces the need for additional employees, and that for a fraction of the price. And that’s a good thing, because staff is often one of the biggest costs for a hospitality business.

Tech and digital savviness of younger generations

Younger generations are extremely savvy with tech and are used to living a large part of their personal lives online. This need also applies to the younger generations who want to work in the hospitality industry. With simple tools that allow guests to order and pay themselves, you put your staff back in control of the service.

All the more reason to create a modern and digital workplace in a sector that is usually seen as more traditional and conventional. Modern POS systems such as Lightspeed Restaurant can help with this.

The more tech-savvy the workplace, the smoother and more efficient your staff’s work experience will be, and the more pleasant the general working atmosphere will become. Satisfied staff not only reduces the risk of turnover, but also improves the reputation of the hospitality industry as an attractive place to work.

How integrated payments can save time

Aside from contactless ordering and payment options, another way to reduce the workload of your staff is to work with integrated payments. Integrated payments remove one of the many third parties any hospitality business has to deal with (and therefore also the cost, time and administrative hassle). An integrated payment system brings orders and payments under one roof and automatically syncs them in your POS system.

What does that mean? First of all, it saves a lot of time. Think of all the hours you or your employees spend manually entering and linking payments to orders at the end of each shift. In addition, you reduce the chance of input errors, you spend less time on daily administration, closing and accounting, and you save more money by working with only one third party for both your POS system and your payment terminal. A true win-win situation for every hospitality owner.

Staff shortage? A problem with quite a few solutions.

While the general attitude of the hospitality industry towards digitalisation was questionable two years ago, it is now rather a matter of adapt or die. In an upside-down world where there would be no staff shortages, digitalisation would undoubtedly be seen as a culprit of unnecessary change. Nothing is less true.

The hospitality industry is a sector that stands and falls thanks to the human touch of staff – and that will always be the case. But the acceptance and implementation of digital tools has created a win-win situation in many hospitality businesses: on the one hand, they have provided a concrete and affordable solution for businesses that were struggling with staff shortages. On the other hand, they have relieved the workload of the available staff workforce and provided them with the necessary breathing space that allows them to provide a more personal and higher service. Finally, a tech-savvy workplace for the youngest generations is certainly a plus when choosing an employer in the hospitality sector.

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