Why transparency is clearly the way to go for employers

By Laurence Hamdan, SRA Sustainability Consultant

Much to think about, but even more to say; a stellar turnout to adopted home at Mission Kitchen for our first Working Group of the year challenging the issues around work and labour in our current climate.

‘Recruit, Train, Retain’ was an exercise in clarity: how much are we – and how can we be more – transparent in recruiting our hospitality teams? What effect does this have on retaining our staff? And what role does ongoing education have in the life of a hospitality professional?

It is too bold to say any one organisation can provide all the answers. In truth, many of the solutions are already out there being done by the sea of restaurants that make up this dynamic field. Our vision of bringing these voices together, sharing knowledge, reflecting on innovation, is the intangible asset that we strive for at the SRA. 

The ubiquitous theme of ‘managing expectations’ was discussed in detail, and the solution might come in the shape of social media: using in vivo footage to garner interest and show the reality of a job, showing applicants ‘behind the scenes’ of what a job would really look like. How is your business applying this transparency tactic? On the flip side, how can we invest in the personal growth of our teams? Virtual training is convenient and predictable, but does devoted time teaching your teams in person work better in this very human industry?

The value of good staff is something no one understates. Yet, the beliefs around the transient nature of hospitality are fed by the very workforce that makes it up. What do your staff need to see to turn their job into a career with you? Satisfaction is more than just salary, so getting to know your team’s aspirations would be time well spent as an investment in your own business.

The crux of our Working Groups is to bite down on big topics that are felt amongst all foodservice providers. The discussion is guided by our SRA specialists, with feedback from lateral experts — on this occasion, we were joined by Neil Gander from Electric Mayonnaise and Max Coltart from Countertalk. We welcomed Titans to our tables like CH&CO, Nando’s, Young’s Pubs, The National Trust and over 15 other large groups, all committed to positive changes to their people.

And where there are Titans there are Olympians, this time by the name of Yum Bug, a start-up who brought their bug-based products for all to taste. Speak with the founders, Leo and Aaron, about how crickets could be the sustainable protein of the future. But a cricket taco is more than just pleasing consonance and sustainability, it’s quirky and delicious.

There is excitement in the air for 2023: the year is busy, and there is hunger within people for change. Connecting with those reaching out about our future events motivates us to distil our calendar with more quality and impact. What we’ve learnt so far this year is: it’s important to celebrate our successes, but still harbour a quiet passion to improve the world for ourselves and others in the ways that we can.

Those who have 10 sites or more and are on-track with their Food Made Good standard are encouraged to join us at our next Working Group on the 19th of April. Drop me a line [email protected]

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