More than half of managers are looking to leave

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Recruitment expert: Sixty Eight People boss Abi Dunn outlines why people are leaving firms
Recruitment expert: Sixty Eight People boss Abi Dunn outlines why people are leaving firms

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About 57% of managers in hospitality are looking for a new job over the next 12 months, according to one of the sector’s leading recruitment specialists.

Speaking at the recent NITA People Conference organised by the British Institute of Innkeeping, Abi Dunn, MD of Sixty Eight People said a recent survey showed more than half of managers were looking to move on, a figure she described as “sobering”.

With her team, she said they had looked for the top three reasons why people were looking to leave companies and found more than 83% were moving on due to a lack of progression opportunities.

A further 72% cited people culture as a factor, while 50% said a lack of transparency and communication was pushing them out.

She said they interview all applicants in detail when they come to the agency. “An interesting thing is that pay is never a reason for people leaving - no-one comes to us and says I want to leave because I’m not paid enough - it’s more about the lack of moving forwards.

“Over 60% of the people we talk to haven’t had a conversation about their career goals in the last 12 months, and that’s heart-breaking really.”

Development key

Dunn said development was key, and operators should look outside the remit of just operations for managers, perhaps offering development in areas like finance or marketing. 

Another key factor was people not feeling recognised up the chain, and outside of the immediate site. “People want someone to give a shit about them, beyond their own team.” 

She said with regard to communication and culture, one of the factors often brought up is engagement surveys. “These are carried out by many companies but the feedback we get is around people believing that there’s never action taken around them.”

Work/life balance is also a factor, and while Dunn said companies had come a long way but not enough for managers. “There’s a pressure on the ops managers and general managers to deliver this for their teams but less concerns over whether they have it for themselves.”

She added she wasn’t looking to tell companies how to run their business, but said that based on the thousands of conversations she and her team were having, there were a number of questions she would be asking herself.

“How do we glean real feedback, not around engagement scores, how do we have real meetings, with real actions with real people sat in a room?

“How do we protect or police the work life balance of managers? truly understanding what that is seems to be still a bit too far away.

“And then finally, how can we develop managers outside of operations? This glass ceiling that so many ops managers hit, that so many GMs hit feels so unnecessary. Why can we not develop people within people teams, within finance, within marketing?”

Recruitment process

She also said the industry needed to get better at recruiting: “People often tell me that their greatest asset is their people and people make their business, but then their avenue to attract that asset is absolutely rubbish.

“The recruitment process is a window into your business and the first opportunity for somebody to peek under the bonnet. We’re pretty good when people start with us, but the feedback we’re getting from people who get the job and don’t get the job is pretty shocking.

“In the last few weeks alone we’ve had cancellations after the interview was meant to have started, travelling two hours for a 20 minute chat, an interviewer who spoke for 80% of the time, trial shifts where no-one is expecting you, weeks between feedback, offers on the spot after 30 minutes, low ball offers, the list goes on.

“Very few businesses seem to have nailed what a great interview technique is, it feels like people are having informal chats.” 

Dunn said operators needed to tailor the recruitment process to the candidate: “This is about understanding what benefits make sense to that individual and talking about those. If somebody is interested in development, talk about that. Sheep dipping everyone at this stage doesn’t quite seem like the right thing to do.”

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