Recruiting and Retaining Talent - Q&A with Ben Kazakoff

18 August 2021

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Many in our industry reflect longingly on the days when a job post in hospitality would be met with a flood of applications from suitable candidates. Our General Manager of Human Resources, Ben Kazakoff, is too busy focusing on the future to dwell on the past.

Since March 2020 Ben and his team have been building out incentives, maximising efficiencies, and getting creative with talent sourcing strategies to navigate the challenges of the current labour market.

Insights From a Talent Expert

We spoke to Ben, an expert in recruitment and retention, to get the low-down on the latest advancements his team has been implementing in the hope it can help our industry partners searching for solutions to this challenging talent market. So, let’s get stuck in…

Q1: In your experience, how has the labour market changed?

The labour market has changed significantly since the start of the pandemic. We used to see an influx of applications for any role advertised, mainly coming from international students; since then, we have seen a dive in applications and consequently, our industry is now competing to attract and retain local talent.

Q2: What technology has ahs hospitality invested in to increase retention and optimise labour?

One innovation we are introducing to our business to optimise labour is Tanda. Tanda is effectively a time and attendance system however the features included within the system will enable better utilisation of our workforce.

There will be efficiencies for our team members including the ability to view rosters, apply for leave, and update personal details across multiple devices. Our team members will also be able to opt into any additional shifts that may be offered.

For our managers, it allows them to roster shifts, cover shifts, and communicate with team members from their smartphones. Freeing them up to further support our team members and ensure day-to-day operations are running smoothly.

Another cloud-based software we have recently launched is Bullhorn. This mobile recruiting program lets our talent sourcing team view, edit, and add candidate and placement data. We have also integrated software called Idibu that allows us to post on multiple job platforms from one portal, increasing our reach, and a number of applications. These platforms have already increased efficiencies within our recruitment process and, once we have gathered more data, it will allow us to better monitor and optimise our spend.

Lastly, we have rolled out across our company is ahs learning, our new LMS (Learning Management System). Adopting the award-winning Absorb software we have developed a custom learning platform for our team members to login and access mandatory and essential courses as well as or policies and resources.

ahs Learning provides all our team members, across different sites nationally, an easily accessible learning and development platform to ensure we maintain our standards and they feel confident and safe in their role. This platform works cross-device so our team members can stay mobile, and our courses prioritise Occupational Health and Safety, onboarding essentials, and compliance.

We are looking to give our team members a career in hospitality, by offering formal industry-recognised qualifications as we strive to change the mindset of people, so they remain in our amazing industry.

Q3: What incentives do you offer to support recruitment and retention?

At ahs we benefit from being a subsidiary of Chandler Macleod Group, this means we have access to greater rewards and incentives for our housekeeping team members. One of these incentives is access to the MyDiscounts platform. MyDiscounts gives each of our team members discounts from some of their favourite retailers. From everyday shops to one-off purchases, these savings are an additional incentive to join our team.

We also have the Chandler Macleod Group ‘Recognition for You’ program. This allows our team members to recognise and nominate one another based on their ability to uphold the company’s values. By receiving a nomination, they are provided with a certificate that includes the reason why they were nominated, and they go in the draw for a quarterly financial reward of $250.

To further drive retention our Operations Managers and State General Managers also lead team-building and on-site recognition activities such as morning teas, regular catchups, and celebrations for anniversaries, holidays, and observances. Activities like these support recruitment as our team members make a large number of referrals if they feel they are part of strong team culture and appreciated for their hard work.

The days of simply posting to a job board and waiting for the applications have gone. A greater emphasis is being placed on referrals and being creative about where we source talent from - and then retaining that talent.