Hospace Conference 2021

16:55 - Attracting & Retaining The Next Generation of Talent
Caroline Baldwin to Interview Libbie Davies

Caroline Baldwin and Libbie Davies — Attracting and Retaining the next generation of talent

  • Question from Caroline: How did you get into hospitality?

    • I started at the age of 15 doing a bit of casual work as a part-time job. This continued into university and I still didn't think it was a career option.

    • When I finished uni I realised my spark was in hospitality and I decided to join a graduate scheme to discover all aspects of hospitality — a full 360 experience.

  • Question from Caroline: There was a point when you nearly left…. What was a key moment in a lift that happened to you?

    • A lot of career fairs were very corporate and when you went there were very little hospitality options.

    • A member of management staff at a hotel stopped me in a lift after a stressful conference and I remember thinking this woman just made my day and my current office job wasn’t for me. So I quit and restarted my final year of uni and embarked on a hospitality graduate scheme afterwards.

    • My tutor was worried about my choice and didn't see hospitality as a good option, post-university.

    • There is a real stigma around hospitality and there are so many avenues to enter the industry and this is often neglected in higher education.

  • Question from Caroline: There are lots of people your age leaving the industry, why do you think this is?

    • This year has been very turbulent and the pandemic has caused people to focus on the negative aspects of things and embrace negative stereotypes of hospitality.

    • We never talk about how many opportunities you can have at such a young age. You can get proper management experience at such a young age which is truly unique.

    • It's important to talk more positively about what your job entails — from the top down. This will help encourage younger members of staff to keep engaged.

    • People are leaving as they feel stretched and overworked and this is something that needs to be addressed. You need to learn to work smarter, not lots of hours.

  • Question from Caroline: What techniques can people use to adopt smarter working practices?

    • How we talk about the industry is essential and businesses need to portray their business as somewhere fun to work rather than just offering a discount on rooms etc.

    • Training is key and managers need to know how to manage their workforce so that people are working optimally and not burning out.

    • Being flexible is essential but it should be more about how we can work around you, not how you can work around the industry.

  • Question from Caroline: In your last interview, you were asked how long you want to stay in the business for?

    • I said probably a maximum of two years, I know what I need to do and where I want to go. Surprisingly, he loved this answer and it showed I knew what I wanted and I'm not there to be their puppet. It’s a mutual relationship where I can get the most out of them and they can get the most out of me.

  • Question from Caroline: Talk to me about some of the times you thought, is this right for me? What is it that you needed to keep you there?

    • I think I needed a simple ‘you've done a great job’ . This is so overlooked and is such a simple thing to implement. Thanking people at the end of each shift is really important.

    • Paying attention to what your staff are doing is essential to keep people motivated.

    • I don't think anyone should be trained to say thank you, it's quite a straightforward thing to ask for. Simple recognition goes a long way and it’s important to learn why people are working for you in the first place and what their ambitions are. People aren't always motivated by money.

    • I want everyone to go home at the end of each shift feeling like they've had a great day and achieved something.

    • It’s important to nurture the natural talents of your employees and recognising this is the key to success

  • Question from Caroline: What do you want to achieve in your new role over the next year?

    • I love my guests but my priority now is to build a team where everyone can go home and say they've had a great day. I want to be the manager that I aspire to have myself.

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