C&M’s Managing Director Barbara Kolosinska shares her top tips on how to attract and keep talented staff in a competitive market.
After the worst year or so that any of us can remember, travel is now booming again. Business has been flying for at least six months and it will continue to do so throughout 2022. And while this is a fantastic turnaround, this extra workload will put pressures on our current teams, so how do we make sure our employees are ready to take full advantage of the year ahead of us?
Before we even consider finding any new members of staff, the first thing we need to do is ensure we're supporting our existing workers and making them feel valued and happy. Higher salaries aren't the only way to do this (although C&M are having to remind some of our clients that paying the minimum wage is just not acceptable anymore), but we all need to talk to our employees, listen to them and make sure they feel appreciated.
Depending on the size of your company, you could also offer your employees a form of mentorship so that they can learn and develop in their current role and into their future career.
Even if you're a very small travel agency, you can still develop people without necessarily promoting them. Focus on people's strengths and let them use their flair and initiative - develop their personal, digital or presentation skills. By having these development plans in place, your employees will feel valued, your efforts will be reciprocated, and they will work harder and more efficiently. Don't be scared to do this because even if they do eventually want to progress to a different company, they will still say very warm and positive things about you as an employer, which could lead to future talent wanting to work for you.
With things getting busier all the time, the extra workload is likely to have an impact on your existing staff, so it may well be time to think about bringing new talent in.
We are likely to see some former employees coming back to the industry and there are some fantastic applicants out there. However, we are currently in the midst of a real war on talent, and the candidate shortage is going to continue to escalate for at least the next two years. As a result, those companies that don't do something about it now, will really struggle to find the staff.
When looking to attract talent to your business, it's become really important to ensure that your company has a recognisable brand – both in terms of advertising and on your social media channels. What does your company stand for? How does it treat people? What is it like to work there? Why would someone want to work for your company rather than a competitor?
People work in this industry because they love travel. They want to be at a company that is fun to work for and shows integrity. If someone is looking to join a travel company, you want them to see your posts on social media and think, "I agree with their values and I like what they're saying – that's the company I want to work for."
Some travel companies gained a negative reputation during the pandemic, so it is vital to ensure you are seen positively going forward, otherwise you will inevitably miss out on potential employees because they just won't want to work for you. If you have had bad press, how are you going to turn it around? If you have had good press, then build on it and emphasise your values.
Make sure that you detail what you offer in terms of bonuses, commission and fam trips, and try to make your company as attractive as possible to potential job seekers. Things like wellbeing in the workplace, sustainability and environmental impact are hugely important now – particularly to younger candidates.
Where possible, try to also offer as much flexibility and homeworking opportunities as you can, as these options will create a much larger talent pool for you to choose from.
For more help, support, guidance or advice about anything relating to recruitment, employee retention, salary benchmarks or just general market updates, you can contact C&M Travel Recruitment at any time on our ABTA Recruitment Helpline.
Tel 020 3826 3573