This article is part of our Brexit Survival Guide: Practical Tips for Hospitality Businesses series, and is written by Planday’s Chief Commercial Officer, John Coldicutt.

While the details and implications of Brexit are still unclear, the real question is how severe the impact on the hospitality industry will be. As a consequence, operating as efficiently as possible will become even more important, with the costs of goods and staff coming under increasing scrutiny. This, however, needs to be balanced with the need to stay competitive in the eyes of both customers and employees.

Planday has recently conducted a survey of hospitality workers and managers along with The Institute of Hospitality and YouGov. Our findings suggests that Brexit is likely to make it even harder to find and retain employees. This is especially the case in major cities that rely more heavily on European workers, as fewer EU workers are expected to arrive each year and a significant number are considering leaving the UK post Brexit.

So, what can be done to mitigate this? One solution is providing workers with more flexibility. Our research suggests that staff are more likely to stay at a workplace that gives them more control over when they work. Many employees balance their shifts with studies, childcare or taking care of relatives. Despite this, only 9% of employers are looking at introducing more flexibility, which gives you the opportunity to introduce more flexible policies to differentiate your business.

Flexibility, however, must always be balanced with customer demand. It is crucial to ensure the right staffing levels for quiet, moderate and busy periods to avoid either employees standing around, or on the flipside, customers walking out due to understaffing. That balance is worth striving for, because it results in the optimal mix of employee happiness, customer satisfaction and profitability.

Brexit may also lead to a greater diversification in the workplace, with 15% of managers actively looking at recruiting from different demographics, such as older employees or working parents. Such a move has the potential to create a more welcoming and accessible workplace.

Communication is always key to delivering the right culture to succeed. Ensuring employees are given the tools to stay connected with the business, including their co-workers with whom they can swap shifts using their smartphone, can foster a strong team spirit and a feeling of connectedness – perhaps the most powerful key to employee retention.

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