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Recruitment in Hospitality – an honest reflection

With the industry facing recruitment challenges on a scale never seen before, we welcome the views of a respected and experienced hotelier, Adam Hersey. Here he presents a frank and thought-provoking account of the crisis that our beloved hospitality industry finds itself in.

by Adam Hersey FIH

I’ve never quite been able to explain the feeling I get from being able to create a memorable moment for a guest to my friends outside of the hospitality industry. Many of whom question why those of us work in hospitality do what we do…

We have the power to literally change someone’s mood by an act of kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity and ultimately showing respect for that person. All of these can be given free of charge; what a wonderful thing to be able to do.  In return for doing this, you are often greeted with a reflection of gratitude or happiness, and a connection with that person for a moment in time. This is a quite amazing feeling, and something that over time, perhaps loses its effect on you as a hospitality professional. Why is that?

I wonder if we were able to replicate this feeling within our teams every day they are with us, through the way they are looked after, could it have changed the course of the industry? And if so, would we not see ourselves in the current predicament we find ourselves in?

I have 5 questions that, as people invested in the industry, I feel we should ask ourselves honestly. Can they be answered with absolute conviction, can we be honest with ourselves and say we have done everything we can to make our properties a better place for our teams?


  1. Have I let team members work 50, 60, or 70- hour weeks on a regular basis to my properties’ benefit?


  1. Have my teams been paid a wage they are worthy of, having delivered everything I expected of them?


  1. Have my teams always been given all the tools they need to be able to fulfil their roles without risking their wellbeing?


  1. Have I always stopped unacceptable behaviours that I would not allow to happen to my loved ones at home, from happening to my people?


  1. Have I done enough to ensure that new people coming into the industry are given the platform and structure to perform, be nurtured and ultimately retained?


The purpose for this is not to attach blame, however, finally now is the time that the industry MUST be honest with itself for the first time. To ethically stand and say hospitality is a ‘great industry’ to work in, we must be truthful about the many unacceptable elements that happen frequently. Only then will be we able to attract, retain and rebuild our fractured industry.

If we do not acknowledge that change needs to happen, and we continue to place our heads in the sand on issues that we know are there, and for some reason almost wear as a badge of honour, then I believe our industry is destined to continue NOT be viewed as an industry of choice. I am not proclaiming answers to all issues, but I want to be a part of the solution in any way I can.

We talk about ‘courses being needed in schools’ and that ‘parents must change their perceptions of hospitality and encourage children into service’. I will be frank; I have a young daughter but currently hospitality is NOT the industry I would encourage her into. Would you?

However I can’t sit by any longer listening to the deafening silence on these issues. Instead we lay blame at Brexit, lack of college courses, other’s perceptions, and Covid19. These are all excuses, not reasons for the situation we find ourselves in, and are lazy and deflecting.

I am an optimist, I have great respect for the leaders in our industry to unite and become the force of change that we all know needs to happen. I also know full well that we have amazing people coming through our industry at a junior level that will be the leaders of tomorrow. They are living and breathing the struggles we are facing at the moment. Some will survive and some will not.

We are the creators of experiences and moments. Those of us who are committed will fight to make it better. Now is the moment to create the RIGHT experiences for our people. Only then will sustainable building blocks for recovery and self-sufficiency be formed.