THEBRITISHHospitality Association has published a directory which could help turn around the low-pay, low-status image of jobs in hotels and restaurants – and give companies a hand to tackle continuing staff shortages.

Called Your First Choice, the directory lists 400 companies in the hospitality industry who have all been awarded a good or best practice certificate under the BHA’s Excellence Through People scheme, or have qualified for the UK-wide Investors in People award.

ETP advises businesses on recruitment and people management and aims to raise standards in a sector plagued by a high level of staff turnover.

Hospitality and Leisure Manpower operations director Mike Fellowes, who runs ETP seminars on behalf of the BHA, said: “There are staff shortages in certain parts of the country. Every time, I meet up with employers, they say that the industry’s poor employment image is a problem which is holding them back from recruiting the people they need.

“Employers in the hospitality industry are not only competing with one another but also with other industry sectors.”

Thousands of copies of the directory have gone out to schools, colleges and job centres, straight to the target audience the BHA is hoping to attract.

Fellowes said: “The directory is a tangible way of addressing the image problem and making the industry more attractive to young people. We want to show young people that it offers good career prospects.

“We hope employers who want to be on the map will want to be included in the directory. We want to make good practice common in our sector.”

A series of half-day seminars will kick off in London in late January, followed by sessions in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh in February and March.

They are designed for the owners or managers of small businesses who do not have a dedicated human resources specialist.

At the heart of the session is a 10-point code of practice which covers everything from recruitment to rewards.

Attendees work through checklists and case studies to find out how their organisation shapes up.

Equally valuable is the chance to swap experiences with the person in the next seat.

At the end of the session, everyone takes away a printout of the areas they need to work on.

Once a company has tweaked the way it operates, it can apply to the BHA for assessment. If successful, accreditation follows, with a listing in the directory. The next step is to get the bigger players on board.

“All the larger groups, without any exceptions, are enthusiastic about ETP.We hope to have 2,000 establishments listed by the end of the year,” said Fellowes. The New Millennium Experience Company, organisers of the Dome, have already signed up to the scheme. Granada and the Hilton Group are expected to do so shortly.

Other developments in the pipeline are a self-help pack and an Internet site, both planned for a late January launch.

“Obviously it’s good if people can go to the seminars. But, at least with the self-help pack, it means you are not excluded if you can’t attend,” said Fellowes.

“And on the BHA Web site, we’re planning to do regular Web updates on who’s been accredited with a good or best practice certificate. It will make the information more widely available,” said Fellowes.

This autumn will see the second annual ETP awards. To enter, staff need to come up with an innovative idea, to improve the way they work, that can be adopted by other employers up and down the country.

Last year’s winner, the Knockomie House Hotel in Forres, Moray, reorganised its staff into teams and gave each group the authority to rewrite the rule book if it could benefit the customer, a team member, the hotel or the profit line.

This year’s awards will be held at The Savoy Hotel in London on September 13.


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