by Glenn Mandziuk
Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association President & CEO

In conversation with a number of stakeholders over the past few weeks it is clear that staff shortages continue to be a growing and escalating concern around the region. This is not a trend being experienced in the Thompson Okanagan, but is occurring throughout the province and the entire country and it is not limited to tourism but felt widely through other industries as well.

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet or panacea that will ultimately fix this situation, however, in speaking with our colleagues at go2HR they had some excellent comments and questions that businesses should be considering as this labour challenge continues in to the foreseeable future.”  We encourage you to take time to review and reflect on how your business is faring and what possible changes you could make to improve employee attraction, retention and retraining. Remember, this is not a short term situation nor something that will have a quick fix, but there are businesses that are dealing with it better than others”¦.what can you be doing to make sure that it does not happen to you?

Thank you to Arun Subramanian of go2HR for the following considerations:

Despite all the talk about shortages, some employers still maintain they are okay”¦what is it they are doing and how can you implement similar actions?

Recruitment should be a perennial activity- not something to be engaged in just when you need to hire someone- it needs to be strategic and deliberate

Business is booming- in all industries- with increased need for staff; how does your business differentiate itself

Demographic shift: Youth population has been steadily declining since the beginning of this decade and is set to plateau only by the middle of the next decade. A third of our industry’s workforce is youth (13% in other industries)

Do you listen to your employees? Understand their needs?

Do you know the profile of an “ideal” employee? Where can you find people of that profile? Target your efforts

Do you offer the best you can to your employees? Flexibility, Training, Growth, Housing (even help finding it would be appreciated), Rewards and recognition, Positive workplace – Open communication, fairness, safe workplace

Culinary- are you hiring/supporting apprentices? Engaging with culinary schools?

Increasing efficiency- using technology (e.g. Online check in at hotels, like the airlines), reducing complexity (simpler dishes/menus e.g.), outsourcing (e.g. hotel banquet areas/restaurant run by a caterer)

Connecting with opposite season employers