Hospitality industry struggling to hire workers, some offer incentives – Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2021-05-11 16:34:34 –

Lexington, Kentucky (LEX 18) — As summer approaches, companies in the hospitality industry are concerned about meeting customer demands in the face of labor shortages.

Bluegrass Hospitality Association Chairman Pam Avery said it would be difficult to find hotels, restaurants, bars and other hospitality businesses that didn’t seek help.

“How bad is it? It’s bad,” Avery said.

She also said she was the general manager of Embassy Suites Lexington Green and didn’t want much. She is currently only trying to fill 10-12 positions, but she can’t.

In fact, her front desk position has been open for two months. She said she usually gets 40 applications as soon as they are posted. Instead, she has to work at the front desk herself.

“I’ve never had a hard time getting people to work at the front desk throughout my career,” she said as a 35-year veteran in the industry. “It was a really big challenge, so don’t overestimate it if it’s really bad. I don’t want it to sound dramatic, but it’s a serious problem as the summer travel season is approaching.”

She believes there are several reasons why workers are not returning to the hospitality industry, including the fact that they are getting jobs in other industries.

“I think hospitality employees are generally the most hard-working people in America,” she said. “They want to work. So they went to work on a horse farm. They went to work on Amazon. They went to work at a call center where they could work from home.”

To get the workers back, she said the company is offering more incentives like higher wages. She also said there was a debate about how they could adapt to meet workers’ desire for a better work-life balance by changing the schedule.

“As an industry, we really say,’How can we be more flexible? Will we hire more part-time talent to accommodate more shifts?’ We don’t know the answer. We don’t know. We’re just getting started. The reality of where we’re sitting has been revealed in the last four weeks. “

Christie Eckerline, chief operating officer of Kentucky Castle, said she was having a hard time hiring, especially in entry-level positions.

“We have a great response to job listings, but after scheduling an interview, we’ll get people who don’t show up for them,” she said. “Some people fill out all the paperwork, do onboarding, and don’t come to work.”

She said some workers believe they may not be ready to return to work for fear of being exposed to the virus. She also said that unemployment benefits may be more attractive to some than working.

“The way our government does it, it motivates a kind of people not to work,” she said. “I hate thinking about it. Of course, I wouldn’t expect anyone to sit at home and receive a check, so I hope it doesn’t.”

She hopes that Kentucky’s new job-seeking requirements will turn the tide.

“If anyone is using this system, I think the job search requirements will certainly help discourage it,” she said.

At LexLive, recruitment issues continue.

“It was certainly a big challenge,” said Operations Director Bruce Len.

LexLive holds job fairs every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm to fill all job openings.

Whatever the reason for the labor shortage, people in the hospitality industry demand patience from their guests and customers as they overcome this labor shortage.

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