Finding extra staff and saving time in the process

Hospitality, health, and social care are all “under pressure”, and human resource struggles are a daily challenge. Just one staff member calling in sick can have serious knock-on effects for the whole organisation. Managers have to constantly find solutions to compensate for absenteeism, holiday leave, or sudden increases in business, often as a matter of urgency. This approach doesn’t always provide the most adequate and suitable solution that truly meets the business’ needs.

So, how can you reinforce your team with competent workers, all while wasting as little time as possible? Should you turn to temping agencies, hire on a short-term contract, or call in casual staff to temporarily beef up your teams? Maybe you should consider a freelancer.

Let’s take a look at your options.

Recruitment difficulties after the pandemic

During the Covid-19 crisis, the hospitality, social, and healthcare sectors were upheaved like few other industries. Considering it was already difficult to find staff in these areas, they really didn’t need another obstacle to overcome.

In our hospitals, the last two years have been particularly chequered, with the Delta variant quashing hopes of a swift recovery, and an as yet uncertain mid- to long-term future.

Healthcare has seen two years of harsh conditions, wards on the brink of overflowing, and exhausting overtime, with the added hardship of imposing isolation on care home and retirement facility residents. Isolating residents doubtlessly provided them protection, but it also denied them vital social contact. And by limiting their interactions to a strict minimum, carers were denied the chance to do the one thing they love most about their job: look after people in need.

In the face of this constant upheaval, many healthcare and hospitality professionals have chosen to turn to other industries, where work carries fewer constraints and less uncertainty about the future.

This haemorrhaging of staff has only added to these sectors’ recruitment problems and pressure on human resources. This is the new reality with which healthcare managers and restaurateurs alike are currently confronted.

For these establishments, finding the right solution for strengthening their teams is more than ever the cornerstone for remaining in operation.

Finding cover, casual staff or part-time workers: a time-consuming exercise

Whether it’s filling a permanent opening or finding short-term cover, managers spend a lot of time and energy finding staff to strengthen their teams. This is, of course, in part due to the aforementioned shortage of workers, but also because simply “finding staff” doesn’t cut it when it comes to running a successful business. The staff have to be qualified, motivated, and committed. They have to be able to adapt to how the existing team works. In a word, they have to be able to bring solutions and not create more problems for the establishment.

Finding competent and hard-working staff in any industry requires time. Perfect nurses and model carers don’t just walk in from the street. Nor do the best waiters or chefs appear out of thin air. In an ideal world, you would take the time to sift through CVs, pick out the best profiles, and meet every candidate over a coffee to better judge their abilities. But this is unrealistic.

“Urgent Help Wanted – Enquire Within”

We’ve all been there. A member of staff calls in sick, sometimes the night before, other times the same day. Sometimes, you don’t even get a call. And it’s all hands on deck! Finding cover for a restaurant, care home or hospital is often a matter of urgency. It’s an exercise in getting hold of someone as soon as possible who can treat patients or residents with the dignity they deserve, or carry plates to hungry customers. You have to act fast.

On top of that, in both healthcare and hospitality, managers and directors have one thing in common: every second counts. A restaurant manager has a plate-full of other tasks to be getting on with to keep the doors open. And when a working day is rarely less than fifteen hours long, it’s best to keep on top of operational tasks as much as possible. Likewise, nursing home directors already find the time they can spend with residents drastically limited by cumbersome administrative obligations.

Incidentally, many are speaking out about the admin-heavy direction the care home manager role is taking. Other health and social care facilities, and even hospitals, are also facing the same burden, potentially leading them to rush through tasks that take them away from patients and residents.

So, finding the ideal replacement to reinforce your teams takes time. But more often than not, time is the one thing we don’t have…

For managers in these fields, practicality is what the doctor ordered. Sometimes, you may think a mediocre replacement is still better than being short-staffed, especially for other team members who are already exhausted. So, you try to do the best you can, and waste as little time as possible. Most of the time, that works. But unfortunately, simply reacting to a situation is not always as effective as truly responding to it by finding a durable solution.

Disappointing solutions

Of course, we are all pleasantly surprised sometimes. That temp nursing assistant who turns out to be highly motivated and excellent with the patients. That efficient, on-the-ball kitchen hand who takes the strain off an overworked team. Good things can come out of a bad situation.

But everyone knows that these traditional solutions for solving staffing problems are not perfect. You can’t always fully compensate for a missing permanent member of staff. The reasons for this are multiple. A worker doing short-term cover for a couple of days is unlikely to develop a sense of commitment or loyalty to the job. Sometimes a last-minute fill-in will lack significant experience on the job. Other times, someone’s punctuality and attitude might leave a lot to be desired. This can be damaging for the image of the establishment.

In a similar way, temps often help employers out of sticky situations. But unfortunately, temping agencies don’t always send experienced workers (this is especially true in hospitality). While flexibility has its advantages, it is always better for a hotel or restaurant manager to be able to rely on true industry professionals.

Other drawbacks include the time it takes for replacement temps to be sent, and the lengthy administrative process, which can still be time-consuming even if the agency tries to simplify it.

The advantages of freelance status

The idea of being a freelancer in healthcare is nothing new. Self-employed nurses, nursing assistants, carers, and specialists either operate from their own practice or at patients’ homes. Increasing numbers of healthcare professionals are attracted to this independent model and proposing their services to healthcare facilities. This way of working offers many advantages.

Perhaps more surprisingly, hospitality professionals are also increasingly turning to this model. The benefits of freelancing are the same across all sectors. Self-employment means you can choose your schedule and find a healthy work-life balance. It also means choosing where you work and the businesses you choose to work with. Freelancers relish the opportunity to meet different people and work with diverse teams. A more varied job role allows them to showcase their adaptability, carefully hone their skills, and even learn new ones.

By freeing themselves of the daily grind often associated with traditional employment, freelancers stand out by being more motivated and more excited about taking on new projects and succeeding in them.

Freelance workers all say the same thing: becoming their own boss has completely changed their relationship with work… for the better. Incidentally, cases where freelances want to go back to traditional employment are very rare.

Freelancers: highly motivated workers…

Freelance jobs are, by nature, ever-evolving, and freelancers have to give the best of themselves in order to ensure longevity in their business venture. This extra drive is incredibly important in industries where a general lack of motivation invariably leads to lower-quality service and less attentive care.

In any organisation, encouraging team motivation is one of the keys to success. But in industries providing essential services to people who are elderly, disabled, or ill, high motivation becomes an absolute necessity.

… who support your permanent teams

Of course, the aim is not to completely replace your existing salaried staff with freelancers. Quite the opposite. Freelancers offer the possibility to support and reinforce existing teams. Every organisation needs a permanent team that knows the place like the back of its hand, particularly in health and care environments. For retirement homes and assisted living facilities, it is essential that residents have regularity and consistency. Trust between residents and carers builds up over time, and stability is a key factor for maintaining well-being in any facility.

Similarly, a restaurant’s regular customers enjoy seeing the same friendly waiter, who greets them with a smile, knows how they take their coffee, and makes them feel like they’re not just another customer. Team stability is essential in running any type of establishment.

At Brigad, we give the same advice to every business that we support: recruit and train a permanent team that represents your business best, and when you need to, call for backup from a talented Brigader.

But how can choosing a Brigader help you save time?

Brigad: the best talent in the blink of an eye

In these industries, every second saved is important. So, to avoid wasting time, Brigad puts you in contact with qualified freelances for your short-term staffing needs. All profiles are verified and approved by our team in advance. Calling in a freelancer who can hit the ground running saves you precious time. For a restaurant owner, that means more time to spend taking care of your customers, and for healthcare facility directors, it’s ensuring your patients and residents are being looked after.

Brigad provides a superfast solution. One minute is all it takes (you can time it if you like!) to send out a mission request and get the price. Don’t forget that when finding urgent cover, every second counts. See for yourself how sending out a request works in this one-minute video:

Brigad to the rescue

For hospitality managers, it is non-negotiable that the reopening of our establishments goes as smoothly as possible. It is vital that both front-of-house and back-of-house are fully staffed with motivated workers ready to take on the influx of returning customers. To face this unique challenge head on, you need a battle plan… That’s why Brigad offers the services of the best freelance workers in the industry. We put them in contact with businesses in need of backup for temporary or more regular missions, as quickly as possible, to help managers save time and to avoid being short-staffed.

You can count on us to come to the rescue, supporting restaurants, bars, and caterers with their staffing needs as more and more businesses reopen. A database of 200,000 talented Brigaders at your fingertips. Workers who are motivated and passionate about the industry that has suffered so much these last two years. You can count on us, and them, to make your business’ reopening a success!

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