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Hotel Industry Updates

Staffing Up for Summer? Don’t Forget Your Back-to-Work Strategy for Gig Workers

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Developing your back-to-work strategy to safely get people staffed up for the impending traveler boom is certainly a high priority as we emerge from our COVID cocoons. We’re wondering, though: What about those back-to-work strategies for temporary gig workers?

Too often, conversations focus on staffing up full-time workers. Yet your strategies also should include temp workers, the people who are essential to fill the gaps and keep things running smoothly during peak travel time.

Our company specializes in securing work for short-term job assignments, dubbed “gig jobs,” in hospitality. Over the last year, our teams continued to work in public places including warehouses that desperately needed packers, pickers and stockers; hospitals that needed temperature takers and cafeteria workers; and restaurants that still needed staff to handle the boom in to-go orders.

Our gig workers are looking forward to getting back into the hotel and hospitality business. We wanted to find out what they’re thinking. So we asked.

The first week of March, we sent a Pulse Poll to our gig workers. Based on what we learned, here are tips for human resources professionals to consider in their back-to-work staffing strategies.

Gig Workers Are Already Working

Yes, there was a lull in the availability of gig jobs in early 2020. Then there was a shift, and gig workers filled a need.

In your planning, remember that these are people who’ve been back at work in public places for many, many months. Most know the health precautions, risks and more. They’re not reentering a workplace. When working temp teams into reentry plans, remember this and appreciate these people who stepped up during a difficult time. They’re work-ready.

Gig Workers Like Easy Access to Job Assignments

Easy equals low stress. We’ve all been through an incredibly hard year. As you consider adding back temp workers to your teams, ask yourself: How can I keep the process easy?

Our poll specifically asked workers about an app we use that lets hospitality customers post jobs for gig workers, who then confirm in real time. Nearly 74% agree having an app to book jobs makes life easy. One gig worker told us, “I can see all the jobs and accept if I want the work.”

Gig Workers Want to Broaden Their Skills

While our company specializes in hospitality gig workers, last year we expanded into warehousing, hospital services and other areas where gig workers were desperately needed. The great gig workers hustled. They transferred their skills from one job or location to another. And they appreciated being able to use their skills in new jobs.

Give gig workers a chance to try something new to transfer their skills. Here are a few of their comments:

  • “It was a great pleasure to work at various locations that broaden my skills.”
  • “I have gained more experience.”
  • “I am more open to try new things and jobs.”

Gig Workers Professionally Represent

Sometimes it is assumed that temp hourly workers aren’t as professional as the permanent staff.

Our gig workers told us the opposite. “A morale of professionalism is required when I’m representing an employment agency that is new to the area,” one of them said. “I feel I have a responsibility to represent the values and principles of the agency within the workplaces.”

Gig Workers Want Details

To help gig workers represent and do a good job, be sure your back-to-work plan specifically outlines what’s required. One respondent bottom lined it thusly: “Some of the descriptions lately have been lacking some detail.” A nice reminder to all of us.

Here are suggestions:

  • Explain who the temp worker should report to and how they find that person. Do they check in at a lobby, go to an office building, ask for an admin upon arrival? If there’s security onsite are certain documents required to clear security protocol?
  • Share all of the responsibilities, requirements and the uniform/dress code. While this may seem obvious, a similar position may look different at another company. Don’t assume a temp worker knows the details of a job by its name.
  • Be sure temp workers know your safety protocols. COVID-19 protocols vary by state and are shifting and changing regularly: Think masks, sanitizers and /or gloves. Should a temp worker bring their own mask, or is one provided? Will you be checking temperatures?

Gig Workers Want to Feel Welcome

Your internal team may not understand why you’re using temporary employees, which can create a rift between the two parties. Explain why new faces are joining the team; that they’re here to help. Maybe temp staff are onsite to support the traveler surge coming this summer.

In communications, whether written or verbal, decide the best term for the temp staff members. Are they “contract workers” or “temporary team members,” for example?This might be someone’s first time at your location. Offer a friendly smile or wave; ask how they’re doing. They will remember you took a moment to show kindness.

By taking time to build temporary workers into back-to-work strategies, they’ll feel comfortable, confident and part of your culture as we all work to find our way forward.  

George Lessmeister is CEO and founder of LGC Hospitality, a hospitality staffing firm that works with hotel and restaurant leadership.

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