Attracting Top Talent: Overcoming Bias in Hiring in the Hospitality Industry

November 01, 2023 | 609 Views

Attracting Top Talent: Overcoming Bias in Hiring in the Hospitality Industry

Curt Archambault, FMP

Education Strategist, CHART | Partner Consultant, People & Performance Strategies

The process of sourcing, interviewing, selecting, and onboarding top talent in the hospitality industry requires a strategic approach that considers and addresses unconscious bias.

How often have you heard people in our industry say:

“People don’t want to work today!”

“Young people today just don’t have the same work ethic as I did at that age.”

“The workforce today is so entitled.”

These thoughts are not serving us well, and even impede us from having a workforce with a wealth of diverse perspectives. Here are the three most important steps hiring managers can take to ensure fair and effective hiring practices, and acknowledge and address these and other biases. Real-world examples from the hospitality industry may just spark the idea you need to attract and acquire top talent!

Step 1: Diverse Sourcing

Sourcing top-tier talent is the foundation of any successful recruitment strategy. However, unconscious bias can creep in right at this stage, leading to a lack of diversity in the applicant pool. To address this, hiring managers must take conscious steps to broaden their sourcing methods and attract a more diverse array of candidates.

Unconscious Bias to Acknowledge: Homophily Bias - The tendency to gravitate toward candidates who are like us in significant ways, such as major social identity categories like race and gender.

Best Practices:

Real-World Example: A high-end restaurant chain actively partners with local culinary schools to tap into emerging talent from diverse backgrounds. By nurturing these connections, they ensure a continuous inflow of fresh and diverse candidates.

Step 2: Inclusive Interviewing

The interviewing stage is where unconscious bias can have a significant impact on the selection process. Creating an inclusive interview environment and using structured interview techniques can help mitigate bias and make fair evaluations.

Unconscious Bias to Acknowledge: Confirmation Bias - The tendency to seek out information that confirms preconceived notions about a candidate.

Best Practices:

Real-World Example: A luxury hotel chain employs a "blind auditions" approach during their interview process. Candidates are asked to perform relevant tasks without revealing their identities, ensuring that only their skills and abilities are evaluated.

Step 3: Fair Selection and Onboarding

Selecting the right candidate involves a comprehensive review of their qualifications, skills, and cultural fit. To avoid unconscious bias, it's crucial to have a well-structured selection process in place that is mindful of these potential biases.

Unconscious Bias to Acknowledge: Affinity Bias - The tendency to favor candidates who share similar interests, experiences, or backgrounds.

Best Practices:

Real-World Example: An international restaurant chain employs a multi-step assessment process that includes skills tests, personality assessments, and panel interviews. This approach helps them gain a comprehensive understanding of candidates beyond their resumes.

By diversifying sourcing methods, implementing inclusive interviewing techniques, and ensuring fair selection and onboarding practices, hiring managers can create a workforce that not only brings exceptional skills but also deep and diverse perspectives. As the hospitality industry thrives on exceptional experiences for diverse customers, embracing diverse employees and combating bias is essential for our continued success.

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