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Human Resources

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Surviving – and thriving – in our ‘new normal’

Coming out of COVID-19 will be a challenge for many hoteliers, whether they are small independent operators or medium to larger operators.

Our Human Resources specialist, Camille Mackenzie, has over twenty years- experience as a hands-on Human Resource practitioner and years of experience in the hospitality and hotel sector. Camille knows and understands the challenges hoteliers face daily and has been working with Revstar helping provide our hotels with practical, fair, honest and effective advice.

We sat down with Camille and asked her to answer three burning questions that hoteliers have been asking Revstar during this pandemic.

Given the changes COVID-19 has brought about, can I still direct employees to do other duties and work different hours outside of their normal role?

That depends on the applicable Award/s or Enterprise agreement your business is covered by. The Fair Work Commission made temporary variations to several Awards and workplace legislation a few months ago, to provide greater flexibility for employers and employees during COVID (such as flexibility around hours of work, duties, leave entitlements).

However, some of these variations in a number of Awards did end on 27th September 2020, whilst others have recently been extended.

For those flexibility variations that have ended, flexibility provisions have now reverted to the standard Award (that is pre-COVID).

There are still options for employers and employees though, such as individual flexibility agreements (IFAs).

It is important hoteliers and managers understand their obligations under relevant industrial instruments to avoid negative ramifications.

As restrictions start easing, how am I going to be able to operate if I can’t afford to fill all the positions I had pre COVID-19?

Preparation and a conservative approach are the best course of action when planning your workforce. The sooner you start preparing, the more confident you will be when our industry starts recovering.

Many businesses will not be re-commencing where they left off before COVID-19, as they simply cannot afford to, regardless of the initial bookings coming in.

Workforce planning must be proactive and flexible to reflect the changing needs of the business as well as being able to respond to and pre-empt internal and external factors that can impact the business’ operation.

It is worthwhile considering your pre-COVID ‘organisational structure/chart’ and reworking this to be more effective and efficient.

Never underestimate the value of conducting a skills matrix. Many hoteliers and managers are surprised at the additional skills and knowledge their employees actually possess. The skills matrix identifies additional skills and knowledge of employees' enabling them to undertake tasks and responsibilities in multiple areas of the business.

The benefits of this exercise are many including, increased morale and retention of employees; a sustainable and successful property. Properties who are able to adapt and make the most of what their own employees can bring to the business, are more likely to succeed during difficult times such as the pandemic, and beyond.

I am operating with skeleton staff and juggling multiple responsibilities to save on costs. I am so stressed and finding this hard to manage. How do I juggle this all?

You need to talk to someone who understands what you are going through like other hoteliers and managers or tapping into the resources of a professional. You’re not alone. It is important to express your feelings and know when to ask for help. The pressures of managing a property of any size and taking on additional roles and responsibilities is extremely stressful and challenging.

Having a resource who can empathise what you are going through and can provide you with strategies to assist you to cope, is invaluable.

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