News / Supplier Article /

Flexible hiring in 2024 and beyond

Chris Sanderson
CEO and founder, limber

Every year, we see a massive influx of businesses coming to limber as a way to flex their workforce up for the festive season. To maximize revenue, to ease strain on stressed teams and to make sure they can deliver what every customer wants: a good ol’ festive knees up, in whatever form that takes.

But what of flexible hiring when the tinsel is swept up, the fairly lights packed away and the mulled wine a distant memory? Just a December necessity or something every employer should look at all year round? 

More and more, we’re talking to operators, big and small, about embedding hyper-flexibility within their core hiring process, whether in partnership with our technology or not.

Here’s why it matters. 

Firstly, for a long time, the sector has been associated with the dreaded zero hours contract. Where employers could essentially demand their employees’ attendance and, for fear of not getting any more hours, the employee would dutifully show up. But, ask for a weekend off and employees often found themselves at the bottom of the call sheet. For this reason and the fact that if an operator offers everyone total flexibility, they’d have no staff on a Friday night, 60%+ of hospitality staff do not believe the sector is a flexible place to work (according to KAM media’s recent 2023 survey).

In parallel, the winds of change in every sector have been towards more flexibility, not less. The gig economy, for all its faults, has boomed as people either look for an additional income streams or just more flexibility and variety in their work-lives.

But operators historically can’t easily tap into the gig economy right? You can’t have an “uber for hospitality staff”. It doesn’t work. Driving a car safely from A to B with the help of a sat nav is not the same thing as delivering a quality service in a restaurant and it’s not the same thing as welcoming staff in a way which aligns with your brand. Anyone who says it is hasn’t worked a day in hospitality in their life.

The answer is a hybrid model. Any hospitality operator should be offering two ways of working in their business: core and hyper flexible. 

Core staff get the training, support, nurturing and promotion opportunities. Hyper flexible staff get to choose when and where they work and have absolute flexibility. And, you know what? There should be nothing stopping a core team member switching to hyper flexible and a hyper flexible staff member becoming a core team member – people go through different phases of life where they need different things.

How can flexible hiring benefit a business all year round? 

Flexible hiring means you can keep fixed costs low, by employing lean core teams and then flex up and down as need dictates: seasonality, sporting events, staff churn, big bookings, the weather, illness, holidays. There are many, year round reasons why having access to a flexible team is important. Not only will it maximize revenue when you need it, but it’ll reduce core staff stress and churn – all provided you can do it in a way which doesn’t impact staffing consistency.

In 2024 and beyond, the world of work is going to get more flexible, not less. As barriers to work are lowered through digital onboarding, training and flexible working platforms like ours, the reality is it’s going to become easier than ever to work for multiple employers and therefore build the patchwork rota that fits around whatever they have going on.

How operators choose to access and manage that flexible generation of talent is up for grabs, but it’s a change in behaviour that seems difficult to ignore.