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Granny Annexe... Or How Adding Older People To Your Workforce Mix Will Help Your Hotel Thrive


Let's face it, hospitality is bloody hard work.

It can be physically demanding and includes a lot of running around: It can be mentally and emotionally draining. You're constantly having to think on your feet and dealing with the attitudes and atmospheres created by guests and other team members. The hours can be long and anti-social. Often considered by many as a young person's game, we could be missing out on a rich vein of talent by ignoring more mature candidates. In a time when finding any staff is difficult, let alone reliable and conscientious employees, it is well worth taking the time to see how you can reap the benefits. 

Employing mature candidates, even those well past retirement age has proven very successful for big brands like B&Q, M&S, and Waitrose. A couple of creative tweaks to how you organise your business could help to make you more productive and profitable while being less pressed and peeved. What's stopping you from dividing up a full time (or even part time) role into fewer hours for more people? If you have an 8 or 12 hour daily shift, why not break it down and consider two or three people covering three or four hours each and/or two to five days a week? Yes, you will have more people on your payroll to process and organising the rota may be a bit more involved, until you get used to it, but think of the benefits:
  • 1. You've immediately increased the pool of potential candidates that can apply for your roles. More flexible, and reduced, hours means that people can work around studying or caring for dependents. It also means that it becomes a viable option for older candidates, or people with a health issue or disability that could limit the number of hours they can work effectively.
  • 2. You will have more people to fall back on if somebody is absent for any reason. This means that the rest of you don’t have to run around like blue-bottomed flies apologising to guests that you’re short-staffed all the time.
  • 3. You, and your existing team, will feel less stressed and under pressure because you can spread the load of work. This also helps to retain staff as they don't feel overwhelmed and overworked constantly.
  • 4. Reliability and productivity improves. While a bit of a sweeping generalisation, older people tend to turn up when expected and work well with little to no supervision.
  • 5. Informal mentoring of younger or inexperienced team members. Having people around with a few more miles on the clock can be a steadying and comforting influence on others. A bit of life experience shared and advice offered can go a long way when a younger team member is upset, frustrated, or angry about a situation that may, or may not, be work related. We've all had a ‘work mum’ or ‘work dad’ at some point in our careers, haven't we?
  • 6. Increased footfall and profitability. Having a diverse workforce that includes older staff members, and people with physical or mental health issues that prevent them from working longer hours, can prove a big draw to customers. Think about bars that have only hip and trendy fashionistas working there. They tend to only have hip and trendy fashionistas drinking there. If you want to appeal to a broad, diverse, larger customer base, a broad, diverse, larger workforce is a good place to start.
  • 7. You'll get a warm and fuzzy feeling that you're doing your bit for your local community. Isolation, particularly among the elderly, is a big social problem and can significantly impact health and mental well-being. Having a job to go to can provide social interaction for those that may otherwise be very lonely. That job often becomes one of the most enjoyable and important things in the individual's life. Just imagine how well somebody works when they feel that going to work is the thing that they look forward to most each week!
So, rather than discounting older candidates because you're worried they may lack the stamina or energy required for a long day in hospitality, think of the myriad benefits they can bring and adjust the hours, shifts, and environment accordingly to work for you all.