Managing Your Workforce: Expectation Vs. Reality

When it comes to employing your hospitality workforce, there’s never a cut and dry path on how to successfully carry it out. With eleven years of operation, having supported over 750 businesses and assessed upwards of 20,000 candidates, we have our fair share of experience and expertise surrounding the hospitality industry in Sydney.

At BENCHMARQUE, we are a best practice employer for hospitality jobs, including chef, restaurant, event, and bar positions. We provide refreshingly competitive casual event staffing, hospitality recruitment services through to HR services, hospitality payroll outsourcing and hospitality workforce management.

With our collective experience as a company, however, we have identified some distinct trends surrounding the expectation versus the reality of hiring, managing, and employing your hospitality workforce. These trends have notably shifted from generation to generation, and this blog will be speaking to the management surrounding the largest generation that makes up the hospitality workforce: Millennials.

Specifically, we have compiled a list of important considerations for your venue to help you better manage your workforce, ultimately saving you time and frustrations so that you can focus on the growth of your business.


Attraction and Recruitment

Gone are the days of relying on Seek and similarly structured platforms to find your skilled hospitality team. Instead, more casual platforms like Facebook and Gumtree are great resources to help attract your staff. 

Even better, referrals from your current staff is a strong option to ensure consistency and reliability. If members of your workforce are able to refer friends or acquaintances within the industry, they would only recommend them with full confidence, knowing what your expectations are surrounding skill, personality, passion, and service. Millennials love to be involved in your operation. As our CEO advises, “Treat Millennials with the same respect with which you want them to treat you. Give them access to information. Forget ‘need to know’ limitations. They hunger to know what’s going on and how their jobs fit into the organisation’s purpose…”

Skills Expectations

Due to Sydney’s current migration boom, overseas workers are arriving now more than ever. According to a recent study, between 1996 and 2016 migrants contributed nearly two-thirds of the increase in Sydney’s population, and a huge part of that population makes up the hospitality workforce.


So what does this mean in terms of skills expectations? It means that the bulk of your staff has likely either come from overseas or have had ample hospitality experience over the pond. Because of this, it’s not realistic to expect your new potential hires to be fully skilled and familiar with Sydney’s standards surrounding service. Not to worry, however. This just means that you should just be prepared to train up your staff. As an operation, you should be conducting hospitality skills assessments regularly to place value in your team and ensure consistency.

Scheduling Your Team

Unlike previous generations, Millennials really value a work-life balance over everything else. This doesn't mean that Millennials aren't hard-workers, however. Because your workforce values balance in their lives, this could be seen as a good thing. Employees that live balanced and healthy lives have proven to be more productive, and happier in the workplace. And this is great news because when your staff are happy your guests are happy.

Just because Millennials value work-life balance, this doesn't mean that they aren't willing to work hard and do the odd long shift (this is hospitality, after all and the industry is notoriously unpredictable if nothing else!) It just means that regularly scheduling your team for "clopens" and consistently booking them for long hours over the weekend might not have the best results. We recommend being open and communicative with your team surrounding workplace expectations surrounding schedules and hours. 

Overworking Risks

Say some (or maybe even all) of your staff are keen to pick up as many shifts as possible. This is great news since they’re obviously committed to your venue and are passionate about putting the work in, whether their motivation might be monetary or based around experience. Either way, having available and motivated staff is always a great thing.

One thing to be careful with, however, is overworking your staff. Beyond ensuring that your staff are not breaching their rights surrounding their working hours, it’s important to not overwork your team members, no matter how skilled and available they are. Over-scheduling your staff results in a high risk of Job Burnout. Job Burnout is a work-related mental health condition (also known as psychological injuries) is one of the largest compensated illnesses in Australia, with approximately 7,200 cases every year costing over $543 million in WC which is approximately 6% of workers in the Australian workforce. Not only can over-scheduling your staff result in an unhappy team but it can also end up being costly for your business.


The most common factors that contribute to job burnout is high job demand, poor support, role clarity, poor organisational change, management, and justice along with poor environmental conditions. If this sounds familiar to your venue, it's definitely time to check in and rework your expectations. 


Discover our top six essential templates and guidelines found at our Employer Learning Centre, all for free and available now. Click below for access.

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About the author Carlyn Shaw

Drawing on 12 years of hospitality experience and coming from a Communications background, I am passionate about all things hospitality.


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