Staff turnover in hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism is around 30% - the highest of any sector. To a certain extent, it is the nature of the industry, providing jobs for many seasonal and part-time staff.
However, while larger companies in the sector with dedicated HR departments can cope with this more easily, few small businesses have someone in the management team with a personnel management qualification to handle recruitment, retention, training, and to make sure the company stays within the law.
According to research by the sector skills council for hospitality, People 1st, 76% of businesses are micro businesses, employing 45% of employees, and the cost of replacing an employee is between £1,500 and £4,500. So poor HR practice can have a detrimental impact on both productivity and profitability. If it continues, this level of staff turnover will cost the sector £6.2bn by 2012, according to People 1st.
In response to the situation, People 1st and Adviser Plus - with the support of funding from the Department of Trade and Industry - developed a service known as Tourism HR. This comprises an initial audit, followed by a comprehensive online and telephone support service, providing HR and employment law advice.
It has been piloted with great success so far - 80% of businesses renewed their contract at the end of year one.
The service initially cost £1,200 a year, which some businesses felt to be too steep. So it was extended to offer employers the option of accessing the service at a cheaper, basic entry level, with an opportunity to upgrade to a higher level of support as and when it was needed.
This new service is called HR Business Adviser, a user-friendly, legally reliable, HR and employment law website, all for just £125 a year. It has been very well received by the sector and, currently, more than 200 small businesses have obtained licences for the service.
One of People 1st's main objectives is to ensure that funded support is directed to address the industry's most critical needs. To that end, it has secured funding from the European Social Fund to purchase 5,000 HR Business Adviser licences, which will enable 5,000 small businesses to benefit from the service for one year, at no cost.
People 1st is working closely w