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Poor Recruitment Practices in London-Based Hotels

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Poor Recruitment Practices in London-Based Hotels

Introduction

As an increasing number of firms continue to compete for top talent amid growing rates of employee turnover across entire industries, today’s managers have to find ingenious ways of averting the looming human resource crisis. As such, organizational leaders are growing increasingly aware of the significance of sound recruitment practices in improving staff acquisition and retention rates. For the purposes of this paper, the definition of recruitment will be taken to mean the entire process from finding to hiring the most qualified candidate for a particular job position in the most cost-effective and timely manner. Typically, the recruitment process’ lifecycle starts with identifying a company’s staffing needs and job requirements, encouraging potential candidates to apply for the position, screening and selecting the best applicants, and finally, hiring the best amongst the applicants. Other than finding top talent to fill vacant posts in organizations, recruitment processes and practices ensure that the set of skills within a firm are aligned to organizational goals. They also promote compliance with laws and policies.

While most companies across the world strive to improve their internal practices, most hotels operating in London appear to be reluctant to improve their recruitment practices. Specifically, London’s hotel industry has been characterized by low pay, poor working conditions, insecurity, long working hours, flexible employment. Indeed, these traits are not unique to London, but are typical of the European Union as a whole, albeit with some significant national variations.

The notion of human resources management of HRM is used to describe the process of managing the key assets in an organization that is the people. This concept has attracted practitioners and researcher’s attention, consequently bringing about significant debates on how it should be carried out. Huge volumes if literature and vocabulary has been invented causing controversy on whether HRM is a model, theory or a map or even whether the concept contains them all. Regardless of the definition, HRM is mostly involved in recruitment, hiring and managing employees in an organization.

Being part of the service industry, hotels’ success is highly dependent on the managements’ ability to recruit and maintain an efficient and effective work force. Globally, tourism provides over 230 million jobs making up to 8.7% of the world workforce. Recruitment and development of employment is not only important to the hotel industry but to other job creating opportunities as well (Evans et al., 2007). Consequently, it is crucial for hotels to adopt appropriate recruitment practices that attract innovative human resources.  A hotel’s management is tested by interaction between customers and service staff and best standards can only be achieved through proper recruitment practices. As a core element of organizational management, human resource is one of functions that have influence on a firm’s performance. The workforce is the back bone of the company. Therefore, poor recruitment decisions can have negative impact on a hotel’s ability to achieve the set goals and objectives. Recruitment policies and activities should be designed in such a way that they are people oriented and beneficial to the organization. The unique characteristics of the hotel industry including, high turnover rate, limited skills, low wages, firm size, service category or class, ownership and flexibility in employment patterns are crucial for achieving organizational goals. 

This paper seeks to explore poor recruitment practices in London hotels by answering key research questions related to factors behind such practices, potential consequences and solutions. It will also investigate the causes, repercussions, and potential solutions to London’s poor employment practices using a qualitative review of existing secondary data.

Theoretical Background

The success and sustainability of every firm is partly anchored on its ability to identify, attract, and retain talented human resources. Given the acute scarcity of talent in the present day’s labour markets, companies have made recruitment a top priority in their strategic plans. Further, the ever-growing competition in the business environment has compelled organizations to adopt effective recruitment practices that guarantee the highest employee retention rates to maximize performance and profitability, as well as to generate competitive advantages (Tangthong, Trimetsoontorn, & Rojniruntikul, 2014). Thus, the various difficulties involved in retaining talented and competent employees underscore the significance of effective recruitment practices as one of the staff retention management processes and the basis on which new workers are absorbed into a company.

The resource-based view of the firm stresses the relationship between a firm’s resource endowment and its performance. Specifically, the manner in which an organization uses and configures its resources determines its ability to perform, compete, and create unique and sustainable competitive advantages. As such, managers and leaders use various tools, such as SWOT analysis, to investigate their strategic positions in the market (Lin & Wu, 2014). The resource-based view connotes that for a firm to create long-term competitive advantage, its resources should be valuable, rare, inimitable, and non-substitutable (VRIN). Such resources enable firms to develop core competencies, which enable them to out-perform the majority of competitors on factors that customers consider to be valuable (Bakar & Ahmad, 2010). Therefore, the effectiveness of recruitment practices determine how well a company can identify, attract, and retain human resources that can contribute to the development of core competencies.

Managers often evaluate the factors that can be deployed to generate competitive advantages. Accordingly, the resource-based view asserts that resources bear varying degrees of importance, and that not all resources can be a source of competitive advantage. Given the practical difficulties entailed in ascertaining the causal relationships between successful strategies and sources of advantage, most managerial effort should be directed toward identifying, comprehending, and classifying an organization’s core competencies, which should then be developed, nurtured, and maintained. According to Bakar and Ahmad (2014), human resources are a firm’s greatest resource, which, if overlooked, can lead to devastating losses and inevitable failure. As such, employees are a crucial resource that should be constantly developed, nurtured, and maintained. Effective recruitment practices can help firms to ensure that their human capital yields optimal competitive advantages.

Managers typically desire to have the best workers working for them. As such, they may go beyond their means to attract people who can produce the best results at the lowest feasible cost and in the least possible time. This rationale is encapsulated in the theory of reasoned action, whose aim is to describe the association between human actions and attitudes. Usually, people’s behaviour is based on their behavioural intentions as well as their pre-existing predispositions, subjective norms, and attitudes (Montano & Kasprzyk, 2015). As such, an individual’s inclination toward a particular behaviour depends, in part, on the expected outcomes of the action. This theory can be used to explain the tendency by managers to adopt certain recruitment practices. It can also be used to rationalize the current situation in London’s hotels with regard to the managerial decisions relating to hiring and employee’s welfare.

The hotel industry in London and the EU in general is mired by numerous accusations of unfit working conditions and high staff turnover. According to Muller-Heyndyk (2018), the sector suffers from long, unsocial, and irregular working hours, substandard forms of employment, unpaid overtime, poor wages, staff exploitation, and persistent cost reduction and restructuring efforts that culminate in a mismatch between wages and skill levels. These traits are a product of various managerial decisions. Fishben and Azjen (2011) argue that the numerous forms, prevalence, and frequency of organizational misconduct are linked to the various antecedents and complexities that account for other types of human behaviour. These antecedents can be identified at the individual, group, and organizational levels of analysis, and they can be subjective or objective, dynamic or static, simple or complex. Therefore, managerial decision-making is influenced by managers’ attitudes and personal attributes, organizational culture and policies, as well as job characteristics.

Montano and Kasprzyk (2015) postulate that the intention to perform a certain behaviour is formed differently when the preceding psychological factors are primarily normative or instrumental. As such, self-benefiting misbehaviour, such as the adoption of cost-cutting practices by London’s hotel industry, may be motivated by normative judgments on the significance or utility of such acts at both the individual level. On the other hand, organization-benefiting misbehaviour, such as the poor recruitment practices in most hotels in London, is motivated by both affective and instrumental forces within individual managers (Montano & Kasprzyk, 2015). The theory of reasoned action, therefore, would suggest that the poor recruitment practices adopted by London’s hotel industry are ingrained in managers’ attitudes, subjective norms, and expectations concerning their behaviour. Their actions can be seen as a means to an end, a technique of realizing certain organizational or industry-wide goals.

The numerous changes in today’s world have undoubtedly changed all aspects of business, from staffing to procurement, customer relationships, and finance, among others. Broadly speaking, work analysis can be defined as the systematic process of gathering data about tasks, responsibilities, and duties, as well as the personal traits required of employees to meet organizational goals (Chan & Kuok, 2011). As a result, most firms have resorted to work analysis reports to gather vital information required to make vital human resource management decisions. Specifically, technological advancements have altered the nature and structure of traditional jobs by placing customers at the centre of all transactions. Evidently, London-based hotels still practice some sort of work analysis in their recruitment and selection processes. However, it would appear as though most of these businesses have failed to acknowledge the role of information technology in human resource management, thereby making their job descriptions more or less stagnant. Alternatively, these companies may have failed to conduct exhaustive work analysis projects to align their hiring practices with their organizational goals and the changing business environment. Chan and Kuok (2011) note that given the significant time and costs implications involved in conducting thorough work analyses, most managers consider such projects to be unfit for part-time and temporary jobs, which are characteristic of the hotel industry.

The present research aims at investigating the causes, repercussions, and possible solutions to the poor recruitment practices in London’s hotel industry. Specifically, the purpose of this paper is to analyse the individual and organizational factors that compel firms to adopt such practices despite managers’ knowledge of the consequences. Further, this study will attempt to describe the relationship between recruitment practices, staff outcomes, and organizational performance.

Research Questions

  1. What are the underlying factors behind the poor recruitment practices adopted by hotels in London?
  2. What are the actual and potential consequences of these practices?
  3. What solutions can be used to remedy the situation?

Justification and Contextualization

The hospitality industry in the U.K. is the third largest employer in the private sector with over 3.2 million workers. However, according to the Deputy Staff Retention Report of 2018, the industry may be headed for a catastrophic human resource shortage of over 1 million employees over the next ten years due to problems with staff retention. Notably, the entire sector is characterized by meagre wages and employee benefits, lack of development and training, unsociable working hours, inadequate government protections, and the massive immigration of workers from the European Union due to Brexit fears (Muller-Heyndyk, 2018). These factors have worked together to reduce employee’s availability while simultaneously increasing costs for employers. With a retention rate of 70 percent, the U.K. hospitality industry falls below the national average of 85 percent. These figures provide sufficient justification for the need for research into the recruitment practices of most hotels operating in the region.

Competent and dedicated employees form the backbone of every organization, irrespective of the industry in which it operates. Commitment and competence, in turn, are directly related to the efficacy of the existing human resource management practices, which vary widely depending on a firm’s nature and culture. Notably, human resource management is not a one-off activity, nor is it a set of distinctive practices. Rather, it entails the entire process from developing, initiating, and assessing programs, policies, and procedures that relate to the conduct of the people within an organization (Nieves, Quintana, & Osorio, 2014). Moreover, human resource management practices include the activities, policies, procedures, and systems that are used to monitor, shape, and direct employees’ attention. As such, these activities entail five core domains, namely, organizational staffing, planning, developing rewards, and appraisal. Therefore, this study will provide a framework for understanding the discernible faults in the staffing practices of London-based hotels as well as their effects on overall corporate bottom lines.

It is vital for every manager or leader to find the best fit of human capital practices for drawing, absorbing, maintaining, and developing top talent. The hotel industry suffers from adverse perceptions concerning its human resource practices, most of which are centred around issues such as cultural adaptation, career development, long working hours, irregular shifts in work, work load, safety, and conflict resolution. Despite the availability of overwhelming evidence supporting the present-day’s skill shortage in the labour market and pervasive attitude changes among both workers and customers, London’s hotel industry seems to remain unresponsive. Seemingly, managers have stuck to the outdated recruitment practices instead of forging new and stronger staff recruitment and retention techniques. This phenomenon presents a Pandora’s Box for the management. A solution needs to be found, but that goal cannot be achieved without understanding the precise causes of the problem.

Existing literature backs to common view that recruitment practices form the first point of contact between employers and employees, and may even determine the success or failure of workplace relationships (Nieves, Quintana, & Osorio, 2014). This study does not seek to challenge that widely accepted notion. Rather, it seeks to explicate the rationale behind the adoption of undoubtedly detrimental human resource practices in London’s increasingly competitive hotel industry. Despite the use of seemingly unsound employment tactics, hotels in London continue to thrive, contrary to expectations. Therefore, this research will provide the lacking or insufficient information concerning the causal relationship between poor recruitment practices and organizational performance. Moreover, it will aim at providing useful insights into the association between managerial attitudes and employees’ job satisfaction and loyalty. Finally, this study will add to the existing body of knowledge concerning the importance of human resource management practices on staff retention.

Literature Review

In London hospitality is considered as one of the fastest growing sectors offering a variety of employment opportunities to the people since it is labour intensive. The industry has growth in terms of strength such that it is able to withstand economic down turn making it a pillar to London’s economic growth.  It is the fourth largest economic sector in London offering close to 10% of jobs in the country.  Despite its tremendous growth, it has maintained a negative image due to low wages, high turnover and limited opportunity for career development. The industry is fast paced and requires labour flexibility for it to adjust to new challenges and changes in consumer tastes and preferences. In addition, the industry is tested by employment issues due to its nature (Bakar & Ahmad, 2010). However, it attracts workers especially the unskilled and part-time making it possible to offer numerous employment opportunities. Recent literature on recruitment practices have focused on the bad and the ugly side of the sector and unfortunately, the bad side outweighs the good one.

It is worth noting that due to the industry characteristics and trends, the shape of employment of in London hotels has attracted all forms of potential employees and most of them are those that the industry requires. The industry mostly consists of food and accommodation that are found on hotels, licensed clubs, bars, food stands, cafes, restaurants and take-away food stores. It is one of the most diverse sectors but it is dependent on human capital. An establishment’s size is a key determinant of the influent in human resource management. There are large hotels with hundreds of employees while small hotels employ less than 10 workers (Evans et al., 2007). Small hotels are more than larges hotels probably due to entry barriers that include high capital requirements and skilled labour that are required when setting up an establishment. Dominance of small hotels in London automatically causes inevitable challenges including lack of career path for employees and informal employment approaches that is characterized by poor recruitment and retention, lack of training and lack of performance appraisal.  Nevertheless, informal employment in small hotels does not necessarily translate to negative employment practices only that it is different compared to formal employment in large hotels. Although small hotels dominate the industry, a large proportion of employees work in large establishments. Chan and Kuok (2011) note that there are good approaches that are applied in informal approaches that can be duplicated by large hotel in relation to staff recruitment and retention.  A major growth in London hotels in the past decade was realized in small hotels that employ 10 people or less. Typically, employment relationship in hotels is mainly between workers, employers and the customers whereby customers have a direct impact on how people work therefore having an implication on employment laws.

The current era is characterized by changes in political, social and economic environment that have an impact on the hotel industry. In addition, hotels are competing for success in the global arena through service and product differentiation for a sustainable competitive advantage. Due to such competition, businesses have shifted their focus from dependency on tangible resources such as land and capital to intangible resources that include skill and competencies offered by employees as a way of attaining a competitive advantage. Sustainability is human resource is crucial to an organization since they cannot be emulated. The hotel industry is particularly dependent on human capital for service delivery and operations (Lin & Wu, 2014). Compared to other London based industries, travel and tourism has seen a tremendous growth in the past few decades. According to The World Travel and Tourism Council the industry offers 1 in every 10 employment opportunities across the globe. As a result, management of human resources is the heart for success of firms in the sector.

The hotel sector particularly in London has distinct features that distinguish it from other business including seasonality, shortage of skills, high employees turn over, low salaries and wages, high number of unskilled and part time workers, poor management and highly affected by changes in the country’s economy. These short-coming offer a basis for research on poor recruitment practices in London Hotels. In this paper, recruitment will be defined as the process involving obtaining and retention of skilled and qualified workers who are selected according to a company’s practices and policies. Selection and recruitment is mainly conducted by the human resource department that is keen on the effected that potential employees will have on the firm management decisions and organization practices. Focusing on London recruitment practices, most hotels seem to be quite reluctant in making changes to their hiring processes (Evans et al., 2007). The city’s hotel industry is characterised by poor working conditions, long working hours, low pay, and job insecurity. The success of London hotels can only be realized if they are able to attract, identify and retain skilled and talented workers. However, due to scarcity of people with such characteristics, proper recruitment is a major strategic decision for most hotels.

Looking at London, the number of hotels of adhering to Human Resource Principles is increasing, however, there is a number of companies using the old-fashioned styles as far as selection and recruitment is concerned. As a matter of fact, most hotels seem to be using similar characteristics. For instance, most companies hire through external agencies, employee referral and press advertisement. Focusing on the recent development in selection and hiring, London hotels are also using e-methods including social media and the internet. However, some firms are still lagging behind due to size and limited technology use. Compared to other London Based industries, hotel seems to be under developed and there is little literature available by past researchers.

According to Human Resource theory, HR practices particularly in hospitality sector is affected by size, ownership, age and organizational structure. Consequently, it is quite difficult for hotels to attract and retain the best employees. This is a major concern for London hotels since they are unable to attract and retain innovative and talented individuals. As the use of old-fashioned HRM practices, hotels hiring and retaining reliable and highly skilled workers is not easy. Available research shows that hotels with a high star rating are more likely to possess written and formal HRM policy that includes their selection and recruitment guidelines, as well (Fishbeing & Ajzen, 2011).

Employment in London hotels is also characterized by lack of career path and poor management. Workers are subjected to long working hours an imbalance in personal and work life making it non-conducive to people with families especially the mothers. These factors lead to high employee turnover due to poor retention of workers. Although hospitality is among the top industries in London with the highest number of employment opportunities, it is still considered as they the lowest paying sector. While workers in other sectors are paid an average of 518 pounds per week, those working in hotels pocket at most 316 pounds weekly. The industry is dominated by low pay and in 1940’s it was Trades board. Since the implementation of minimum wage in UK 15 years ago, some hotels are continually paying their workers below the approved rate (Pantelidis & Wrobel, 2008). However, some managers argue that they offer such low salaries because some workers are unskilled. Sadly, the industry in London mainly attracts women, migrant workers and the youth. The UK tacked low pay by introducing a Living wage that persuades employers to offer hourly pay so that full time employees can receive higher income above the national average. Living Pay varies depending on the country based on standards of living in particular state. Therefore, it is higher in London and is expected to rise in 2020.

Owing to the diversity and features of the sector, there is a variety of employment opportunities ranging from unskilled to highly skilled managers. A larger number of staff is mainly unskilled or semi-skilled. Past research shows that poor recruitment practices in London hotels are fuelled managers who value generic skills including willingness to learn, flexibility, adaptive nature, ability to follow instructions and capacity to follow instructions. However, recently, managers are looking for additional skills and experiences making them have difficulties when hiring.  Human resource managers have identified some skills that make recruitment difficult (Wills et al., 2009). For instance, interpersonal skills including communication, team work, customer service, leadership and management are difficult to determine during the hiring process. Customer handling skills are a concern for the industry’s future followed by leadership and management since it is a service industry.

The hotel sector in London is also known poor training techniques. Employer spend a worry some amount of money for trainings due to the unending cycle of employees placements but do not reap the benefits due to high turnover rates and lack of staff retention programs. In most cases, employees do not stay in the organization for long enough to gain proficiency in their areas of duty. Employers are therefore reluctant to offer more trainings for employees beyond the induction phase since they do not reap benefits from employees who resign after working for short periods. Problems in recruitment in London hotels have been studied by a large number of researchers who not only explore the country but the whole UK large. Managers are constantly faced recruitment challenges as they struggle to find the right candidates especially those that are trained for specific kitchen needs. Consequently, this might have accelerated the problem of long working hours and low payment.  Generally, lack of proper recruitment methods has been observed in London hotel. Selection and hiring problem in London hotels has also been explored by researchers who suggests the need for undertaking an active policy for recruitment. In contrast, recruitment and selection methods are not wholly utilized. Muller-Heyndyk (2018) has highlighted a lack of systematic procedures for recruitment in the particularly in small hotels. Wills et al. (2009) further blamed poor selection and recruitment as the main cause of turnover in the industry.

Of late, the larger hotels are also known for exploiting the workers especially subordinate staff involved in housekeeping. The hotels do not accept responsibility for improper treatment of such employees since in most cases their services are outsourced. To that effect they blame the workers’ mother company. Although big hotels deny responsibility, they still appear in news headlines and in magazine articles for the unfavourable working conditions that they provide to employees therefore tarnishing their image. London hotel’s reliance on outsourced services has been increasing from decade to decade with the attempt of cost reduction (May et al., 2007). According to the hotel managers, vendors are highly specialized in specific areas thereby reducing the distractions of having to manage a large number of employees. It however becomes trouble when hotels lose control of the areas that backbone of the company. In some hotels, managers prefer hiring the disadvantaged groups at a low pay since they will be more stable in even when receiving relatively low wages. For instance casual employees, the youth, women, immigrant and part-time workers have a low bargaining power that drives them to working in the industry. In addition, the skills required for workers in the hospitality industry are undervalued, consequently contributing to depressing pay checks.

Methodology

This study will be mainly qualitative in nature. It will be based on a review of existing secondary data from reputable sources, such peer-reviewed journal articles and news publications, among others. The reason for the choice of secondary over primary data is that such information is quickly obtainable, economical, and time-saving. Further, such data helps to improve the understanding of a problem since it is usually based on well-researched, expert findings (Mihas, 2019). To ensure the appropriateness of this data, all articles will be evaluated for availability, relevance, accuracy, and sufficiency. Moreover, limited primary data will also be collected using a survey of a selected sample of hotels in London. Specifically, a survey of workers and managers working in London-based hotels will be conducted to ascertain the existing recruitment practices as well as the reasons behind those processes. The survey will also be used to determine the nature of the relationship between employees’ and managers’, their attitudes, and the effect on corporate outcomes.

For the purposes of this survey, purposive or judgement sampling will be the most suitable method of selecting respondents. As such, eligible hotels will be selected based on several factors. All firms should have at least one branch in London, should have more than thirty employees with ordinary job descriptions, and should have advertised for various positions and hired new workers in the past two years. The preferred sample will be comprised of 20 mid-sized hotels with an annual turnover of more than one million U.S. dollars. Data analysis will be conducted using grounded theory. According to Mihas (2019), grounded theory helps to discover business problems as well as how different parties address the issues. The repetitive process of formulating, testing, and reformulating prepositions helps researchers to develop a theory that is grounded in the data. Similarly, the present study will seek to determine the underlying rationale in the majority of recruitment-related managerial decisions in London-based hotels.

The research questions for this study focus on matters than cannot be quantified. According to Mihas (2019), qualitative studies can provide unmatched insights into topics concerning human behaviour, personality traits, and emotions. Given that this study aims at investigating people’s behaviours, routines, desires, expectations, and needs, a qualitative study is the best study design. Further, this method will allow for adequate flexibility during the study, which will allow the researcher to respond to respondents’ data as it emerges. Rather than conducting statistical analysis, this method will facilitate trend identification to support the hypothesis. However, this tactic still presents a challenge because the data cannot be analyzed statistically, which leaves the probability for bias and misinterpretation. In addition, the inability to effectively automate qualitative data collection makes it an expensive and time-consuming activity, especially when gathering large amounts of data.

During the research period the study utilized a qualitative research design. According to Lapan, Quartaroli, and Riemer (2012), qualitative research in social sciences aims at collecting and analysing non-numerical data to derive meaning from such information. This design is different from quantitative research, which concentrates on numerical data and statistical analysis to identify trends as well as correlative and causal relationships. Qualitative research may take different forms, including interviews, case studies, cultural texts, personal experiences, and observational or historical texts. It is primarily intended to determine how or why particular phenomena occur as opposed to their frequency. Typically, qualitative techniques employ methods and concepts from diverse disciplines or academic fields. Mihas (2019) notes that such studies are ideal for documenting the mechanisms and reasons behind many human experiences, such as making decisions on certain issues. Statisticians assert that these methods are appropriate for generating valid explanations of the case under investigation only, while any subsequent generalizations beyond the context of the specific study are believed to be tentative propositions at best. A qualitative approach was believed to be best suited for the present study due to its inclination toward determining human behavior and decision-making processes and rationale. Specifically, this study aimed at determining the recruitment practices in London’s hospitality industry as well as their effects on various organizational metrics, such customer satisfaction and retention, employee performance and morale, as well as corporate bottom lines, among others.

As opposed to quantitative studies, which seek out mathematical justification or evidence to develop statistical hypotheses for future research, qualitative researchers often aim at understanding situations or phenomena by exploring their totality with large amounts of data in non-numerical form. Typically, researchers may start with grounded theory given the lack of prior knowledge on a phenomenon or they may start with general statements and proceed with empirical and scientific approaches during the investigation (Lapan, Quartaroli, & Riemer, 2012). There are numerous potential data generation process in qualitative studies, including grounded theory, transcript poetry, classical ethnography, storytelling, focus groups, case studies, state or governmental studies, participant observation, and interviews, among others.

The present study utilized a combination of various qualitative data collection techniques to ensure the validity and reliability of the information. Firstly, the study made use of semi-structured interviews to collect data from company representatives, workers, and managers. Here, judgment or purposeful sampling was used to select 20 mid-sized hotels operating within London based on particular key variables. Firstly, qualifying hotels that could be included in this survey had to have at least one major branch with over 30 workers in ordinary job descriptions operating in London. Secondly, the hotels should have advertised to fill various vacant positions and recruited new employees at least once in the past two years. Thirdly, suitable organizations that were considered for the study were those that recorded annual turnover of more than one million U.S. dollars in audited financial statements available in the public domain. This survey is intended to gather first-hand information from hotel management and workers concerning the rationale and effects of their hiring practices.

Further, the study used a review of existing literature obtained from reputable sources, such as newspapers and peer-reviewed journal articles, among others. Lapan, Quartaroli, and Riemer (2012) define literature review as the critical analysis of available knowledge on a particular topic, specifically concerning areas such as theories, research findings, critiques, and methodologies to identify differences and similarities in past scholarly efforts and present efforts. This approach enables researchers to gain deep understanding of the subject matter as well as facilitating the assessment of diverse cognitive levels. This analysis also enables the development of a conceptual framework for project planning or research by providing insights into previous findings on a specific topic. Mihas (2019) argues that a literature review is vital for identifying the current state of study on a particular topic, experts and their opinions and findings on the subject under investigation, methodologies used, and opportunities for future research. As such, conducting a review of literature during the present study enabled the identification of past findings on the general hiring practices in the hospitality industry, the fundamental determining factors, as well as their effects. These insights were then used to develop a grounded theory through which data was analyzed.

Data analysis was based on the development of grounded theory. Khan (2014) defines grounded theory as the systematic methodology that entails the development of hypotheses through methodical collection and analysis of qualitative data. Studies based on grounded theory typically start with either an open-ended question or the gathering of data, which is then reviewed to identify repeated ideas, elements, and concepts that are used to formulate a new theory. According to Mihas (2019), using grounded theory is the best way of identifying social or business problems because the repetitive procedure of formulating, testing, and reformulating hypotheses contributes to the development of a theory that is grounded in the data.

This qualitative research design is appropriate because the study focuses on issues of human behavior and decision-making. As such, the collected data will be used to determine how organizational hiring practices impact on employee and customer outcomes as well as company metrics, such as profitability and competitiveness. This design has several notable advantages. Besides facilitating the identification of changing opinions and attitudes within the study population, qualitative research is also not bound by the confines of quantitative studies (Khan, 2014). Specifically, qualitative data can reveal information that numbers alone cannot show. It is also flexible, leaves room for researchers’ speculation, and can be more targeted. Nevertheless, qualitative research creates issues related to sample size and self-selection bias.

Access and Ethics

Conflicting values and ethical issues are crucial in literature research regarding poor recruitment practices in London Hotels. Due to lack of clarity in ethical standards, the research must develop awareness on the issues and come up with an effective legal framework for solving the problems in relation to human rights. Ethical and legal considerations are important for coming to terms with individual rights and the interests of the industry. The research will seek guidelines from business laws, professional codes, ethics committee and regulation for offering guidelines on how it will be conducted with respect to moral codes. It is possible that criticisms and uncertainties will arise but the research will ensure that it obtains informed consent. People will be made aware of the possible risks and benefits so that they can take part voluntarily. Moreover, the issue of confidentiality will be stressed as important sine all information collected should be kept as secret apart from cases that require reporting in courts or those that are important for society interests.

Limitations

The present research entails the identification of the human and organizational factors that lead to the widespread adoption of poor recruitment practices in London-based hotels. The study’s scope presents a limitation in that most hotels operating in London are multinational firms with multiple branches and offices across the world. Most of them are not headquartered in London. This means that the majority of management decisions are made by people based in locations other than London. As such, it is possible that the adoption of poor recruitment factors is a result of factors that are not unique to London-based hotels. Additionally, the choice of research design leaves room for subjectivity since respondents’ feedback cannot be submitted to any form of statistical assessment to verify their accuracy or veracity. Qualitative studies are pricy and time-consuming activities. As such, the sample size may not be big enough to provide fully representative findings. Finally, the study will be limited by firms’ willingness to provide information concerning their internal practices. Specifically, the issue being investigated is sensitive in nature, and some managers may be unwilling to disclose such heavily-guarded secrets.

Results and Findings

The hotel industry in London is associated with different organization taking part in the diverse sector. It hosts managers in various departments and the most crucial part is recruitment. In London, hotels constitute a principal income source which is the reason the country considers it as a crucial part of the global market. This is achieved by exploiting human capital which is an important asset for attaining a competitive advantage. Human resource management is therefore a key part of this dissertation.

For this research, poor recruitment practices in London hotels are the main topic for discussion.  Our case examines the processes that managers use in acquiring the right employees and the problems workers face while working in London hotels. The information was gathered from questionnaire interviews and surveys based on hotel reviews and annual to represent people and workers views on recruitment practices in hotels and their attitude towards hotel employment culture. It was noted that in some cases, managers prefer filling in vacant positions from inside the organization while in some cases labour is sourced from outside sources. In most cases, London hotels prefer internal recruitment although they have an open external recruitment strategy.

According to the hotel reports, managers allocate vacant slots to the current employees based on the job description and the candidates’ qualifications. Employees are allocated into positions where they are successful a move that is determined by the individual’s department and how they match with it. Staffing current employees is based on their experience is preferred because it ensures hiring quality as well as, cost reduction in all hotel units. Another notable point is that advertisement of vacant positions plays a major role in a hotel’s recruitment needs. Consequently, relatively cheaper technologies such as the social media and internet are used. This attracts a huge number of applicants from various localities and education background that come with different demands. The newly hired staff are required to work without making comparisons of their pay and that of workers in other departments.

As earlier mentioned, there is high competition in the hotel industry that has led to more demands on the workforce. Hotels are therefore coming up with methods of keeping up with the competition and reducing costs. Some London hotels rely on employment agencies which others use temporary staff that are paid on hourly basis. By using recruitment agencies, hotels are able to hire and fire with minimal costs. Employment agencies are have a high concentration of employees making recruitment highly unpredictable, short-term and unstable to employees especially in hotels (May et al., 2007). In London hotels, the workforce derived from employment bureaus is involved in the day to day running of the business while development, training, worker protection and recognition is the hotel’s responsibility. In addition, more permanent positions are hired by hotels human resource managers.

Zero-hour contracts are also common in London hotels whereby there are no guaranteed working hours and workers depend on calls whenever their services are required. Currently, about 11% of the UK hotels workforce depends on zero-hour contracts. While the hotels reap benefits from zero-hour arrangements in terms of cost reduction, workers are burdened because their monthly pay is unstable (Tangthong, Trimetsoontorn, & Rojniruntikul, 2014). Employers boast that such arrangements offer them temporary employment opportunities.

Many hotels in London experience high turnover rates or having a huge a number of employees more than the organization is able to contain. Such issues are caused by lack of proper ways for human resource managers to fulfil organizational needs. Currently, many hotels are restricted to traditional employment practices as opposed to modern ways.

Another key issue identified is that managers are unable to come up with a clear job description that covers organizational requirements. To this regard, employers need to incorporate every aspect of the company in way that it is able to deliver better services. There are no pro-active policies for governing employees yet hotel industry is an international sector that faces stiff market competition. Moreover, employer poor in dealing with different employment laws and regulations that are unique depending on the country. Managers have shown inability to form diverse relationship with employees from different backgrounds. Policies for governing workers issues such as sexual harassment and other problems that they face in their line of duty are also lacking which means that employees have poor working conditions with minimal protection (Wills et al., 2009). In addition, induction and training of new employees is poor. Managers fail to notice that employees are a major asset of the organization and they should be strategically managed.

From the questionnaires, the study found out that employees are aware of their rights concerning the minimum wage rate, holiday pay, training and working hours. However, there is lack of awareness on leave days and breaks. Workers claimed to have got an insight to their rights from employment contract letters, company bulleting, workers unions, and word of mouth from colleagues, friends and relative. For the young people, such information is derived from class whereby they are taught about their rights in their respective courses. Non-residents especially those that are highly educated showed a high degree of knowledge since they are exposed to a wide range of resources that explain about their rights to employment in different countries.

Regarding whether employees knew the routes for making their complaints, some individuals showed limited knowledge on how to go about it. However, there are those that are fully aware of the complaints routes but they are not ready to channel their grievances due to fear of losing their jobs. In big a hotel that is the five stars and the four stars, managers provide workers with information regarding complaints routes. Although employees have quite a high number of grievances, it was identified that they prefer channelling them to the unions for fear of dealing with the managers (Tangthong, Trimetsoontorn, & Rojniruntikul, 2014). In most cases, it was noted that the complaints were not well received therefore the workers tend to accept the oppression.

Workers are also aware of the existing non-compliance laws whereby since employment rights is a common scenario in the hotel industry. Workers responses pointed out issues related to working hours and low pay. Some complained of unpaid overtime and violation of their rights regarding honouring employment contracts. Although most workers were a bit hesitant on complaining about their employers, it was crystal clear that they were not comfortable. On the issues of unpaid overtime, a number of workers claimed that there were variations between the time recorded in their diaries and those noted down by managers. Such variations were mainly common in night shifts.

Analysis

Thematic analysis was used to analyse the findings. This is the kind of analysis for identification, analysis and reporting of patterns in the collected data. The data is explained in details and ensuring that it is highly detailed. It goes further to describe and interpret the different aspects of the research topic. For this study, we shall analyse external and internal recruitment, seasonality and employee rights.

Internal and external recruitment

From the literature review, it was possible to understand the reasons behind internal recruitment in London hotels. Notably, international hotels in London attract a high number of applicants for vacant positions while some responses are international. According to the managers, there are higher chances for internal employees to get the chances since they are considered as part of the organization. The employees are already aware of the hotel culture and have received internal training therefore they are more convenient for the career opportunities. In addition, staffing difficulties are rampant especially in cases whether the quality of the applicants is poor. In addition, managers claim to face challenges in recruiting candidates that match job requirements. Hotels also add that traditional advertising methods including magazines, radios and newspapers are quite expensive that is why for external employment, they prefer outsources that services of recruitment agencies.

Employee rights

The first move for this research was to identify whether workers and employers were aware of employees’ rights. The managers interviewed provided quite a similar response for the section. According the managers, a detailed job description is offered in which the requirements are clear and concise. Consequently, candidates are aware of what they are getting into and how evaluation will be conducted.  The duties and tasks are outlined; therefore, it is used as the basis for interviews and performance evaluation. However, employees claim that although such is the case, managers do not normally honour their promises and they are forced to work on a totally different environment from what they expected.

Seasonality

From the research finding, hiring in hotels is dependent on the number of guests due to seasonal variations in the industry. Therefore, duties are assigned based on demand, this is why some hotels prefer temporary and on-call employment arrangements. The purpose of this question was to find out why there is a high turnover in London hotels.

Discussion

The need for acquiring and retaining the right employees is important for every organization to meet the set strategic goals. The information for this research was gathered from hotel surveys, reports and interviewing human resource managers and employees. The information was meant to represent human resource and workers views and attitudes towards employment practices in London-based hotels. It was noted that in some cases an organization may choose internal recruitment while, other times, external recruitment is preferred. Despite the method chosen, an open recruitment strategy is preferred. Additionally, positions are allocated based on employee experience and references to reduce costs and improve hiring quality.

The recruitment practices of hotels in London have a significant effect on employee outcomes. Firstly, this research shows a significant effect of human resource management practices on job satisfaction. Specifically, the level of compensation and perceived job security influence employee retention rates in London’s hospitality industry. Hotels with high reward systems tend to retain their workers for longer due to the high degree of job satisfaction among employees. Also, the working environment also determines employee turnover rates in most hotels. Secondly, the promotion mechanisms also impact heavily on employee outcomes. Most London-based hotels use promotion as a reward and incentive scheme to align organizational objectives with personal goals, which further enhances job satisfaction and promotes creativity, innovation, and commitment.

Hotels in London also have differing performance evaluation mechanisms. The existence of effective appraisal techniques in some hotels is positively correlated to job satisfaction, which, ultimately, impacts on organizational bottom lines. Firms that provide opportunities for career development and personal goals recorded higher revenues, although other factors may have played a role. Notably, the perceived equitability of a performance appraisal system as well as its degree of employee participation increased its acceptability among the workforce, which increased performance, organizational citizenship, commitment, and job satisfaction. The existence of employee referral programs in some hotels also showed varying degrees of employee performance. The significant behavioural dissimilarities between referred and non-referred workers also influenced their productivity and organizational commitment. Finally, there is a significant influence of host communities on hotels’ hiring practices. The activities of workers’ unions, for instance, exert pressure on organizations beyond their typical recruitment procedures, thereby determining firms’ decision-making capabilities in issues such as job termination, duty allocation, and employee engagement.

Conclusion

Defined as the entire process from finding to hiring the best candidate for a vacant job position, recruitment practices are important that require attention especially in London based hotels. Although managers are aware of the harmful effects of high turnover rates, hotel in London are still practicing employment policies. Success of a company is dependent on its ability to hire and retain talented and innovative human resources. Available literature shows that London hotels have failed to acknowledge the importance of information technology in human resource management. The companies are not keen on analyzing their work projects to align with their recruitment practices. Although hospitality industry is the third largest in U.K with over 3.2 million workers, it is predicted that it may suffer 1 million staff shortage in the coming years due to poor staff retention. Particularly, employees are subjected to long working hours with no benefits, lack of training, massive workers immigration from the European Union and inadequate government protection. This research will review existing literature including peer-reviewed articles and news publications alongside sampling respondents from eligible hotels. The research seeks to understand the factors behind poor recruitment, consequences of the practices and the solutions to remedy the problem. Ethical consideration including confidentiality and informed consent will be considered while legal implication will be sorted from the relevant bodies

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