Solutions For Tourism Companies To Overcome Human Resources Challenges In The Post-Covid Era

Solutions For Tourism Companies To Overcome Human Resources Challenges In The Post-Covid Era

July 27, 2022

As the tourism industry shows positive signs of recovery, firms encounter new obstacles regarding human resources. Tourism businesses must address these obstacles expeditiously to meet the increasingly growing demand.

1. Unsolved HR problems in the tourism industry

P.T (28 years old), an online fruit seller and former tour guide of a large company in District 5, shared: “Due to the Covid-19 and alternative work policies, I had to sell homegrown fruit to cover my living expenses. Then the second pandemic wave came and I had to continue this alternative work. The revenue increased as I gained more customers, allowing me to maintain a stable income. So I have decided to change my career as the job allows me to balance my life and work with more flexible working hours.

During the Covid pandemic, a significant number of people shared the same experience as P.T, especially in the tourism industry. According to World Bank statistics, the human resources of the tourism industry in Vietnam remain at a low level on the international scale. In particular, after 2 years of the pandemic, 80% of the workforce in this industry has resigned or switched occupations.

Tourism overcome human resources challenges post-covid

Human resources become a major challenge to tourism in Vietnam after reopening

This situation is the aftermath of the 2-year COVID-19 rampage, which impeded many government’s tourism development plans, leading to a significant reduction in the number of tourists. Businesses that invested in hotels, resorts, tourist attractions and so on, struggled and had to conduct employee layoffs. Some international travel agencies even cut 60-90% of their employees.

Moreover, in the Joblist’s recent U.S. Job Market Report surveying more than 13,000 employees, 58% of employees currently working in restaurants, bars, and hotels said they intend to quit, and a quarter of these employees plan to switch industries. The leading causes came from workers’ dissatisfaction with businesses’ responses and support during the pandemic, low payments, or insufficient benefits. Employees also tend to reconsider their priorities, seeking to achieve work-life balance. The number of workers looking for secure jobs with flexible working hours is on the rise, and they are willing to quit if business owners cannot meet their demands.

Therefore, as soon as Vietnam fully resumes tourism activities, human resources will be the greatest challenge in terms of quality and quantity. What would be the feasible solutions for tourism companies to fill the vacancies?

2. “2 focus” HR strategy – A savior for the “smoke-free” industry

According to Ms. Tieu Yen Trinh, CEO of Talentnet, tourism companies need to speed up the adoption of measures to meet the urgent workforce needs while maintaining a slow and steady strategy to ensure long-term sustainable HR development. It is vital that businesses identify key focuses in different stages to optimize their existing resources fully.

With many years of experience establishing HR strategies, HR development, and an in-depth understanding of the Vietnamese labor market, Ms. Trinh suggested two focuses for businesses to gain momentum.

2.1. Short run: Temporarily fill the HR vacancies

In the light of rapid tourism recovery, swiftly solving the labor shortage is the optimal way for businesses to catch up on this golden opportunity. Regarding internal resources, strong decisions on salaries, bonuses, and benefits will assist companies in luring back employees who have left the industry. In addition, HR needs to reach out to its alumni and even those who used to work for competitors.

In addition, outsourcing is also a practical solution to address this challenge promptly. Businesses may consider allocating more budget for HR outsourcing services to save recruitment time. HR consulting companies, such as Talentnet, have access to a large talent pool of diverse, high-quality candidates that can assist businesses in rapidly recruiting a large number of employees. Taking advantage of the employee loan program is another short-term method to help enterprises to overcome the crisis. More importantly, companies clearly define the role and suitable road map for this group.

2.2. Long run: HR development strategies

Following the implementation of short-term measures, companies will have to make long-term investments in finding and training potential candidates to increase their competitive edge. Business leaders must re-evaluate the recruitment situation and outline a human resource plan in the next 6 months to 1 year. This allows businesses to be fully prepared in case tourism continues to thrive or slows down due to the impacts of the post-Covid era. After clearly determining expectations about cost and profit, companies should build their workforce immediately, either by attracting existing high-quality employees or nurturing new talents.

New potential candidates often come from Universities, Colleges, and local resources. Companies can quickly enhance their connections with Job Centers to access this talent pool. After getting their attention, businesses need well-tailored training programs through practical and in-depth training courses for employees to meet job requirements as promptly as possible.

The workforce in tourism is in a “once bitten, twice shy” dilemma as they are uncertain about how long they can stay in the industry or whether they will quickly lose their jobs in another social distance period. Therefore, tourism companies must provide them with strong motivation or long-term vision; even if tourism comes to a standstill, a backup plan is always in place, and employees are never left unattended. By doing this, employees will always feel connected to the business and give it their all, regardless of how long they have been with the company.” said Ms. Trinh.

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