With the 2021 tourism season almost here, businesses continue to search to fill open positions to meet the demand. In a strange twist, local companies are struggling to ramp up their business capacities for current demand but are hamstrung by not attracting applicants. What a difference one year can make.
The Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce is launching a two-phase campaign to address what business owners and island leaders have said is a hospitality workforce crisis stemming from the pandemic.
Officials with the chamber have launched WORK Galveston County in response to this problem, along with other organizations, such as the Galveston Restaurant Association, Galveston Hotel & Lodging Association, Galveston College and others.
Addressing the issue head-on and collectively is a good idea.
“Ultimately, right now, we are in crisis,” said Gina Spagnola, president and CEO of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We don’t want our restaurants to go dark because there are no servers. We don’t want it to affect the quality of restaurant customer service.
“When there aren’t enough employees, sometimes you can’t provide everything you’re known for,” she said. “And we’re worried about that.”
In various ways, everyone from workers to businesses are rebuilding their lives. Finding new ways to attract workers and business is simply a natural result of the impact of the pandemic. And making connections on both sides will require creative thinking and resourceful actions.
Part one focuses on a survey where businesses develop a list of what type of employees they seek, what incentives are available and the salary and benefits they are offering.
That will be followed by a May 11 roundtable discussion to review the survey results. From the data, the committee will then develop strategies to best address the challenges and opportunities.
The next step in the chamber’s plan will be to create an environment fostering long-term careers.
The landscape of the nation’s workforce changed dramatically in the past year. Prospective employees and businesses are racing to make sense of how to move forward.
Stepping back and evaluating how to address the issues hindering hiring is an important step. And coming together to the table will undoubtedly lead to a better roadmap and results for all.
• Leonard Woolsey