In the lead up to the festive season, and with eight new concepts to launch before February 2016, Sydney hospitality group Merivale needs more hands-on deck, and quickly.
Kate Tones, group HR manager at Merivale, spoke to Hospitality about what the group looks for in new recruits, and the opportunities the company can present to industry up-and-comers.
Describe the extent of Merivale’s current recruitment drive?
With over 1,000 new roles opening up in the next year, this is the largest scale and most exciting recruitment drive Merivale has embarked on to-date. We host multiple casting call days which are about opening the doors to give a ‘behind the scenes’ sneak peek at what it’s like to work for Merivale – as well as a chance to meet the team and hear about the experiences of those already in the business.
Which roles are most in demand?
We always offer our existing staff opportunities within the new venues, meaning we have a wide range of openings across the business for different roles and venues – some examples of roles are bar, floor and cellar staff, hosts and chefs as well as management.
How do you go about hiring new staff? Any companies/channels that are most effective for you?
Word of mouth and industry connections are absolutely essential – we rely on our existing team to spread the word about their Merivale experience, why they love working with us so they can ultimately attract other great people like them. We are also lucky to have lots of partners who help us to get the message out to find the best people – some examples are schools and training organisations and travel companies through to sporting clubs.
One of the latest openings by Merivale, whisky bar J&M
How important is industry experience? What else are you looking for from new hires?
No prior experience is required. At Merivale, our focus is on finding great people to join our tribe. Great for us means people who are passionate, energetic, driven and eager to learn. Experience is helpful but by no means essential. We are proud to have some of the industry’s best within our group who train our staff on how to make a cocktail or carry plates. For those with the passion and personality – we can provide the rest.
What professional development/training initiatives does Merivale have in place?
Training is a key focus for our business as we grow – allowing our valued staff every opportunity to extend their knowledge and skills means not only can they offer more for our guests but also that they are developing themselves.
We want each staff member to have every chance to be successful in their role, have the chance to progress their career with us and take away experiences that will help them beyond their time with Merivale. Some examples of our extensive training are:
- Necessary compliance related sessions like First Aid and Food Safety training
- Product specific Masterclasses, run by our key expert managers and suppliers across areas such as wine, spirits, cocktails, coffee, cigars
- Unique service and guest relations training
- Multiple leadership development and management programs
- Extra offerings like Bobbi Brown make-up training, just for fun.
Merivale's Coogee Pavilion
How confident are you that you will be able to fill the current vacancies in a timely manner?
It's not an option of ‘if’, but ‘how’ – the show must go on after all! There is such great buzz when it comes to opening a new venue and it is a hugely rewarding experience for everyone involved. Each week during this busy period, we are meeting with hundreds of people and employing on average over 100 new staff to the business, so we are very confident that all the roles will be filled with truly incredible people and they will each have the opportunity to enjoy thorough training.
Hospitality workers can be very transient. How do you try to retain staff members?
People are our number one asset – so focusing on taking care of them and offering things that really matter to them is key. Unique training is vital. We offer genuine career building opportunities, so that true hospitality professional don't have to move on from us. On the fun side, we also offer a supportive and social work environment, incredible staff discounts across the portfolio, and are notorious for our epic staff parties – thrown twice a year to reward our people.