How to recruit in a context of labour shortage?

The tourism industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis and has been facing a labour shortage for several years. Travel agencies, restaurants, hotels, etc. are all struggling to recruit. Even if before the arrival of the health crisis, some stakeholders in the sector were already suffering from a lack of resources, the crisis has only amplified this shortage. According to a study carried out by Adecco Analytics, 70% of recruitments in the tourism industry are considered to be difficult. These difficulties have economic origins, of course, but they are above all linked to a radical change in the employees' behaviour. Their expectations have evolved: they are more in search of meaning and well-being in both their personal and professional lives. This search for meaning reflects the democratisation of teleworking that began with the pandemic and the growing awareness of societal issues.

To continue their activity, companies have had to reinvent the way they work and recruit. This is a new challenge for human resources departments that is associated with a revaluation of the function, which is too often considered by employees to be an administrative function.

Since the origins of FCM in Switzerland, corporate culture has been one of the levers of the quality of service and the future of the agency. In this new context, the staff with support and management positions have chosen to place greater focus on social and human relations. FCM has also fundamentally reviewed their recruitment processes by focussing on alternative recruitment methods rather than traditional ones.

In addition to traditional HR initiatives, FCM's management also examined the very notion of commitment to the company for each employee. The corporate culture, compensation and working atmosphere do not always weigh enough for young generations in search of meaning. The answer also lies in a return to fundamentals: the reaffirmation of the profession itself as a service company. Who are our clients, what are their goals, why do they need an agency, how do we help them and with what expertise?

This reaffirmation of our mission is all the more important in a context where travel agencies have never been so useful: a health crisis followed by a resource crisis within the sector leading to flight cancellations, overbooked hotels, lost luggage at the airport, questions from customers, stress from travellers...

It is with this double objective to provide meaning and positive working conditions, that we are starting the new school year, in order to recruit, retain and develop FCM employees.

How can recruitment difficulties be solved? What alternative solutions are human resources departments setting up to deal with the changes in employees' behaviour since the arrival of the covid crisis? FCM's HR team sheds some light on this hot topic. 

What is HR marketing?

Why is there a labour shortage? The answer is very complex. The ageing of the world's population, the increasing desire for a better quality of life and a higher demand for technology-related skills strongly contribute to the current shortage. While the shortage did not begin with the pandemic, it has certainly accelerated it greatly.

In this context and to continue attract candidates, human resources departments have little choice but to innovate in the recruitment process and find alternative solutions to more traditional procedures. Many of them are turning to human resources marketing (or HR marketing) to improve their company's image in order to attract new talent while retaining their current employees. How does it work? What can HR departments actually do?

Did you know?

Human resources marketing is about creating a positive experience for both candidates and current employees. It is closely linked to employer's branding and helps organisations not only in their recruitment efforts but also to increase employees retention and foster a strong corporate culture.

In practical terms, this means developing a unique brand positioning in the mind of potential candidates. HR marketing is closely linked to the general reputation of the company. Any action that contributes in the promotion of the latter must also serve the employer's brand (and vice versa).

Here are the 5 trends to adopt to overcome the labour shortage

Training the talents of tomorrow

As an essential recruitment tool to make up for the lack of resources, work-study programmes and internships have many advantages for a company today. Training an employee as a trainee or work-study student makes it easier for them to fit into the company and to acquire specific know-how. This makes it possible to train a junior employee in working methods, to teach them a job and to integrate them into the life and corporate culture of the company.

At FCM, we attach great importance to training and apprenticeship. One of our first innovations to make up for the lack of ressources was to set up a partnership with the EFHT school, the French hostess and tourism school in Paris, in order to train tomorrow's travel consultants" says Thibault Pulito, Recruitment Manager. 

While traditional training remains a very effective tool, today's employers can also use mentoring. This concept is based on supporting an individual in their professional development and learning. It is based on a support and exchange relationship; the creation of a duo between a senior employee who has a solid experience within the company and who wishes to share it and a junior employee who is willing to learn while being supervised and guided in their learning process. In addition to training the junior employee and helping them acquire professional skills, the objective is for the future employee to be able to fit the corporate culture perfectly. Interpersonal skills are almost more important than those of know-how.

FCM is particularly committed to mentoring. We have a mentor in each team to help new employees getting settled in their position and the company culture. Through mentoring, the aim is to accompany them more specifically so that they can quickly become part of the dynamics of their team and of FCM.

At FCM, corporate culture is very important to both our managers and our employees. We were pleasantly surprised to see how enthusiastic our employees are about being part of the new recruits' lives! - Caroline Noizet, Human Resources Director

Focus on Recruitment 2.0


In this context of labour shortage and recruitment difficulties, the business travel industry must reinforce its creativity to attract the best candidates. Transverse management, authenticity, originality, digital communication strategy... are new alternatives to be implemented. Gamification and simplification of the recruitment process save resources and time, and help to strengthen the employer's brand.

Today, companies are facing a series of transformations and quick changes due to increased competition. As a result, the skills gained by employees can quickly become obsolete without training support or a human resources policy dedicated to maintaining internal expertise.


According to the latest McKinsey study, 375 million workers worldwide may need to learn new skills and change jobs by 2030.


HR managers must find other pools of candidates, for example by reviewing their selection criteria and taking the time to meet candidates with unique backgrounds. This is a real change of paradigm. Rather than limiting to a strict "target profile", choosing an atypical profile can prove to be a very smart choice for an organisation looking for motivated candidates, diversified teams or pursuing to renew the profession. An atypical profile (qualified as such because of its contrast with the characteristics usually sought for a given position) can thus be differentiated by their education (level, type, place of learning), their previous work experience, their experience abroad or even through their passions, some of which are demanding or even professionally fulfilled (e.g. high-level sportsman, artist...). It is most and foremost the personality that will prevail on the resume. Saying it is good but doing it is even better. However, this new vision of human resources requires new evaluation criteria.

For these types of profiles, companies in the travel industry rely on two essential parameters : the ability to learn and the appropriation of the corporate culture.

Within FCM, we have had to find other recruitment levers to attract candidates, for example, by setting up a recruitment cocktail party which allows us to choose our future employees in a warm and friendly atmosphere, or once or twice a month, through collective recruitment sessions. The aim of these sessions is to strengthen the recruitment process by opening up to different, more atypical profiles, which do not necessarily come from the tourism sector.

According to Caroline Noizet, "atypical profiles should be increasingly valued because one of their many characteristics is their ability, acquired through professional and family experiences, to adapt to new situations.

Retaining employees


Employee retention and turnover is a major workforce management challenge for many organisations and HR professionals. Managing employee retention involves strategic actions to keep employees motivated and focused. A retention programme can play a key role in attracting and retaining employees, as well as reducing turnover and associated costs. All of these elements contribute to the overall productivity and performance of the business. Retaining an employee is more effective than recruiting, onboarding and training a new one.

Retention will necessarily involve a re-evaluation of work organisation, management and flexibility offered to employees, who have never been so "demanding". This is now a real HR argument in sectors under pressure where supply exceeds demand. It is not uncommon for candidates to choose the company that offers them the most flexibility to carry out their taks even if their salary is the same. Employees expect that companies attract and retain them with competitive advantages, such as flexible working hours, teleworking or sabbatical opportunities after a few years in the job.

It is a new way of looking at human resources that involves financial and human investment, but it is now a matter of continuing the activity of a good number of companies within the service sector.

According to the WorldatWork Association, 92% of managers believe that recognition has a moderate to high influence on improving employee retention.

At FCM, we take our employees' development perspectives to heart. We offer them a career development that can be both vertical and transversal; We offer the possibility of evolving within the same department or within a department that is different from the one they began their career with. 

Towards more flexibility


Recent economic changes have encouraged companies to adapt and create alternative ways of working. While healing from the deep scars of the health crisis, employers have avoided layoffs by adopting remote working conditions. Beyond the safety benefits, such as social distancing, remote workers enjoy flexible working conditions, freedom from commuting constraints and a more stable work-life balance. These benefits translate into improved business performance, productivity and a potential for savings on infrastructure and maintenance costs.

Offering flexible working options is an important key to fighting staff turnover. According to a survey by Enterprise Technology Research, 70% of the global workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month by 2025. Yet many business leaders are reluctant to offer remote or hybrid working options fearing that employees will be distracted and unproductive.

Companies need to be able to trust them enough to give them teleworking options and to rethink the way they look at remote employees. The focus should be the achievement of the objective or the accomplishment of an assignment rather than the time spent on the company's premises. In fact, it is common practice in companies promoting telework more than 3 days a week to encourage employees not to take any client appointments or external video conferences on the days they are in the office. The aim is to encourage team meetings, exchanges between colleagues and the development of a federative atmosphere.

At FCM, we offer our employees the possibility of working in our other offices, such as Barcelona, Bordeaux or Paris, if they feel the need. The opening of the Bordeaux office, for example, was in response to a strong demand from our employees in the Paris region who felt the need to work elsewhere in order to regain a personal balance. Thibault Pulito

Say yes to multi-skilling!


Multi-skilling could help solve the problems of labour shortages and staff retention. Several companies are already using it in the tourism industry and elsewhere, and most are benefiting from it.

The younger generation is looking for change and innovation. The search for meaning in the performance of their tasks is now omnipresent. Multi-skilling fits in perfectly with this perspective, as it offers more responsibility for employees. They feel more valued by being part of the organisation and by being involved at different levels.

For the company, multi-skilling allows to :

  • Optimise the use of human resources,
  • Value and motivate employees,
  • Obtain a greater commitment of employees to the company's values,
  • Manage working teams with greater flexibility,
  • Ensure greater productivity.

According to Thibault Pulito, it is natural for FCM to emphasise the versatility of our employees but also the quality of our service. We want to find people who identify with our project. This is an essential criterion and this is what candidates come to us for.

The future of human resource  in the tourism industry is not a new issue.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): "To improve the image of employment in the sector and to start a virtuous cycle of recruitment and retention, it is necessary to raise the skill level of staff so that they perform their tasks with greater ease, to value and reward professional skills and to support career progression. This increases the competitiveness of companies and destinations, and improves worker outcomes".

Innovation and creativity already define the younger generation. They are transforming workplaces at their image and making a major contribution to demystify the recruitment process. The increasing use of technology, changing behaviours and new communication channels are changing recruitment strategies. To perform in such an environment, existing organisations must constantly be on the lookout for these trends, innovate and be dynamic not only to develop market shares, but also to attract and retain a quality workforce. The continuity of the organisations' business is at stake.

Our aim is to ensure that we empower our people to achieve their careers, aspirations and ambitions. It is entirely possible to have a great career at FCM!  - Caroline Noizet