Millennials are taking over the world – quite literally! Millennials will soon outsize the Baby Boom generation and will become the largest living generation. By 2030, the Millennial generation will have 78 million people whereas; the Boomer generation will only have 56 million people in the United States. However, ask any restaurant manager what their greatest challenge is, and the unanimous response will be hiring and retaining the millennial workforce! As the demands and expectations of millennials rise, and as they constantly search for something better and different, hiring and retaining millennials is challenging for any industry – especially in the restaurant industry where the annual turnover rate is a whopping 94% – much higher than any other industry.
So what can you, as a restaurant operations manager, do to hire and retain the best people from this lot?
Attrition is never good; not only does it affect your restaurant operations; but it is also costly when your most valuable people quit. Some of the main reasons why millennials quit their jobs are lack of opportunities, unsatisfactory compensation and benefits, mundane work, dull work environment and no recognition or appreciation. Since millennials are imperative to the success of your restaurant, understanding their needs and catering to them is vital. Here are 5 tips to hire and retain millennials:
- Offer flexibility: One of the first things you need to do to encourage and motivate Millennials to work for you is by offering flexibility in work hours. Millennials are always looking for flexibility and autonomy while pursuing job opportunities; they like to be in control of their own schedules, rather than be forced to adjust to a rigid schedule. Start by embedding flexibility into the core of your corporate culture and letting millennials set their own schedules. You can choose from a variety of scheduling software and offer an easy way to swap shifts or request schedule changes for a happier and more efficient workforce.
- Get smart: With millennials touching their smartphones 45 times a day, it becomes increasingly important for you to embrace and implement digital technology across your operation lifecycle: from using smart inventory management tools to digital training options, smart scheduling to quick ordering through tablets and smartphones. The millennial generation has no time or inclination to operate the traditional way and are more devoted to working smarter. Hence, implementing digital technology is critical to keep up with their pace and motivate them to do their jobs more efficiently.
In your hiring process as well, you need to engage with them through mobile devices – make it easy for them to find you while they are looking for a job and make it easier to apply for the job at a click of a button!
- Innovate your training: With 44% of millennials ready to leave a job because they didn’t have the skill development opportunities they wanted, using traditional methods of training can bore and demotivate them. If you want to cater to the technologically-savvy workforce, you need to make a dramatic shift from your conventional training methods and incorporate innovative techniques. Since training is no longer just about compliance or company-mandated policies, by using modern training programs such as micro-learning and AR-driven training, you can offer a multi-faceted learning experience that taps into millennial interests, appetites, and career goals.
- Create an appealing atmosphere: In order to alleviate the exhaustion and frustration of everyday work in the restaurant industry, you need to make your work environment interesting and appealing where millennials feel motivated to work and are appreciated for their contributions. Empower them by offering mentoring and professional development courses, give them opportunities to demonstrate their social responsibility, and encourage collaborative and creative efforts for improved morale and satisfaction.
- Make work fun: Millennials are always in search of something exciting, challenging and creative; therefore, in order to hire and retain them, you need to create a fun work environment to make every day more appealing, interesting and stimulating. Millennial attitudes are shaped through the several social media connections and by communicating with diverse people and cultures. Although these attitudes can be difficult to address, it’s important to understand that excitement and challenge is what drives them. So, make work a place where they can do their jobs while having fun, being creative and building relationships.
The Power of Now
With millennials making up nearly half of the US workforce, many restaurants are under the impression that millennials will shape the future of their business; the truth is, millennials aren’t the future, but the present. However, with millennials being more demanding and less inclined to follow conventional procedures, you need to develop innovative strategies for recruiting and hiring these seemingly hard-to-please workers. Since millennial turnover can impact your business profitability, making adjustments to your operations and bringing in technology is a great way to cater to their needs. In addition, offering flexible work hours, innovating your training methods, creating an appealing atmosphere and making work fun are equally important. Understanding millennials career aspirations and attitudes about work and doing what’s best to win their hearts, minds, and loyalty is what will define the success of your restaurant.