3 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Staffing

three_pillars

Recruiting is as much a marketing practice as strategies you use to bring in customers. Just as you promote your brand and emphasize the delights of dining at your establishment, you need to delight candidates in order for them to become a part of your team.

You are utilizing latest technology to engage your patrons before, during, and after their dining experience. You are utilizing mobile technology because you have recognized that it is the device of choice for a significant majority of them. You’ve invested in managing your brand and you use every resource to engage your patrons.

Studies have also shown that many brands’ patrons actually make the best employees.

Well, let’s consider a few thoughts:

  • Are your recruiting efforts keeping up with today’s best practices – including mobile?
  • Are you still using reactive ad postings, praying to get applicants?
  • Are you measuring the effectiveness of your job postings by monitoring the click-to-apply ratio? Is it in low single digits?
  • Are you using the complex HRIS systems designed for the corporate world, which usually require dedicated recruiting staff?
  • Is your recruitment compliance process heavy, putting applicants through a long arduous process just to submit an application?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it might be time to reconsider your recruitment strategies.

Staffing your restaurants with qualified staff relies on three major pillars. Weakness in any one adversely impacts your recruitment success.

Job Description

The job description is often the first impression most job seekers get about working at your establishment. Even if they are familiar with your brand, the job description is the first communication, which tells them what it’s like to work at your place.

We recommend taking this first impression opportunity to tell the candidate why it is great to be a part of your organization. Share with them how rewarding it can be, the flexible hours, opportunity to grow, learning about the wonderful culinary world, etc.

I have seen many job descriptions and many feel like what I call “a prison sentence” – several pages long, riddled with all of the harsh conditions of working at a restaurant. It is perfectly fine to have a job description with duties, which discloses the working conditions and the expectation as a part of the hiring process, but not the recruitment.

The job description should cover more of why a person should be a part of your team and how they can grow within your organization.

Get them excited to apply for your jobs.

Job Distribution

Job seekers have varying habits when it comes to searching for a job. They go to various job boards, Google, your own website, employer review sites, etc. to learn about your business and apply for your jobs. A study recently found that jobseekers often visit as many as 15 sites before they apply to a job.

Let’s not forget the location itself. A restaurant’s location is often the best marketing tool, invoking the following thought in the mind of the best passive applicant “… how wonderful it would be to work at this place.” Can a job seeker apply for a job at your location with their mobile device, with just a few clicks?

Is your recruitment marketing consistent across all these channels?

A comprehensive and optimized job distribution network is of the essence in getting your jobs in front of the right applicants. Your job descriptions need to be exciting, ever-present, optimized for search engines, and distributed to as many job boards as possible for the most exposure.

Applicant Engagement

Applicant engagement is the third pillar of successful staffing. It is critical for every organization to fully understand their entire application process. Consider the mindset of a job seeker looking for a near minimum wage job. Consider the fact that we are in a very competitive and tight labor market. Would you expect someone seeking a line cook position or a wait staff position to take 45 minutes to complete an application?

Ease of applicant engagement is directly correlated to the click-to-apply ratio. A recent study by ERE Media demonstrated that if the application process is less than 5 minutes, a click-to-apply ratio of 12.8% can be expected. However, if the application process exceeds 15 minutes, then the click-to-apply ratio drops below 4%. This is a significant decrease; couple that with the fact that it is generally the best applicants who abandon long application processes (because they have options) and you can see why this is important to you. 

Going through the entire application process from the viewpoint of an applicant enables you to observe the bottlenecks and points of friction. Consider the fact that every decision or click is an opportunity for the job seeker to abandon the application process altogether. 

Conclusion

Many organizations react to their recruitment when in crisis.  Implementing a comprehensive recruitment strategy enables you to have a very proactive recruiting process. A system covering the 3 Pillars with 24/7/365 recruitment provides a constant flow of great candidates, which provides options to truly elevate the quality of your team.

The idea of three pillars implies that the three practices must be employed for the success in staffing. It is essential to address all three simultaneously to achieve the best results. We consider each one the pillars a major topic and worthy of its own comprehensive coverage.

Please look for our upcoming blogs covering each one in more depth.

Are You Ready for the January Hiring Spike?

January Hiring Trends Blog

Hourly hiring is a seasonal game and the seasonal hiring trend does not end in December. January is a very important hiring month for hourly employers, as many seasonal workers are back on the market. Because of this, you need to develop a big presence in January to attract the best candidates for your jobs. Here are some tips to get you prepared for the new year hiring rush!

1. Post your jobs the first week of January. Many other employers will still be getting back into the work groove, playing catch-up with emails and voicemails. This will limit their time to post their open jobs. Posting yours before the rush can help you capture the best candidates.

2. Add seasonal SEO keywords to your job titles and descriptions. As discussed in our previous guide to Lean and Mean Job Descriptions, your job titles and descriptions are a vital piece in attracting quality candidates. Adding seasonal SEO keywords can help your jobs pop up first in January hiring searches. Our unique job distribution network allows your jobs to be posted to the most popular local job boards (think Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, Trovit, Neuvoo, and Juju.com), giving you the most exposure to capture quality, local candidates.

3. Adopt a one-click apply process. Job applications and old-fashion apply processes can take awhile to complete, deterring the best candidates from applying to your jobs. With our one-click apply process, applicants create one application on ZippyApp and simply hit Apply to submit it to your jobs. Applicants are also able scan your locations’ unique QR code and submit their application straight from their mobile device.

4. Simplify you Applicant Management System. How much time do your hiring managers take to sort through applications and candidate profiles? On average, studies have shown it takes about 30 minutes per application. Our simplified Applicant Management System allows hiring managers to filter, tag, and archive applications based on certain criteria, minimizing the time it takes to look for the information they want.

Are you an hourly employer with seasonal hiring tips to share? Leave your comments here!

9 Steps for Peaceful Holiday Scheduling

Holiday Scheduling Blog

For hourly employers, ­­it is definitely not the most wonderful time of year. On top of the added stresses of hiring seasonal employees, creating seasonal schedules provides more of a burden. To minimize the risk of dampened morale, unhappy employees, and even legality issues, it is imperative to develop preventative measures to minimize scheduling issues. Here are 9 steps for peaceful holiday scheduling.

  1. Plan early. As mentioned in our previous Blog, always plan and be prepared for what is ahead. Holidays will always be an upcoming challenge for you. So will summer and back-to-school months. When you hire on a candidate, ask them what days, times, and holidays they would be willing to work. This can later avoid accusations of unlawful time off requests for religious-based lawsuits (Federal law states that you must make a “reasonable effort to accommodate employees sincere religious beliefs,” which means you must try and accommodate their time off requests for religious holidays). Also, be upfront and clear with your employees. Set clear expectations of black out days where no one gets to request time off.
  2. Don’t assume everyone wants to take time off. For some, like students back home from school break, the holidays allow for extra shifts, which equates to extra money in their pockets. Don’t assume your single workers don’t want to take time off, or that those with families want more time off. Most employees know their holiday plans in advance, so ask your staff to submit their time-off requests a month (at least) in advance so you can schedule accordingly.
  3. Release schedules for busy weeks well in advance. Create and give your employees their schedules early to allow flexibility for schedule adjustments – like shift switches and covers.
  4. Make note of seniority statuses. To be fair and avoid issues of demoralization, consider who has been at your company the longest and ask them what holidays, if any, they would like off.
  5. Consider who Has worked or is scheduled to work other holidays. Another fair tactic is to prioritize workers who have worked certain holidays previously, or is set to work a holiday already this season. This gives you reason to explain why one worker is getting the time off they requested over another.
  6. Be direct with seasonal employees. Your seasonal staff is there for just that – to keep you prepared for the holiday rush. Be upfront in your seasonal job descriptions and the number of hours, days, and times they are expected to work (we talk about this in more detail in our Guide to Seasonal Hiring).
  7. Try not to schedule consecutive shifts or coinciding shifts to the same workers. Not everyone wants to work all closing shifts, and especially shifts that coincide, like closing late one night and opening bright and early the next day. This is a great tactic to keep in mind for decreasing your turnover and retaining loyal employees.
  8. Alleviate the strain and spread out shifts. Breaking up long holiday shifts into smaller shifts evens out the strain. Also, utilizing shorter shifts is a way to monitor busy and slow times. Overstaffing and top-loading certain shifts can decrease profits, and make for unhappy employees (splitting tips with more workers means less money in their pockets too). Be flexible if it does get busier than you expect (you can utilize our “On Call” feature for times like this!) Or if it is slower than you expected, cut people and let them go home early.
  9. Incentive those who do work those holiday shifts. Incentives are a great way to attract, retain, and keep your employees happy. We are in one of the tightest labor markets we have seen in decades, and incentives make your brand stand out from the rest. A common incentive many companies offer during the holidays is time-and-a-half pay to those who work extra holiday hours/ shifts, but be wary as that can become expensive very quickly. You can also offer gift cards, more time off during regular seasons, priority pick on the next schedule, or even a small bonus to employees who work unattractive holiday shifts.

Do you have any holiday scheduling tips to share? We would love to hear from you! Comment your thoughts below.

Guide to Hiring Seasonal Employees

Santa Helpers Swiping CC pic

Tis’ the season for holiday hiring! If you haven’t already started hiring your seasonal team, don’t panic. Other guides and Blogs will say you should’ve started way earlier in your holiday hiring, and to a certain extent they are right. But if we have learned one thing about hiring during this tight labor market, it is that you should be recruiting 24/7 for your hourly jobs – no matter what season it is.

The good news is a bright holiday season is on the horizon for the restaurant and retail industries, since sales figures are expected to grow and consumer’s wallets are starting to loosen. The retail industry is expected to add 755,000 temporary workers from October to November, which means it’s time for you to start hiring your seasonal employees! This guide will provide tips on how to recruit and hire during the holiday rush.

Where to look:

  • Your current part-time employees are a great first place to start looking. These workers are already loyal to your brand and are familiar with your products, which minimizes training time. Plus they are already on your payroll, which decreases onboarding time and necessary HR paperwork.
  • Past seasonal hires are another group that negates the need to train and onboard. These workers have proven their work ethic, which lessens the uncertainty of whether or not they may be a bad hire. 
  • Hiring someone who has past experience in the industry minimizes training time. These workers are ready to hit the ground running since they are already experienced and have been trained.
  • Hire year round and try not to wait for busy seasons to hire. Always be on the lookout for quality hires. As mentioned previously, we are in one of the tightest labor markets we have seen in decades, which means it is that much more difficult to maintain a steady flow of applicants. A great feature on ZippyApp is that we offer a separate section on your Hiring Page that shows your ‘Future’ job openings. This is a great way to capture passive applicants for future needs. Another feature to utilize is our ‘On Call’ feature, where applicants can select if they are available for last minute jobs/ shifts. Archive these applicants so you are ready when you need them.

If hiring based off of a new roster of candidates, there are certain attributes to be on the lookout for:
o Eagerness: A willingness to understand the job and products.
o Flexibility: Are able to work extended holiday hours and weekends.
o Fast Learner: Has demonstrated in past jobs they are quick to learn.

Mistakes to avoid:

Don’t hire a low-quality candidate just to fill a position. Anyone who works with your branding on their clothing is a representative of your company. Your customers will not forget poor service because it was given by a seasonal employee. It’s better in the long-run to leave positions unfilled than to hire an unfit or poor quality candidate (we will talk about the costs of a bad hire in an upcoming Blog, stay tuned!)

Don’t just assume your full-time regular staff will stick with you through the holidays. You have to be prepared if someone quits. Offering incentives like bonuses and/ or overtime pay to these workers can help keep them loyal through the season.

Look over your job descriptions and change them for seasonal employment, or create new seasonal openings. Your seasonal job descriptions are not the same as year-round ones. Oftentimes, seasonal workers wear many hats and need to be ready to take on and juggle a variety of tasks. By explaining this in the tasks and duties required of the job, you can reduce turnover. Be sure to add job categories and keywords related to seasonal work or temporary employment so your jobs appear during seasonal work employment searches.

If you are having trouble hiring seasonal employees, are behind in the game, or are experiencing general hiring issues – we can help! Our software is specifically designed for the hourly job market, with a core focus on the restaurant and retail industries. We provide one-stop advertising by distributing and posting your jobs to the most popular local job boards, casting a wider net for applicant flow. Learn more at: http://zippyapp.com/business.