The hospitality industry is facing a hiring crisis as workers are choosing alternative career paths over restaurant back of house or front-line positions. Many are blaming unemployment benefits for the staffing shortage, however even before the pandemic, employees were leaving their positions to seek out employment in other industries. Now experts say they expect the staffing shortage to rebound this summer. Before you begin hiring employees, you need to understand what’s causing the shortage in staff and consider these key changes you should be making to attract and retain top talent.
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Why Hiring Employees is Difficult Right Now
Beyond unemployment benefits, there are several underlying factors contributing to the workforce shortage. Unfavorable hours, lack of flexibility, and company culture are driving employees to seek employment elsewhere. QSR magazine states, “…low wages and tips were, by far, the most popular reason for leaving the restaurant industry, more than 20 percentage points higher than the second most popular reason—COVID health risks. The vast majority (78 percent) of respondents said having a full, stable, livable wage would make them consider staying at their job.”
The restaurant and hospitality industry is facing a staffing overhaul, and significant changes need to be made if companies want to be able to compete in the labor market. Before you begin hiring employees, take a deeper look at your company culture and employee experience. These key objectives will help you and your team build in these areas, but don’t be afraid to have honest conversations with your stakeholders to see if these objectives line up with your staff’s needs.
Offer Competitive Wages
Many restaurant workers juggle multiple jobs to make ends meet. With many companies being short-staffed, juggling two schedules is becoming harder to do, driving more employees out the door. Adjust your wages to be competitive so your employees can realistically make a living.
Referral bonuses, employee discounts, and sign on bonuses for new hires are great incentives to add to your arsenal of employee benefits.
Evaluate Your Employee Benefits
Speaking of employee benefits, have you evaluated your employee offerings lately? Companies who leverage benefits such as tuition reimbursement and student-debt programs often see a higher retention rate. Employees want to know you care about them as individuals, and investing in their personal financial health is a great way to bring empathy into your company culture.
Pay solutions are becoming more popular as companies look for ways to help employees improve their finances. Employees greatly benefit from having access to wages as they earn them. According to DailyPay, companies who leverage this benefit see a 45% or higher reduction in employee turnover.
Set Your Employees Up for Success
Training programs and career development are a key part in retaining talent. Look at your training processes to determine whether you’re giving your people a chance to grow their skillset.
As you begin hiring employees, you may find candidates who would make excellent workers but lack experience in the industry. Having a robust onboarding and new-hire training allows you to open the door to a wider selection of candidates. If you look beyond their experience and commit to providing adequate training, you’ll have the opportunity to hire and retain star employees you may have otherwise overlooked.
Embrace Technology that Fits Your Workforce
Employees today are used to having everything at their fingertips via mobile device. Create an accessible application process via mobile or social media. Some companies even allow applicants to submit their application via video. The old process of filling out paper applications and handing them into the physical location is no longer serving store managers. Companies need to find creative ways to reach applicants.
For your current employees, there are a number of ways leveraging technology enhances the employee quality of life. For example, Human Capital Management Systems like UKG Pro allow employees to easily access their employee documentation, request and track time-off, and participate in employee training.
For managers, technology helps optimize processes such as scheduling and employee reviews.
When you implement technology and lose outdated processes, you’re giving your managers and employees the opportunity to focus on more productive priorities like customer service.
Communication is Key
You’ve heard it before and you’re thinking to yourself, “I do communicate,” but I’d encourage you to ask yourself, are you communicating in a way that actually reaches your employees?
Lack of communication can make your employees feel disconnected from the company, and employees who don’t feel connected won’t stay in their roles for long. Take a look at your employee base, are most of them using a mobile device? The answer is yes, so why are you sending your communication via email? 76% of frontline employees know they would feel more connected if they could access communications on a mobile device. Your employees are checking updates on their phone, so look into communication platforms outside of email that your employees can reach easily. If you’re using a HCM software, check to see what options are available. UKG Pro Broadcast allows store managers and leadership to send out texts companywide or to a targeted audience.
Competitive wages, employee benefits, onboarding, training, career development, technology, and communication are all areas of opportunity for companies who are hiring employees. While you may not be able to improve all areas at once, take a look at your biggest challenges and listen to your employees to determine which improvement is a priority for you and your team. Keep in mind while onboarding and training is a longer process improvement initiative, items like pay-card solutions are easy and low-cost to implement. Investing in a Human Capital Management software can also help you overcome a lot of these challenges. While it can be a significant investment up front, the right HR outsourcing partner can help your company gain access to the technology at a reasonable cost.