Finding new workers is expensive. It takes time and resources to post openings, review resumes, interview candidates, conduct background checks and drug tests and provide training. With turnover in the restaurant industry as high as 73 percent, staffing is an expensive undertaking for most restaurant owners. Effective owners either have a strong internal system or they recognize the benefit of turning those tasks over to companies that are better at taking applicants through the initial steps when sourcing and recruiting new employees.
Over one-third of restaurant operators and bar managers say their biggest challenge to success is staffing. The restaurant industry is projected to employ 16.7 million people by 2027, adding 1.6 million jobs over the next decade. Attracting good workers is only going to get more competitive. In 2011, the national unemployment rate was 9 percent. Now, it’s less than half that. And the number of people 16-24 years of age has leveled off at about 39 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Since restaurants employ about one-third of all working teens, offering young people valuable benefits such as tuition assistance, competitive pay and perks can go a long way to keep workers happy and improve retention rates.
The #MeToo movement appears to be here to stay. Any restaurant that develops a reputation for sexual harassment of its employees should expect its business to experience consequences. Owners and managers are responsible for providing a safe working environment in all aspects, and they should be expected to address harassment complaints immediately.
Smart owners have clear, well-communicated policies and take immediate action when those policies are violated. A company of professionals who are well-versed in the law and best practices can educate employees on what constitutes improper behavior and set up communication channels for reporting violations. These policies can also help owners/managers respond immediately and appropriately.
Roughly three in 10 restaurants have jobs open that they find difficult to fill. One of the worst experiences a new employee can have is to show up for the first day on the job, be handed a uniform and be told to get to work—without any training or direction. Without training, workers will fail to deliver what owners want them to do. Sub-par supervisors and co-workers are leading reasons people quit their jobs.
The best workers expect training, so owners benefit from developing programs that lead employees to success. Those happier employees are more productive and more profitable for the business. Good bosses provide handbooks and training manuals, and review checklists to prepare workers for any situation. Mentoring programs can improve employee loyalty as well
Being on top of HR best practices takes time and resources and is a challenge for many restaurant owners who have limited in-house administrative support. Partnering with an HR solutions provider, someone who has the experience and expertise in all of these important HR best practices, may offer significant value to your business. When you find the right partner, you can expect to increase productivity, reduce liability, strengthen compliance, minimize time spent on paperwork, and decrease overall labor costs. The end result: more satisfied workers who want to deliver their best for your business, and a restaurant that is profitable.
Teresa Thompson is a Professional Employer Consultant with Oasis, A Paychex Company. During her tenure, she has placed a significant focus on HR solutions for restaurants and the hospitality industry. Oasis is a Florida-based Professional Employer Organization (PEO) providing human resources services, employee benefits administration, payroll and tax administration, risk management services and staffing solutions. www.oasisadvantage.com/restaurants