With turnover and staffing shortages plaguing the industry, restaurants of all sizes have begun to consider nearly every aspect of what it takes to create a positive work environment in order to attract and retain employees. Everything is suddenly on the table—how can restaurants pay higher wages despite facing razor thin margins? Similarly, how does an organization start offering equitable tip pooling? Is it possible to offer other benefits that younger workers might be looking for?
These are all important conversations to have, says Jordan Boesch, CEO of 7shifts, who believes there still hasn’t been enough change in terms of what frontline restaurant workers are being paid. But Boesch also believes that when it comes to building culture, restaurants need to set up clear lines of communication, and implement tools that can facilitate exchanges of all types.
Gen Z and Millennial Communication Preferences
Because Gen Z and millennials now make up the vast majority of the restaurant workforce, it comes as no surprise that many restaurants are moving toward digital communication channels—after all, these are generations that have grown up with a smartphone in their hand. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that employees want to communicate with their restaurant management team via text messages, or Facebook Messenger.
“How team members prefer to communicate is changing,” Boesch says. “It had been increasingly common for operators to send employees texts or messages on social media, but that’s not always a great situation for a lot of these workers, because it means they have to share their own personal cell phone number, or add a manager as a friend to their personal Facebook profile. Considering some of the dynamics of this industry, that’s not always a super comfortable situation.”
The angst over not knowing the best way to communicate with team members was something 7shifts began hearing a lot from its restaurant-owning clientele. That triggered the company’s desire to add an intuitive messaging system into its team management software that would complement the many other aspects of the 7shifts platform, which streamlines human resources tasks for restaurant brands of all sizes.
Restaurant Communication Tools That Employees Actually Use
The messaging tool can be used by management to clearly set expectations, or praise a job well done. Workers will feel enabled to ask questions, or report issues that they may not feel comfortable discussing face-to-face. What both managers and employees seem to love about the app, Boesch says, is that it compartmentalizes work-related communication and keeps it off of more personal channels. Most of all, it breeds a culture of transparency and open communication.
“No piece of technology is going to make your restaurant an open place to communicate all on its own,” Boesch says. “But by offering this tool as a layer of 7shifts further instills this idea of a collaborative, pleasant environment.”
The team communication tool now offered by 7shifts is the latest step in its journey to become a team management platform that makes running a restaurant as easy as it can possibly be. In fact, 7shifts was created when Boesch was attempting to help his father suffer fewer headaches as he went to schedule shifts at the two Quiznos locations he owned. Boesch saw how painful it was, and created a digital scheduling system. That platform became 7shifts in 2014, and has since kept adding in additional layers—from tip pooling, to employee scheduling, and more—that create operational efficiencies within restaurants.
Now, becoming more efficient increasingly centers around creating great culture, and vice versa. “Our view on messaging is that it’s an absolutely essential tool in building a workplace culture,” Boesch says. “It helps everybody within the organization feel more aligned on what the core values of the company are. That’s going to help build that culture that everybody is seeking to build, which will help survive the next chapter of how restaurants will need to operate.”
For more on effective communication with team members, visit the 7shifts’ website.