In the foodservice and hospitality industry the battle to attract workers to open jobs is being driven by an overall smaller industry labor pool stemming from limitations in how companies are competing for and ultimately recruiting workers. As workers continue to depart food service in droves, a trend that picked up steam in 2020 with workers heading to other industries such as food manufacturing, warehouse jobs, and even retail, where starting wages of $15–17 per hour in search of consistent income streams, complicating matters further are industry-wide issues with worker retention & turnover, and worker absenteeism which has become even more prevalent in the last 36–48 months (yes, even before the COVID exposure risk). Below are 7 mistakes managers are making during the hiring process:
- Relying on job boards to create a funnel of quality candidates. Many restaurant, foodservice and hospitality managers turn to job boards like Indeed, Monster, Career Builder, Snagajob, and Simply Hired, to post open jobs with the belief that they will see a flood of qualified candidates that meet the job requirements. Contrary to the value propositions these platforms boldly claim such as finding the perfect worker, hassle-free, in no time whatsoever, the hourly-service industry does not really benefit from such job sites simply because of the hyper transient nature of the industry — the average employment lasting less than two months for hourly employees, and just a tick over 4 months for management roles and the time it takes to properly screen the candidate pool, schedule interviews, conduct the interviews, and hope the worker shows up for day one training & onboarding. When calculating total labor costs a business must factor in recruiting costs, the manager’s time (and other employee’s time contributions to the effort), the time spent on candidate screening, selection, and training/onboarding. Factoring in that it takes 10 or more days to hire in the foodservice industry (pre-pandemic), In other words, using job boards takes a dedicated commitment in time to see meaningful results. Job boards end up being a funnel for the lowest common denominator (i.e. worker quality), and the process suffers from an inability to dedicate the time and energy required — unless you are a full-time recruiter, or employ a team of talent acquisition specialists these sites are merely teasers, usually falling short of their promises. It should be noted that a rule of thumb in recruiting is that the best candidates are usually already employed and the high-majority aren’t spending their time on the job boards. Hence why the best recruiters earn a substantial placement fee for their time and efforts filling open roles. So unless you are committed to a proper recruiting effort, it doesn’t make sense to rely on job boards to create a candidate funnel.
- Posting on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn expecting high volume exposure and results. Most people ARE NOT social media aficionados churning out viral content left and right thanks to a deep understanding of social media marketing, optimization efforts, and what can and does influence the ever-changing algorithms at work behind the scenes, For example, when you post on your personal Facebook page or on your Facebook Business Page you can expect your posts to be seen by about 5.5% of your total followers (or 55 people for every 1,000 page followers), and Facebook’s algorithms decide which posts a given follower or friend sees in their newsfeed as well as the order in which your posts are shown in their respective feed. So contrary to popular belief, when you do a WE’RE HIRING! post on Facebook, the post is not reaching everyone nor are your posts reaching people quickly generally speaking. So if you have an urgent opening, many of your followers or friends may not see the post until multiple days later (if ever). So unless people are religiously going to your business page or personal page or have their alerts set up accordingly, they are not seeing your posts.
- Slow or nonexistent acknowledgement and follow-up with interested candidates. If you are fortunate enough to gain the attention of a candidate and he or she applies for a job or asks a qualifying question, they are expecting a quick turnaround time for a response. Maximum 24–48 hours. Frankly managers should come to terms that in today’s job market, workers that receive the fastest responses tend to take those job opportunities more seriously, and as you might expect, these jobs are filled far quicker than those that are slow to engage. Think of it this way — when someone is looking for a job they are “shopping” as a consumer would. And as a consumer would do, there are systematic ways in which decisions are made (purchases), taking into consideration the various reasons why they make their choices — personal, situational, psychological, and social. Choosing a place of employment is a “high-involvement decision” because it can carry a high risk to the candidates if they make the wrong choice — revolving around basic income-requirements, as well as culture-fit, job longevity and upward mobility for example. Acknowledgement and communication are part of the candidate experience, so consider the impacts that stem from a negative candidate experience — candidates will be less likely to ever apply to an open job with your company in the future, nor will they recommend your business to their peers. To make matters worse, a poor experience can impact future purchases from your company, and again this will extend to their peers, friends, family and so forth. In other words, expecting candidates to take a job opportunity seriously when managers do not reflect the same is a sure fire way to not only shrink your potential talent pool, but it could impact your revenues going forward.
- Job requirements & expectations as a diatribe. There is a ton of noise for job seekers to filter through, and a quick process of elimination starts with eliminating job opportunities that don’t meet their basic income requirements. Going further, your job posting will also be removed from their consideration when they see a wordy diatribe or rant about what the job entails and what they are expecting from their candidates, let alone their employees. The tone is negative and unwelcoming. There is a disconnect with some managers in that they believe this is part of being transparent, however more often than not it shows a pent up frustration and an aggressive micromanagement style — perhaps an inability to accept responsibility (as the leader), or maybe a penchant for gaslighting employees. Fairly or unfairly this approach is an indicator of how you will conduct yourself as manager and how you might treat your employees. Bottom line, managers that take this approach are inherently making a candidate feel guilty, or causing them to have a fear of messing up — and they don’t even work for you (nor will they).
- Believing the reputations of the business and the management team are unimportant or false. Online reputation matters — yes Yelp, Google, and Facebook reviews matter, despite the disdain the majority of the industry shows towards Yelp (for good reason, mind you), but the fact is over 75% of buyers turn to online reviews when making a purchasing decision, and 98% of US Consumers listed the “Perceived Customer Experience” as the #1 Factor when deciding where to spend their money. As a manager you are selling your opportunity to prospective candidates (buyers). Saying you are “a fast-paced team-first culture, that acts more like a family”, yet your reputation indicates you are potentially abusive to employees, or skirt sanitation rules, skim tips, condone or turn a blind eye on drug use/abuse on premise will act as a counter the claims made in your job post and eliminate you from the candidates’ consideration.
- Relying on help wanted signs or posting in the classifieds expecting a flood of high quality candidates. Yes, this includes Craigslist. With the rise of curbside and delivery, as well as ghost kitchens, off-premise, and so forth, the reduction in foot traffic means a reduction in eyes. Though going forward it doesn’t hurt to have a help wanted sign up on the window for serendipity-sake, however considering the actual costs associated with replacing an employee — any budget spent on job boards or help wanted ads will do very little to attract high quality workers and is a severely low return on investment (ROI) strategy. There was a time when these tactics worked well, but that time has passed.
- Hoping for the best, believing the old way of hiring is the best (or only) way of hiring. Put simply, get with the times‚ — We live in an age of immediacy (hence the impact of quick communication). Foodservice and hospitality businesses have been forced to adapt numerous times throughout the last 50 years, but never has it been more important to adapt and evolve through the use of technology to augment various facets of the operation. Across the industry, article after article highlights the success restaurants and hospitality operations have seen by evolving and adapting in the last 10 months— technology is at the center of it all. And as we move into greener pastures, post-pandemic, the businesses that thrive will those that make technology an operational cornerstone.
Goodbye to the old way of doing things
Looking at the overall talent pool, there is a reason the gig-economy has over 60 million taking part and these individuals are representing an ever larger percentage of the total workforce in the US— freedom, flexibility, and autonomy— to leverage their skillsets into the most attractive (frictionless) opportunities that deliver better financial returns on their time. But the gig-economy is far more just Uber & Lyft — with freelancers, independent contractors, and flex workers on platforms such as Taskrabbit, Instacart, DoorDash, Bird & Lime, Fiverr & Upwork, and several other monetization platforms that have risen to prominence in the last year (i.e. the creator economy).
For the purposes of this list, specifically within foodservice and hospitality, you can trade-in your hope in exchange for meaningful action— by using the SnapShyft Labor Marketplace to augment your labor model & alleviating time-consuming burdens off your plate. Any business in the F&B sector can successfully hire for part-time, full-time, seasonal, or short-notice on-demand openings, with a success rate that is 3X the staffing industry average. One way customers have leveraged the platform is a “try before you buy” approach to long-term hiring i.e. using SnapShyft to get qualified & fully screened workers in the door on a shift-to-shift basis, and during this time managers can ascertain whether a worker fits into their culture and plays well with the team (the workers are doing this as well, btw), and then extending a job offer with a greater sense of worker-fit. Using this approach can drastically reduce employee churn (turnover) in both the short and long term, as well as reduce the cost of turnover & going under-staffed, and puts more money onto the bottom line.
In short, the old way is dead; And the only logical way to avoid having the same fate for your business is to look at various ways you can inject new technology into the mix, and learning to lean on these tools as a means to offloading time-consuming tasks while achieving a higher ROI in the process. For sourcing candidates, hiring, and staffing the solution lies in the integration of the gig-economy into your respective labor model.
Thor Wood is the Founder and CEO of SnapShyft, a technology company that connects hospitality and food-service businesses with fully vetted & experienced front or back-of-house staff, on-demand. Headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, U.S.A., SnapShyft is delivering the best attributes of the gig-economy while eliminating bias and discrimination from the staffing process — working with acclaimed restaurant brands, high-volume catering & event operations, and hospitality businesses of all shapes and sizes. SnapShyft supercharges a manager’s ability to get great staff working on a short-term, seasonal, or long-term basis — allowing managers to give core staff the support they need while flexibly adjusting staff levels on-the-fly. An industry leader in delivering reliable & consistent results, SnapShyft has a successful shift fulfillment rate that is 3X the staffing industry average. SnapShyft was founded by a leadership team with over 20 years in food service & hospitality, 14 years in executive recruiting & staffing, and over 20 years in operations, finance, accounting, and HR. The SnapShyft platform has been featured in Bar & Restaurant, Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Hospitality Tech Magazine, TechCrunch, Xconomy, Yahoo! News, and was named a TechCrunch Top Pick for Social Impact, as well as a Top 15 Startup of the Year by Established, and was a recipient of the Indiana Innovation Award.