“Here today, gone tomorrow” employee turnover is a relentless challenge for restaurant owners and operators. It’s tough enough finding qualified workers, let alone those who fit your brand and standards.
You need not doom yourself to the luck of the draw to staff your operation. The “right employees” are out there, and with a solid “Five I’s” strategy you’ll not only find them – you’ll keep them and groom them into long-term customer satisfaction ambassadors!
Jot down a list of qualities that describe your ideal employee. Of course it’s not realistic to think any one person will embody them all, but look around. There are likely people on your team already who come close. What makes them standout employees? Tailor your “must have” list – and expectations – to emulate your best performers and you’ll have a sound hiring benchmark.
It’s a foregone conclusion that you’ll interview for positions, but how you approach the process is paramount. Develop templates and procedures that every interviewer uses with every candidate, both during and after the interview. This level of consistency pays off. You’ll make efficient use of preparation and interview time because you have a “map” to keep you on course; you’ll gather the same type of information from each candidate, making apples-to-apples comparison easier; and, you’ll be able to weed out unsatisfactory candidates early on in the process.
If you’re part of a larger chain or franchise, you may have access to a corporate interviewing structure. If so, use it. Independents are wise to establish a similar process of their own.
Make it a priority to follow up with character references and previous employers. “Asking around” about a candidate is one of the best ways to gain insight into his or her personality, attitude and values. The same holds true when candidates are seated across from you. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first interview or the third – if you have a follow-up question, ask it. The answer may confirm a candidate’s key competencies, or perhaps confirm they aren’t the fit for your operation.
Add some marketing strategy into the hiring mix. Define a clear message that showcases your positions, culture, and what makes working there unique. Also, don’t forget to leverage social media to get the word out. It’s a proactive, budget-friendly way to talk to people that could fill vacancies ranging from dishwashers to management. You could bolster your social media efforts by identifying local groups comprised of good targets, like advertising through school job boards for student-level bussing positions, for example.
Once you’ve found and hired the “right employees,” show them you value and appreciate their commitment. Provide ongoing training, incentive programs, and other motivational opportunities that keep employees engaged and reward their hard work.
Finding and hiring great employees is never easy, but using these best practices will open your “I’s” to the possibilities. So will our Waitstaff Training Guide, which is filled with tips on recruiting, training, and maintaining stellar servers. Get your free download now by clicking the button below.