Approximately 164,000 jobs were created in April 2018, and the national unemployment rate dipped from 4.1 percent to 3.9 percent
--Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 3 2018
More companies are hiring; fewer people are unemployed. Great news!
Unless... you own a company creating new jobs, or trying to hire after losing an employee; then its bad news! If you’re hiring you are competing for talent with every other business in town, or even across the country.
For the restaurant industry this just tightens the screws on an already painful situation. Turnover is astronomical in restaurants and food related businesses. In fact, across the country turnover in hospitality is at 72.9%. In practical terms, this means that for every 10 employees you’ll have to find replacements for 7.29 of those workers in the next 12 months; unless you can beat the odds!
Meanwhile, the National Restaurant Association projects that the restaurant industry will add 1.6 million jobs over the next decade, for a total of 16.3 million new jobs by 2027. Turnover + job growth = a lot of hiring.
Even without the statistics I can tell you that owners are feeling this pain every day. Every one of my clients is hiring this month: A new manager, new counter help, new cooks or chefs. Everyone is looking. (Including me, CFO on Speed Dial is hiring too - review our current openings here.)
Even when times are good, hiring sucks! The process is arduous, thankless and often does not give you, dear business owner, the results you want.
75% of traditional hiring processes fail. Placing an ad, waiting to see who answers, and vetting the people who do is a strategy for finding people who are already looking. But you know, the best people aren’t looking. And they are unlikely to answer ads.
So – how do you find, attract and recruit the people you need?
Well, whole books have been written about this subject so I’m not going to get very far in a blog post. But here are a few tips to get you started.
The key to hiring the best people who absolutely love your business and want to stay is in the word “attract”. In this hiring environment, you have to be constantly on the search for new people which means you have to consistently demonstrate why your business is a great place to work.
Here are a few places to start:
- Define your immutable laws. The first law of attraction is that you have to know and articulate what its like to work in your company and what you require of team members. I don’t mean experience or education but attitude, energy and personality. One way to convey this is to create a short list of immutable laws: the values and behaviors that are the DNA of your company. Immutable laws were written about by my friend Mike Michaelowicz in his classic book The Pumpkin Plan (which I recommend, highly.) For our purposes here, you want to develop a list of 3 to 5 unshakeable, unchangeable core values, ethics and behavior laws that shape and define the company’s culture. When you start, your list will grow very long, but keep paring it down until it fits on a single, memorable page.
- Results drive responsibilities and requirements. With your immutable laws in place, you can turn to writing job descriptions for specific positions. But don’t start with education or skills – first write down the results that you expect the person in this job to achieve. Be very specific. Then think about the skills, training or experience that will be required to perform at that level. Again, pare down the long wish list that you could (will) come up with until you have a handful of criteria that will define the choice of the best possible candidate for this job. When you write the job description, remember you want to attract someone who thinks that this “work” is actually fun. This is not the place to be dry and dreary – go for excitement.
- Build a network of high performers. Tell everyone you know about the awesome job you have for that special talented person, then bribe them with referral bonuses. Wine, chocolate, sports tickets – whatever you think will inspire the top people you know to send you their best introductions. And remember – ask them to introduce you to people who would be great in the role, or who have the attitude and skills you are seeking, not necessarily people who are actively on the job market. That’s how you find hidden gems who may not read a job ad.
- Train, support, encourage and complement your team. If they are doing a good job, let them know it. Heck, let everyone know! The more positive encouragement you give to the team; the more likely people will be to stick around when things get tough, or come to you if there is a problem. Every happy employee represents at least 40 hours of effort on recruiting, hiring and on-boarding a new recruit. Invest that time in supporting your current employees to avoid the next search.
- Don’t let the rotten apples spoil the barrel. Even good employees can loose their luster. If someone on your team is unhappy, difficult or spreading tension on the team pay attention. Ask, coach and intervene to change the situation if possible. But the bottom line is misery spreads like the flu. If someone is unhappy in their role, realize that its not the right job for them and encourage them to move on and find happiness elsewhere. The perfect job exists for them—just not with your company.
Do you have tips on how to hire? What’s worked for you? Send your best ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org and I may feature your story in a new post!