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Hiring & Retaining the Best Employees

5 Tips on Hiring and Retaining the Best Employees

With the nation nearing full employment, some restaurateurs say they’re experiencing staffing challenges due to the evaporating talent pool.

Full employment is good for the country, but may present a challenge for our industry. In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the turnover rate for restaurants and hospitality was 72.9 percent. In 2017, according to our research on the subject, roughly three in 10 restaurant operators said they had job openings that were difficult to fill.

Our research further found that 71 percent of fine-dining operators reported challenges in filling front-of-the-house positions, as did 58 percent of casual-dining restaurants and 56 percent of quickservice operators. At fast-casual restaurants, 62 percent of operators said they had difficulty filling manager positions.

Today, the big question they must all confront is how to hire the best and brightest and retain the employees and managers they employ. That is why the National Restaurant Association, at its Human Resources & Risk and Safety conference, held in February, focused on hiring solutions and best practices. Industry experts Kristen Zagozdon of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, Shake Shack’s Natalie Diehm, CAVA’s Dave McKlveen and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Nicole Edwards offered their insights on retention methods and reducing turnover.

Here’s a sampling of what was dicussed at the conference:

  1. Engage in excellent brand management. If you don’t tell your story, others will do it for you – and they won’t do as good a job as you would.
  2. Simplify your job applications process. If the job application is too complex or lengthy, job seekers will quit in the middle of filling them out and you may lose top talent.
  3. Maximize employee referrals. This is still the primary source for finding potential new hires. If you want your great employees to refer others to you, make sure you offer them decent incentive payments or rewards.
  4. Millennial-ize your recruiting. Millenials are the single-largest working generation in the United States. This year, they’ll make up 38 percent of the workforce. That’s why it’s important to understand who they are and what they expect from employers.
  5. Forge a relationship with colleges and high schools. Make sure you work with these learning institutions to co-create curriculum in return for gaining the first shot at new graduates.

National Restaurant Association Logo. (PRNewsFoto/National Restaurant Association)

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