It’s no secret that hiring is top of mind for restaurants these days. “It’s been quite challenging for a lot of reasons but the changes in immigration policy post-Brexit have made it harder to find chefs for your restaurant,” says Guy Holmes, managing director at Captivate Hospitality, a restaurant marketing and consulting firm based in London. Holmes is also the owner of Firebrand Pizza in the Marylebone neighbourhood and is constantly thinking about new ways to attract employees to his business.
The new year brings with it a slowdown after the rush of holidays and the opportunity for restaurant owners and managers to make some fresh hires. This time of year is also prime time to focus on your hiring process since days tend to be a bit slower. “It’s a little easier to recruit this time of year because people are looking around and thinking about ‘fresh starts’ and moving on,” says Holmes. “People are thinking about moving elsewhere so it might be easier for you to recruit.”
Here are four ways to revamp your restaurant’s hiring process this season.
Update and look up new platforms or new features that you can use to reach potential employees.
Use the slower months to get acquainted with the latest hiring platforms and the latest updates to sites you already use. Are there new sites or agencies that you can research to reach new hires? “It’s about what platforms to use and where to find people,” Holmes says. He recommends working with smaller hiring agencies or sites like JobsToday. “Facebook groups can also lead to hires,” he says. “For Captivate we advise using bigger job boards and Facebook groups.” This is also a great time to make sure that your profiles on sites that you already use are up to date and reflect your business properly.
Update posted job descriptions.
Job descriptions are your first interaction with a potential employee so you want to make sure that you’re setting the right tone and giving them a clear idea of your business. “You’ve got to be careful when you’re writing a job advert,” Holmes says. “Watch your language because using language like ‘waitress’ versus ‘waiter’ can get you into trouble,” he warns. Reread all of your restaurant’s posted job descriptions and make sure that they match the tone of your restaurant and ask yourself if you would want to apply to this restaurant based on what you’re reading.
Make sure that you’re checking references!
One of the biggest mistakes that the industry makes is not checking references, Holmes says. “Nobody checks references because it’s so fast paced but it’s really important.” Use your additional time this season to give a potential employee’s former boss or manager a call. Checking references can give you an idea of an employee’s habits, strengths and weaknesses. “It’s about reliability,” Holmes says. “Are they going to go out drinking one night and call out sick the next day?” Calling references will give you an idea of how reliable this person is and if they’ve had any past issues.
Take a look at your onboarding process and benefits package.
What’s the process like to help new employees get acclimated at your restaurant after they’ve been hired? The onboarding process is a crucial time to introduce new employees to the standards at your restaurant and help them get familiar working with other staff members. During this season, go over the process and make sure that it is properly setting employees up for success. Ask current employees in various roles if there are things that they wished that they learned while they were training. Come up with a game plan for the first few weeks of training and make sure that all management is on the same page. Also, what benefits are you offering to your employees? “It’s about trying to give packages to the staff to give them work life balance,” Holmes says. “Working 70 to 80 hours a week isn’t conducive to long term health or a long term career in your restaurant,” he says. Can you write the schedule so each team member has two days off in a row each week? Can you avoid doubles during the slower months? These gestures let your staff know that their mental and physical health is important to you.
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