Customers may be ready to wine and dine in person, but the Great Resignation threatens the service industry’s ability to keep up with renewed demand.
Three out of five fast-food restaurants and four out of five full-service restaurants closed parts of their dining rooms because they didn't have enough workers to serve those areas. Hotels face similar challenges, with many operators reducing or eliminating the services they provide guests, like daily room cleaning or continental breakfast.
Employers can’t sit back and wait for staffing shortages to resolve themselves — they need to take action to keep their existing employees while attracting new ones. Digital tools paired with best HR practices can help aid recruitment and retention efforts — for prospective candidates, HR professionals, and restaurant and hospitality leaders.
What’s causing restaurant and hospitality staffing shortages?
Restaurant and hospitality workers are leaving their jobs at record rates that are more than twice the national average quit rate. The labor issue is a double-layered problem. Millions of service workers who were furloughed or laid off during the pandemic left the industry entirely, ramping up the competition for experienced talent. And for workers who have lasted this long, worsening labor conditions, like diminishing wage growth, hostile customers, and longer hours, are pushing them into other industries.
The waning talent pool coupled with fierce competition and rising consumer demand means employers have to work harder and faster to solve workers’ issues, or lose customers and talent to competition that can. Considering the numerous challenges HR is already handling — like the ongoing pandemic and worsening employee mental and physical health — many people leaders don’t have the time or resources to solve the staffing shortage problem.
Modern HR technology supports recruitment and retention efforts so people leaders can maintain staffing while juggling all these new challenges. Technology, like Human Capital Management (HCM) platforms or small business payroll solutions, do more than just streamline tasks and increase efficiency. These tools allow restaurants and hotels to deliver modern capabilities that appeal to potential candidates (like SMS texting during the recruiting process) and engage current employees (like better learning opportunities). Technology, paired with up-to-date knowledge of what today’s workers want, can help you enable a resignation-resistant employee experience.
5 tech-backed tips to boost recruitment and retention
HR technology can help your business augment its retention and recruitment efforts to overcome current staffing shortages and meet customer demand. You can become a more competitive employer, develop an enviable culture and keep employees where they belong — with you — by embracing the following practices:
- Financial security: Following the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, restaurant and hospitality workers want the reassurance of financial security. To appeal to new candidates and improve current employee satisfaction, consider offering on demand pay and advertising it as an employee benefit. With nearly 80% of workers living paycheck to paycheck, access to earned pay on demand can help reduce financial stress by providing more flexibility and control over unexpected circumstances (without interrupting your payroll processes).
Additionally, make sure your pay is competitive and you consistently reward top-performers. Many HCM tools often have compensation management capabilities, which can help you compare your pay to market averages and identify employees who are prime candidates for a raise. You can easily provide employees with total rewards statements, helping ensure they are aware and take advantage of all their benefits (like an employee discount or paid time off).
- Modern recruiting: In today’s fast-moving labor market, you need to move quickly to interview and secure top restaurant and hospitality workers before your competitors do. HCM tools can help you identify high-potential candidates, send out SMS messages directly to their phones, and keep them engaged with meaningful interactions that showcase your culture. Texting and video interviews can speed up the hiring process, get people in the door faster, and appeal to younger candidates who may be new to the labor force. These recruiting tools aren’t just effective, they're also time-saving — research from Deloitte found the average annual cost savings from using an HCM to automate applicant tracking and recruiting tasks is over $18,000.
- Flexible communication and scheduling: In addition to moving the recruitment process to mobile devices, consider modernizing all forms of communication. Rather than sharing business announcements, policy information, and employee schedules via phone calls, emails, and bulletin boards, look for communications tools that resemble the social apps we use in our personal lives. An employee HR and payroll mobile app can streamline and consolidate communication to one centralized portal, helping you provide greater transparency and cultivate trust.
Another benefit employee mobile apps enable is increased flexibility. Flexibility tops the list of priorities for today’s workforce — so even though frontline employees can’t work remotely, you can still appeal to candidates desiring flexibility in other ways. An all-in-one app makes it easy for workers to schedule time off or request shift adjustments whenever they need to —helping you stand out and become a more competitive employer.
- Learning and development opportunities: In every industry, people want opportunities to learn new skills — 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn. Be sure to offer learning and development (L&D) training courses to help employees move up and make more money, like in operations, customer service, inventory management, marketing, and more. Rather than developing L&D materials from scratch, a learning management system (LMS) within your existing HCM platform can provide ample resources for employees.
- Data-based insights: While you may think you know what your workers want,you’d probably be surprised by their honest answers. Get direct feedback from current and departing employees via employee survey technology. Your HCM technology can help analyze the data so you can use these insights to improve policies that will impact employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. For example, if staff surveys uncover that your menu is overwhelming for servers to learn, you can take action to improve waitstaff’s experience by considering new types of training or cutting back some offerings.
In today’s labor market, restaurant and hospitality employers need to work harder than ever to recruit and retain employees. With tight resources and overworked staff, technology tools can augment HR’s efforts and provide modern benefits that appeal to employees. Doing so can help you recruit faster, keep employees longer, and react swiftly to future workforce changes.