The restaurant industry is short 633,000 workers, and 97% of hotels report insufficient staffing levels. This lack of hospitality staff is hurting customer service. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, restaurant customers are less satisfied with their orders’ speed and accuracy, in addition to the cleanliness of the restaurant. For hotels, guests reported declines in the helpfulness of staff and room and amenities quality.
Understaffing creates a vicious cycle for businesses. Staffing shortages lead to higher rates of turnover. This leads to unsatisfied customers who wait longer, buy less or simply don't buy anything (or return!). With less foot traffic and less revenue, restaurants and hotels can’t adequately staff up. And the cycle repeats.
Field managers find themselves in a challenging position: they must fill the open positions in their hotels and restaurants while also creating strategic plans to address supply chain disruptions, high inflation rates, day-to-day operations and long-term goals.
So what is a field manager to do? Take one thing off of the to-do list: automate the hiring process.
The journey to automated hiring
Simplicity and speed are vital to the hiring process. Between the desperate need for hospitality workers and the competitive employment environment, field managers can't afford to waste time. Technology accelerates and simplifies hiring from beginning to end. Here’s how:
- Text to apply
Forget the drawn-out process of forcing applicants to search websites and fill out lengthy forms. If an application takes more than 5 minutes, the majority of potential candidates won't finish it. Enter: text applications. Candidates can apply in one simple step using their smartphones and a QR code or short text keyword. A conversational AI tool immediately responds with a few screening questions to ensure the candidate is qualified. It’s simple. It’s fast. That’s why more than 90% of job seekers finish this type of application process.
- Immediately schedule an interview
Conversational AI schedules a qualified candidate’s interview within minutes of receiving the application, any time of day. By eliminating the wait for a response, managers catch candidates at their peak point of interest, keeping them engaged and reducing dropoff and ghosting. In fact, restaurants that schedule instantly and interview within 48 hours have the lowest ghosting and dropoff rates. Further, competitors don’t have a chance to steal the candidate.
- Continuous engagement
Turning the hiring process into a conversation keeps people engaged from start to finish. This means no lags between messages and no waiting for an answer. Of course, already overburdened hiring managers don't have time to immediately respond to candidates' questions — but conversational AI does. This technology is available 24/7 to respond to applications and queries.
- Personalized job offers and simplified onboarding
Once a manager decides to hire a candidate, AI technology quickly sends out a personalized job offer. The longer a job seeker waits, the more likely they are to accept a job elsewhere, so rapid offer delivery is crucial.
Once candidates accept a job offer, field managers must focus on getting their new employees to show up on the first day. That’s because one in five new hires never come to work. To address these no-shows, AI simplifies onboarding and maintains ongoing conversations so employees don't feel disconnected. Technology also creates mobile onboarding documents and guides new hires through the documents’ completion. It even answers questions, whether about I-9 documents or what to wear to work.
Automated hiring results
Conversational AI has proven effective for many companies with:
- 80% decrease in time to hire.
- Hiring 2.5x more applicants.
- 50% reduction in time spent on administrative tasks.
For example, the Meritage Group introduced conversational AI to 300 of its Wendy’s restaurants to reduce hourly hiring time from two weeks to four days. The technology saves general managers more than two hours a week. Most (90%) of McDonald's global franchises also adopted AI hiring tools, which enable more hiring at a faster pace.
Conversational AI automates 95% of the hiring process, and for field managers, the technology kills two birds with one stone. Field managers who avoid administrative hiring tasks — sorting through job applications, scheduling interviews, creating job offers and completing onboarding processes — have significantly more time to focus on strategic efforts that drive customer satisfaction. The result: more high-quality employees and increased customer service.
About the Author
Josh Secrest is the VP of marketing and client advisory for Paradox. Josh has led talent and talent acquisition teams for some of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands. In his most recent role as Head of Global Talent Strategy at McDonald’s Corporation, Josh helped design people programs and experiences to support internal and external talent for McDonald’s corporate offices and restaurants around the world. Previously, as Head of Global Talent Attraction at McDonald’s, he collaborated with Paradox to bring the world’s first voice application to life in partnership with Google and Amazon’s Alexa. Prior to joining McDonald’s, Josh spent over 13 years at Abercrombie & Fitch Co. where he was as an HR business partner and led various HR functions including global talent acquisition, philanthropy, and home office development.