With the unique challenges the service industry has seen throughout the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, businesses have had to adapt to new standards in just about every facet of their operation. One major area is hiring and training new talent.

In 2018, the pre-pandemic turnover rate in the service industry reached a high of 74.9%. Though the industry has seen several changes since the dawn of the pandemic, for a business to thrive, you need committed employees and people still need jobs.

Read also: Employee Turnover in the Foodservice Industry

Immediate Hiring Challenges and Solutions

It’s not uncommon in the service industry to hire several qualified candidates in bulk. There are many challenges operators face when it comes to sourcing the right applicants. Some of these challenges are not new, such as attracting the right talent and mitigating high turnover. However, the pandemic has created new obstacles to work around, including a low pool of candidates to choose from, remotely attracting those with the right qualifications for the job, addressing health and safety concerns, among many others.

Your employees are the biggest ambassadors of your brand. If you want your guests to feel safe entering your establishment, that begins with the employees, and they should be the first thought when hiring. You want them to feel safe working for you. Many businesses have started placing a renewed emphasis on employee referrals. The logic here is a simple one – employees feel safer around friends and family.

Guests need to feel safe when dining in and that involves showcasing your efforts for thorough cleanliness and sanitation. This also starts with your employees, first by making sure they feel safe when working for you, and then ensuring they have proper training on best practices and expectations. Another key challenge in foodservice operations is the close proximity in which employees must work together. Therefore, it’s important to make them feel comfortable by being transparent about the protocols you have in place when first reviewing a potential candidate.

Recruiting Top Talent

How do you go about recruiting the best candidates? Not every location is going to have the same needs and hiring strategies will vary. Hiring in bulk requires streamlining processes, and there are many programs out there to assist, such as TalentReef who assists in facilitating recruitment marketing and contactless training.

Many establishments make use of social media and targeted Facebook ads, in addition to traditional radio adverts, hosting virtual job fairs, and posting on popular job sites like Indeed. Make it easy to be found. One of the most popular resources many turn to for efficient communication is SMS text messaging. The key is to keep it as short and simple as possible. Hang posters around the establishment that feature a simple number to text to apply, and automate a follow-up link right to the applicant’s phone that’ll immediately take them to the job posting where they can apply at their convenience. It’s one of the easiest ways to catch prospective candidates at the right time for them. Texting is also a great way to gather contact information to follow up with prospective applicants about new openings, virtual events, etc. It’s effective and reduces candidate drop-off.

Attracting those who want more of a career instead of a temporary paycheck begins by understanding what they’re looking for and selling stability. In your position posts, emphasize opportunity and a career path. Feature stories of long-tenured employees and position posting as a career opportunity instead of just another job. One strategy many top brands employ is featuring employee spotlights on their social media channels. In those posts, include personal details about the employee so readers can readily tell it’s not just something Human Resources quickly drafted.

Help create and further your employees’ stories. Look to promote top performers internally. Reskill your assets, taking them from the field and giving them new strengths to be high performers in a bigger role.

This is how your business not only survives but thrives.

Read also: Rising Labor Costs: 10 Tips to Balance Expenses and Productivity

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