Blog Series: How To Do More with Less

Tim Pincelli

Blog #1 - Onboarding & Training

In November 2021, over 900,000 employees in the hospitality and food service industries (7% of the industry's workforce) voluntarily quit their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Frankly, this is a terrifying statistic for our industry, and it’s being deemed “The Great Resignation”. More than ever, hotels and restaurants are being forced to do more with less.

Talking with operators every day, I hear stories that can be summarized as: almost every part of our day has been negatively impacted by the labor shortage. Challenges range from finding and keeping staff, price increases on almost everything the restaurant uses, navigating the “Now” customer, and keeping enough stock on hand to serve guests.

During my morning routine yesterday, I was watching the news which was discussing the labor crisis. I found myself talking back to my television; asking it to stop telling us what we already know and start telling us how to fix it!

My goal with this blog series is to give you my perspective on the “how”, to hopefully help you navigate this difficult time.

For the first post in this series, I wanted to focus on hiring and training…you know, the critical team that makes the business go, and the team that needs to be inspired to carry your vision to your guests.

The best way to describe the state of onboarding today, is that the window between the day you're hired and your actual first day, has gone from two weeks to sometimes two hours (or less). The question I’ll ask restaurant or hotel managers is: have you implemented the tools you need to help you manage this short window? If you have, well done!

Keep in mind, this is the period of time that starts after the seemingly exhausting effort of recruiting and selling your soul to lure this candidate to join your team. You’ve likely already explained how they will be trained and given the tools to be successful on the team.

The days of introducing your new hire to your top performer and asking them to shadow and learn are long gone. That top performer is busy performing, and weighing them down impacts their performance and takes mind share that is likely already suffering with them taking on more with less. Put simply, you need your top performer performing and can not risk their job satisfaction.

Back to my question, have you reacted with tools to effectively onboard new hires that are immediately effective? There is so much to teach your new team member. Restaurant story, culture, rules, prep, presentation, greeting, required tasks…the list goes on.

How are you currently delivering this information and delivering the same message to every new hire? Especially with the turnover rate we are experiencing.

Here is the ‘How To’

Consider investing in a task management tool with the capabilities of presenting a new hire with an onboarding routine that takes them through each step of the onboarding process from day one. This tool should have the ability to make the majority of the onboarding cycle self-service, and gear them up for day-one tasks so they can jump in immediately.

Key capabilities of a task management tool should include:

  • The ability to present documents, images, and videos that explain how to perform each task, in a content library
  • Access to reporting of completed training, and historical reporting on completion rates for accountability
  • The option to create employee quizzes to test information retention
  • Availability on a personal mobile device and/or tablet

I know. I’m suggesting you buy something and invest in launching it, which will take money and time. However, I don’t see how a hotel or restaurant can afford not to invest in this with the current market conditions. You likely have paper checklists already in place. Making those checklists digital, and uploading supporting media content is not as hard as it may sound. Every device that we carry (and maybe even the one you’re reading this on) can take a picture or a video. All it takes is a AirDrop, Android Nearby Share, or a simple download to link the media content to a checklist task.

With a digital task management tool, everyone joining your team gets the same message and instructions, which can be revisited at any time! You’ve come really close to the duplicity you’ve been seeking for years. The task assignment doesn’t stop after onboarding is complete. Their day one on the job is supported by daily task lists of exactly what is expected. This is a critical point of beginning the retention process. When team members know what is expected of them and can keep themselves self-accountable, they are more likely to succeed and enjoy their job.

I hope you enjoyed my perspective, and please watch for the next piece in this series!

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