One of the largest problems the hospitality industry has in its recovery efforts after COVID is the re-hiring process. Many are quick to blame the problem on the money supplies for those on unemployment and the level of laziness it has incurred. For some, that may be true. The majority of the problem, however, has actually been found to be from two more unlikely sources.
Schools were hit the quickest, the hardest, and the longest by the pandemic. By ripple effect, all working parents of school-age children were hit to various degrees. Mostly, the mothers. “Around 10 million U.S. mothers living with their own school-age children were not actively working in January — 1.4 million more than during the same month last year,” according to new U.S. Census Bureau data. This was mainly due to the fact that they had to provide care for the children that needed care and school help during distance learning. With no specific promises of schools returning to normal after this summer break, many mothers are putting off returning to work indefinitely.
Also, many Baby Boomers have decided enough is enough. They have been working most of their lives and after dealing with the pandemic crisis, a good majority are deciding to retire. Since February 2020, the number of retired Boomers has increased by about 1.1 million according to this article. That not only reduces the workforce numbers in general, but it also cuts out a significant number of qualified and experienced workers. This means more training and support will be needed in the workplace and those who would usually provide that training and support will not be there to provide it.
Between these two factors, businesses looking to return to 100% workload will be lucky to have access to 50-75% of workers to complete that workload – especially in all levels of the hospitality industry. This will require companies to get inventive about their hiring processes and to be diligent about monitoring the new hires (and even return hires) they employ.
This article by The Restaurant Practice Leaders defines how it is important to “identify ways to use tech to optimize and support the makeup of your current team, automate tasks that don’t require the human touch, gather data to make better decisions, fix broken aspects of the candidate experience, more intelligently assess and prioritize candidates, and implement “COVID-19-friendly” solutions such as assessments and video interviewing capabilities.” It also talks about how some companies like YumBrands! (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Habit Grill, etc.), are providing funding for education and investing in skills training to empower employees.
Companies who want to gain the advantage during the rehiring spree will need to implement a two-step approach for their employment methods. The first is to ask your new team how safe they feel, how confident they feel in their training, and how prepared they feel in their positions. The trick will be to provide the employees with a safe method of airing their feelings about these questions. Internal Audits through a third-party company are the easiest, most cost-effective, and most reliable way of gathering this important information.
Secondly, companies must ask their customers how they feel the new and returning employees are doing. Using a mystery shopping company has been a proven method for gaining valuable information from those who will be affected most by the rehiring period. Ask those visiting your locations whether the employees have the knowledge they need, if the employees are implementing your step-of-service properly, and if the customers feel they were given appropriate levels of customer service.
Using a company that specializes in two-fold data collection processes, like MSI, will not only help you gather this necessary information, but will also help you dive into the data to find the right steps to correct any identified areas of need of improvement.