By Brian Murphy, Foodable Industry Expert
The hiring process can be draining, expensive, and require a lot of time the establishment has to surrender, but the onboarding process is the most important part of the process. Don’t burn out and give into relief when you finally landed someone to take those open shifts. It has been time to take the onboarding process seriously, and it is only getting more important.
1. Make Time to Train for Longevity
Simply getting someone with a pulse to pick up that random shift no one wanted is a Band-Aid fix, and that practice is not sustainable. Be selective and find the true talent to build a team. Consider your long-term goals and decide if you are in it for the long haul. If so, then hire and conduct initial and ongoing trainings like you mean it. Many entry-level positions often bring inexperience to the hiring process, and that isn’t always a bad thing. A good judge of character and some solid training can turn inexperience into a diamond in the rough.
2. Know Your New Hires
The new hires you are bringing in are likely from a different generation, and there are important things to remember about the onboarding process and how it relates to Millennials or Generation Z. Millennials and Gen Z are often misunderstood and misrepresented, and understanding that they often need to have a purpose, quality relationships with management, and perhaps some flexibility in scheduling is helpful. Ruling with an iron fist is not the way to keep new hires happy, even if that method worked in the past. You should plan on adjusting the role of managers and owners, as well, since many new hires now perform better and respond well when managers act as mentors or coaches. That mentality makes sense because everyone is part of the team.
3. Understand Company Culture
What is the company culture? Be able to put it into words succinctly, and be able to live it. A strong company culture is only going to help land quality talent, and it increases retention. Making new hires excited to be part of the team or family can do wonders for the business on many levels, from what the guests feel to your peace of mind when you aren’t around. Consider building something out of the ordinary into the onboarding process: team building, menu exploration, or some sort of discovery day that educates while being disguised as fun.
Consider your social media presence and think about offering your team the chance to submit photos and posts that can be filtered through whomever handles social media regularly. This offers new hires and existing employees the chance to be heard. Giving a new hire credit for a photo they submitted of a dish or an appropriate behind-the-scenes glimpse of the operation tells them you believe in them and gives them a sense of ownership and belonging — something they are craving. You will also be seen publicly standing behind your team, which offers guests and potential guests a sense of confidence and cohesion that demands more of their attention, and perhaps their business.
4. Help Them Help You
The onboarding process should be examined thoroughly by existing employees you can trust, as well as managers. Ask team leaders to try to poke holes in the training materials and bring more of the staff in on planning conversations. When you have a team in place that can help to train during onboarding, you break up the monotony of a single trainer explaining how to perform a task one way. Offering a variety of perspectives and ways to accomplish the same goal offers younger, new hires the perception of customizing their work. Coaching that process closely will help to avoid new hires taking too many liberties.
Adjustments to the onboarding process will pay off, but coaching managers and leading by example is the best way to change the overall culture. The investment of time, discipline, and hard work will help with a demographic that is infamously noted for lacking some of those strengths.