Master Your Labor Management

Key considerations for bringing on a third-party staffing solution.
Restaurant staff teaching chef

As the economy continues to slowly take a turn for the better, the labor market is favoring employees and job seekers more and more. Proof of this is in the unemployment numbers, with rates at or near the lowest level in years. As a result, foodservice operators  with vacant positions to fill will find themselves in a competitive acquisition market, with premium costs attached to talent.

In addition to rising labor costs, there’s also the need to find the right fit for your operation, retain your current workforce and manage incremental government documentation related to staffing due to updated rules and regulations.

With all of that to juggle, you can’t afford a misstep in your labor management. Nor can you afford to make the wrong hiring decision. Turnover is expensive, averaging $5,864 per industry employee, according to the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration’s Center for Hospitality Research. It’s also not likely to decrease, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports turnover has been on the rise for the last five years and it currently sits at 72.1%.

In such challenging conditions, a third-party staffing solution could help bear the burden managing your labor, including finding the right people, right now as they specialize in maintaining a ready pool of workers sorted to fit your needs. And their benefits don’t stop there. They also offer solutions for all parts of an employee’s life cycle—including hiring, onboarding, document processing, training, motivating and even termination.

But how do you choose the right provider? Here are a the key attributes to look for, as these will help you get handle on your staffing costs to the benefit of your bottom line.

Online hiring process

Most employees today are comfortable with conducting job searches online and regularly do so. A sign in the window or an ad in the classifieds won’t reach them, and conducting an online candidate search takes time and technology resources. You need to consider an e-solution and third-party staffing providers should have it. They monitor online job search engines, building a database of potential employees based on traits you desire and can communicate opportunities through social media to improve your recruiting pool.

Applicant analysis

You’ve spent time and energy developing your operation. Now you need a workforce to keep it moving forward. Do they have the right experience? Enthusiasm? Work ethic? Reliability? Availability? Third party companies have an online application process that analyzes a candidate’s behavioral and personality traits. This allows you to look beyond core job requirements to find people with the skills to do the job as well as the potential to be much more.

Simplified onboarding

Every new hire means managing a lot of paperwork; starting an employee file with signed policy sheets and emergency contacts; required legal paperwork such as I-9 documents and tax-withholding forms; payroll bank deposit forms; healthcare coverage; and on and on. It’s a lot to juggle, and it has to be done for each employee. A third-party provider worth considering should be equipped to manage this digitally, empowering employees to update information themselves, keeping your files in compliance and giving you back valuable hours—time you can dedicate to running your business.

Employee self-service

With the right third-party provider, your staffers will get a do-it-yourself portal where they can log in and verify their own data and complete online training. Your provider should be willing to work with you to craft a library of online training modules, allowing you to conduct quizzes, skill assessments, and even offer motivational rewards that make sure every employee is on the same page. Your provider also can help you with online scheduling—a visual, interactive system that allows employees to check schedules, pick up shifts or make trades. This also gives you real-time updates so you can track staffing, manage budgeting and avoid overtime.

Automate tax credits

Private-sector employers often qualify for Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC), an incentive that can be claimed for hiring certain job seekers who face employment barriers. Third-party providers use the information they gather electronically to apply for tax credits at both the federal and state level—including WOTC claims—to ensure restaurant operators get the maximum available tax credits.

Managing people and costs will be key components to operational success in the future as the labor market gets tighter and tighter. Third-party staffing providers can help you meet those needs with solutions for all elements of your staff lifecycle, from hiring to termination. They find people best suited to your needs, speed up and simplify the onboarding process, promote team success through training and evaluation and garner the best tax advantages. Given the increasing cost and complexity in hiring today, evaluating a third party staffing solution may be a path for improved profitability and sales growth over time.

Five benefits that work for you

Here are some key ways a third-party staffing provider simplifies labor concerns:

  1. Better applicants: They help you find the right candidates for the job.
  2. Improved staff management: They help by creating an electronic database of your staffers.
  3. Extra time: They take time-consuming paperwork and filing off your hands.
  4. More money back: They know the intricacies of the system and help you get the tax credits you’re entitled to.
  5. Increased engagement: They set up e-solutions for scheduling, training, etc.

Two questions you should ask a potential provider

  1. Do you have a training portal? Proper training makes for productive employees the day they start working. And when your expectations are clear, job satisfaction increases.
  2. Do you have a tracking method? You need a system for feedback and development of your team. It will help you identify and nurture the next generation of leaders.

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