Responding to a post-COVID workforce: two changes, one goal

Responding to a post-COVID workforce: two changes, one goal

In the last quarter of 2021, the quit rate in the restaurant and catering industry hit a record high of 6.8%. The cause for alarm was not just the numbers, but the timing. As more jobs opened up, more employees left. Jobs had resumed and working conditions had been deemed safe enough for a return to in-person activity. But that was not reason enough for the workers to return.

Steve Anevski, co-founder, Upshift
Steve Anevski, CEO and Co-Founder, Upshift

The gap between available positions and available workers has caused employers across all sectors to pause, but the need to rehire workers in the restaurant sector is particularly urgent. Fortunately, given time to listen and reflect, the adjustments workers are asking for are clear, and they won’t require employers to sacrifice their still-recovering post-COVID budgets.

Here is an overview of two important areas of focus, one for the short term and one for the long term, for employers who are committed to meeting the new needs of a post-COVID team.

Short-term compensation: adequate and effective compensation

The workers have said it clearly: an increase in wages is needed in almost all sectors. When employees reconsidered their post-pandemic priorities, they explored the possibility of working in multiple sectors. The result is a higher level of wage competition; employers need to offer attractive rates not only within their own industry, but also relative to other industry silos.

But the reward of higher salaries can be magnified by using two competing strategies. First, implementing a minimal work-free approach – allowing workers to sign up for shifts as often as they want without having to meet a quota of hours worked per week – means that work does not involve so many sacrifices. So far, no-work minimums in the restaurant industry increase attendance rates and decrease turnover, saving employers valuable training and recruitment resources.

The second strategy to add to higher salaries is frequent payments. Workers value fair compensation for their hard day’s work. They value this just compensation more if it comes quickly. Same-day payments, where possible, help employees take charge of their own financial lives. When the reward for working a shift lands in an employee’s bank account a few hours later, the feeling of trust and benefit is stronger than it would be with weekly or monthly payments. Employers can leverage third-party solutions to make same-day payments easy and cost-effective; the reward they will see among their teams will be worth it.

Long-term commitment: employee autonomy

Competitive and frequent compensation is a powerful short-term incentive, especially if this compensation structure is offered without tying workers to rigid schedules. But solving the larger problem of long-term worker engagement will require more targeted solutions from restaurant and foodservice professionals.

Research has shown that training is an important part of an employee’s experience, whether that employee is part of a contingent workforce or a salaried role. While increased compensation and frequent payments can reduce employee turnover, foodservice employers can invest more in the training experience of their team members. Using enhanced learning technologies, catering professionals can educate new hires about their service roles. A successful onboarding sets an employee’s expectations for their time with the team and leaves no questions unanswered. When the new employee feels informed and valued, they are more likely to have a positive experience in their role.

Employee engagement can extend well beyond the onboarding phase. For workers in the restaurant and catering industry, the key to a long-term commitment is providing the resources they need to continue to grow and learn in their roles. Providing access to workshops, culinary courses, sommelier certifications or other areas of employee interest will inspire employees to become more invested in their journey of advancement within the restaurant industry, thus reducing the number of job seekers who consider changing sectors to seek new and improved ones. the roles.

The labor shortage in food service and restaurant space is urgent, and employers need to make quick adjustments to address the problem as it arises. To this end, ensuring that salary offers are competitive with all sectors is a necessary first step. Frequent payments and autonomous schedules will multiply the positive impact of higher wages providing workers with timely and appropriate financial reward for the shifts they choose to sign up for; the job that suits them.

These changes have proven to result in less turnover and more affinity with workers. Employers can then afford to invest more in their training and continuous learning offerings to improve long-term team engagement. Ensuring that the onboarding process is thorough and that opportunities for exploration and advancement are part of the role will help employees feel valued and engaged with the team. Not all post-pandemic hiring strategies need to be in place at once, but when employers plan for both the short and long term, they will be in the best possible position for success.

About Steve Anevski

Steve Anevski is the CEO and co-founder of Upshift, a cutting-edge recruitment platform that connects companies with pre-approved W2 employees. Backed by Recruit Holdings Inc., Upshift has a pass rate more than double the industry standard.

Michael A. Bynum