Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features Business and Operations Staffing
Download your next employee

Find out what you need to do to hire the right candidates online.


February 26, 2009
By Laura Aiken


Topics

Finding and retaining talent is an ongoing game for quick-service and casual restaurants, which experience an average yearly turnover of 67 per cent for hourly paid employees. In addition, the foodservice industry employs nearly one in five youth jobs in Canada, with 44 per cent of all restaurant employees aged between 15 and 24. These statistics reported by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) mean you’ll be hiring this year and some of your hires are going to be young people. With minimum wage increases affecting six provinces in 2009, it’s important to be cost-effective in your recruitment and ensure that your business is using the Internet to its greatest advantage.

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Finding and retaining talent is an ongoing game for quick-service and casual restaurants, which experience an average yearly turnover of 67 per cent for hourly paid employees. In addition, the foodservice industry employs nearly one in five youth jobs in Canada, with 44 per cent of all restaurant employees aged between 15 and 24. These statistics reported by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) mean you’ll be hiring this year and some of your hires are going to be young people. With minimum wage increases affecting six provinces in 2009, it’s important to be cost-effective in your recruitment and ensure that your business is using the Internet to its greatest advantage.
 
Ken Whiting is a California-based human resources expert on the entry-level workforce. He operates a program called WAVES for Success that works with companies to solve the challenges of recruiting, motivating and retaining teens and young adults. No stranger to the pizza business, he is also the licensee of two Pizza Hut locations. Whiting says there are three key components to downloading your next employee.

1. Get your job posting listed on the appropriate sites
There are a multitude of online job boards, and it can be difficult to determine the best places to start recruiting. There is also a wide range of rates being charged by different sites.
 
“My sense is that they [youths] are not going to Monster,” says Whiting. “If I was hiring a full-time manager then I might want to be on Monster because that’s the kind of person you’ll find there, someone a little more career-focused.”

Websites like Craigslist are much more likely to reach the entry-level youth. There are a number of U.S.-based websites that cater to young job seekers, but aside from Craigslist they aren’t as obvious in Canada. A Google search pulled up the website www.weblens.org/youth.html, which contained links to several Canadian youth job resources and is worth investigating. However, doing a simple search for restaurant jobs on Monster returns a significant number of entry-level positions, so this is not to say you won’t find who you are looking for there.

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Cost is a definite consideration. There is a $695 price tag to access Monster’s job seekers for 30 days, as compared to Craigslist’s $0. Workopolis ranges from $325 to $725 across Canada for a 30-day period.  The website www.getajobyoufreak.com is free to post to. The hospitality specific job board www.hcareers.ca bills $469. Consider which positions you are looking to fill and where those applicants are more likely to be looking.

To put in perspective how fast internet use has grown in a mere decade and a half, consider that Monster launched the first online job board in 1994 and it was only the 454th commercial website in the world at the time. By July of 2007, Monster reported a ratio of 58 job seekers per posting. According to the company, the Internet became the first stop for job hunters, surpassing word of mouth referrals and newspaper ads in 2005.

2. Develop an employment component to your own website
“Everybody ought to have a website that current and prospective employees can go to. Use videos to explain things, be attractive to that age group [youths] and include testimonials of those who are currently working there,” says Whiting, adding the use of online application forms is growing in popularity.

Upgrading your existing website or launching one comes with a price tag, but one that must be weighed against the long-term gains. If you have no website and need one designed, a basic site consisting of up to 10 pages will cost about $850, says Julie Bateman of the Bateman Design Group in Barrie, Ont. Basic means no Flash or complex programming. In addition to the initial site build, an administration area that allows you to update and manage your own website costs $360. A job listing module can be added for $340. For additional fees, Bateman will handle updates and changes to the website if you do not want to manage it yourself. In total, you would be looking at around $700 to add a career section to your existing website, and $1,550 to create a whole site from the ground up with self-administration and employment components. Rates will vary by design firm but these prices reflect a competitive market average. Finally, there will be a yearly fee charged by a hosting company to keep your website in cyberspace and store what you put up there. It’s wise to obtain a number of quotes, as well as determine what kind of storage space they offer.

3. Explore the social networking sphere
“It’s mind boggling still how many hours and how regularly people are on these sites,” says Whiting of social media forums such as Facebook and MySpace. “Check out the big chains in Canada, find their sites, see how they use it and model yours after that.”

While there is a widespread awareness of how popular social media is, how much it increases ROI is still in the experimental stages, let alone how well it serves your hiring process. What it does offer is a place for public engagement and an opportunity to brand yourself as hip, an important factor to your 15- to 24-year-old candidates. Revenue magazine offered tips on how to effectively use social media in a recent issue. The article titled ”Show me the Money”, written by Declan Dunn, looked at several business models.

One case study involved the t-shirt maker www.threadless.com. The business encourages customers to judge, promote and take pictures of its product. In return they are offered points towards future purchases, or win cash if their designs are selected. By encouraging customers to become involved in the creation of the project, the company has become part of the online social community, increased its visibility and ultimately its profits.  While this example is not directly linked to recruiting, making potential employees aware of you is half the battle and you want to appear as a great company to be involved with.

Another company, Zappos, has a training program that empowers employees to use Twitter to answer questions from people and customers, adding a new dimension to the level of customer service and engaging their staff.

The use of social media is still in its infancy in the big picture, but the use of the Internet is becoming standard, if not mandatory. Even if the web isn’t the direct link to your next hire, it stills plays a critical role in the recruitment process.

“We have a program where our current employees get paid to bring people in and that’s our number 1 recruitment tool,” says Whiting. “Our employees tell the potentials to go to the website and it takes care of everything from there.”

This is where building a employment section into your website will go a long way to streamlining the process between referral and hire. Directing candidates to your website allows them to find out more about your company and hopefully this means you’ll get more of the right applicants who want to work for you.

E-recruiting is only part of a successful human resources strategy, but it should be a well-worn plan. Upgrading your web capabilities also opens up many new doors with employee relations. Schedules can be posted online and changes can be e-mailed or texted out. Texting far surpasses e-mail in terms of timeliness and coolness, notes Whiting. If you can get your customers to opt into texting, you can send job notifications that way too. Remember, no matter where you place your job ad, your existing employees and customers are your best sources of new staff. Being technologically savvy allows you to connect with the group as a whole and promote yourself as an attractive place to work.