Best Practices and Tools for Recruiting and Retaining Employees
Here’s the good news: year over year, 2016 to 2017, the hospitality industry ranked second for job growth in Oregon at a rate of 3.9 percent. The challenge: how do we fill the 210,000 jobs we have?
With Oregon unemployment at a historic low of 4.1 percent, everyone is lamenting about the difficulty in finding employees. March’s 2018 Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast notes that “…the tight labor market is resulting in faster wage gains here in Oregon than in the typical state.” Business owners expressed concern about recent legislation to increase minimum wage, but many have told me they are now offering above minimum wage in competitive attempts to attract workers.
Nationwide, an almost unbelievable and very disheartening and expensive fact - 72.5 percent of people left their foodservice or hospitality positions in 2017. While we struggle with the high cost of hiring associates, the conversation is also turning to the high cost of losing employees. Training time, costly product and customer service mistakes, and overtime paid to cover unfilled positions are direct hits to the bottom line.
I was fascinated to find a Turnover Cost Calculator with a shocking example. For a business that had 150 employees, and a turnover rate of ‘only’ 11 percent, a reduction in turnover of 20 percent would save an estimated $313,000 annually in training and opportunity costs. Check it out and use this template to estimate your own potential savings: bit.ly/TurnoverCostCalculate.
Emerging Best Practices Addressing the Employment Challenge
While some managers interpret that the current generation lacks a focus on and commitment to employment and loyalty, others are finding creative and successful ways to help fill positions and reduce turnover by addressing the priorities of today’s employee.
I think Jack Altman, CEO of Lattice, summed it up well when he wrote “Younger workers… prioritize things like personal growth and career opportunity over income and job security. Giving your employees authentic opportunities for growth is something you have to build into the fabric of your company.” You can read more at bit.ly/2sHIfee.
Interpretation. We, as an industry, can find ROI in nurturing employees’ values to attract and retain them by offering pathways and assistance to help them meet their goals. One way to do this is via education and training.
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat people well enough so they don’t want to.” - Richard Branson
There is growing proof that this approach is working, and that the investment pays off. CNBC does a nice round-up at http://cnb.cx/2JFBt2i where they note;
More Tools on the Horizon!
ORLA’s Education Foundation partnered with the Oregon Coast Visitors Association and the owners of the Overleaf Lodge & Spa, Kristin and Drew Roslund, this year to secure grants from Travel Oregon and the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund. Funds awarded were used to pilot a workforce development program in Waldport. The target was recruitment and retention via a program that offered free skills-based certifications.
From this effort we developed an encouraging relationship with enthusiastic partners at WorkSource Oregon in Lincoln County. WorkSource Oregon is a network of public and private partners who work together to “effectively respond to workforce challenges through high-quality services to individuals and business, resulting in job attainment, retention, and advancement.” They are the agencies most in touch with untapped populations who could help fill those 210,000 jobs and provide critical support for both the employee and employer in that effort.
Our next step is to expand our partnerships and phase-in a more comprehensive program. We believe the model has potential to replicate throughout the state, and our hope would be to leverage available state and federal training funds and Oregon Employment Department staff expertise to help serve industry’s workforce needs. An unexpected benefit was learning about the resources WorkSource offers to our employees, previously unknown to most of us! These include funding and staff support for employees such as uniform purchase, housing and transportation vouchers, and skills and mental health counseling.
We are encouraged by the potential to offer hospitality business partners more active assistance with our industry’s workforce challenge and our organizations will be providing regular updates and resources. | Wendy Popkin, ORLAEF
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 32-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.”