President of People Report, Teresa Siriani, challenged Dine America attendees to hire from the entire labor pool, customize employee rewards, and create an employee brand during her speech to the group this afternoon.

As president of the industry’s leading provider of human resource metrics, benchmarks, and trends, Siriani showed audience members the ROI of creating a diverse team of employees, specifically how employee turnover dropped with an increase in female and Hispanic managers.

“We can’t just think that the best restaurant manager is 30 years old,” she says. “The best restaurant manager can be younger than that and can be a lot older than that too. The identity of the manager is changing.”

In the near future, Siriani predicts that quick-service will begin to feel competition from another growing industry looking for unskilled labor, the healthcare industry. With aging baby boomers relying more on hospital and at-home care, Siriani says that the quick-service industry will have to begin widening its traditional pool of employees.

“Our restaurant manager used to come to us because we were the only game in town, for someone who didn’t necessarily want to go get their full degree, now they can go to healthcare or pre-school education,” she says.

As a solution to the increased competition, Siriani advised the crowd to begin branding its employment. Two example concepts she named as successfully achieving this were Starbucks and Hard Rock Café. Just as companies work with marketing teams to brand their food and drink offerings, they should also begin to think about ways to actively recruit employees. Technology such as social networking sites and Internet rewards and coupons were ways Siriani said companies could successfully reach potential employees.

For the rest of the afternoon Dine America attendees will sit in on educational sessions on topics such as green building, takeout trends, and multiunit leadership.

QSR magazine’s 5th annual executive idea exchange, Dine America, began yesterday in Houston, Texas, at the Hilton Americas Hotel Downtown. Here, operators and executives from across the country have gathered to be informed and inspired by some of the foodservice industry’s top leaders.

QSR magazine and its Web site are the leading sources of news and information about the $180 billion-plus quick-service industry.

People Report offers best practices across the food service sectors and Siriani gave some examples during her speech today. Among the brands she listed as having “figured out employee branding best” were Starbucks and Hard Rock Café.