Sponsored by Kronos.
In an economy that’s been tough on industry employers, it seems more and more quick-service brands are rolling out headline-grabbing approaches to attracting talent. In 2019 alone, Shake Shack announced a four-day workweek trial run for select managers, Starbucks promoted mental health services for their employees, and Chipotle made a number of splashes, including a program that allows their employees to seek college degrees on the company’s dime.
Quick-service brands are no longer just competing with other quick-service brands for employees. Amanda Nichols, senior manager of industry marketing for retail, hospitality, and foodservice at Kronos, believes that the advent of Uber, and with it, the gig economy as a whole, has fundamentally changed what employees expect from an employer. Framed a different way, many quick-service leaders are investing big money in employee-friendly measures to keep up with the changing demands created by younger workers’ affinity for the flexibility promised by the gig economy.
But not every company can afford to pay its employees’ college tuition, and no restaurant can allow employees to only work when they want, for how long they want. Nichols says there are other measures that can make quick-service brands players in the talent market. What it requires, she says, is listening to employees, finding out what they are looking for, and building a technology strategy that responds to those requests.
“Employers from all sectors—not just foodservice—are giving employees what they are asking for—fast access to pay, work-life balance, and career development opportunities, in hopes of becoming an employer of choice,” Nichols says. “These are things that aren’t that expensive, and they can go a long way.”
An adaptable human capital management (HCM) platform like Kronos can help a company implement same-day pay, and give employees the ability to easily swap a shift, which leads to better work-life balance. If those two pillars of the gig economy are offered by quick-service restaurants, then a final measure can be the difference maker: a career path.
Professional development and mentorship is important to younger demographics—according to a recent study by the Workforce Institute at Kronos, 32 percent of Gen Zers would be motivated to work harder and stay longer at a company if they have a supportive manager and clear performance-related recognition.
“You can develop a culture where the employer and employees make a commitment to each other based around continuous learning,” Nichols says. “Not only does that give employees a motivation and desire to stay, in return the company gains personnel equipped with the skills necessary to fuel the company’s future growth.”
Nichols indicates that the challenges faced by quick-service restaurant leaders today are just the tip of the iceberg. Brands that fall behind will be wholly unprepared for what comes next.
“As the foodservice landscape changes and automation increases, some of those advancements are going to require an adaptable, well-trained workforce,” Nichols says. “And if you’ve got that culture in place where you’re committed to your employees and you’re going to help them get there, employees are going to stick with you for the long haul as they learn these new skills and become a part of this automated economy that we are all anticipating.”
For more on how technology can help companies retain employees, visit the Kronos website.
By Charlie Pogacar