Recruiting and Retaining the Perfect Team
If you currently work in the food business, then you’re already well aware that the old saying, “Good help is hard to find,” is still a very modern problem. You know that putting your business in a position to succeed on your own has never been more difficult.
As an international network of food industry trailblazers who are immersed and active in every segment of the local food industry, Affinity Group is here to help you in recruiting and retaining the perfect team. We have the inside tips and information you need to recruit, train, and retain your own talented team of professionals.
Recruitment is an ongoing process, and you must be proactive to recruit efficiently. It all starts by taking the time to honestly assess and anticipate your future needs. When you are in a situation where you are reactive, you may not be getting your best hire.
Current employees and clients are a great source for referrals, as they generally recommend people they know and count on and whom they believe are a good fit.
Be transparent about what the job entails. Whenever possible, let potential candidates see your business in action so they can see themselves as a member of your team.
Finding good people is always a challenge in any industry. Retaining talent is extremely challenging in the foodservice industry. The state of the economy, geography, competition for talent with other employers in the area and the right cultural fit are just some of the factors that come into play.
The key to keeping good talent is creating a positive work environment and culture. Today’s workforce places a tremendous value on working for employers who understand the importance of work life balance and it’s a key factor in determining why many stay long term once they are hired.
Focusing solely on the experience of a potential candidate is a mistake. Every foodservice position requires a standard set of skills, but most (if not all) can be learned on the job and through training. Are they passionate? Enthusiastic to go the extra mile? Approachable? Those are the intangibles that you can’t teach.
Look for a positive attitude, passion, as well as a commitment to the culinary arts, their craft and the service industry. Placing a premium on a potential candidate’s inherent character traits is an important factor when finding successful, long-term employees. Candidates that are well spoken, efficient with their time, work well under pressure, and who anticipate the needs of and wants of your customers are also invaluable qualities to seek in potential new hires.
The adage “what you put in is what you get out” couldn’t be truer for the foodservice industry. In other words, invest and train your people and they are more likely to be satisfied employees that serve your customers well.
Online training programs are a great resource to help new hires because they work well and help them learn at a time that is best suited for them. In addition to providing training, it’s important that the team member knows why they are being asked to do what they do. It might not be as obvious as you think. When the “why” of a task is explained, there tends to be a higher success rate for it being done properly.
As the boss you need to hear what your team is saying, both with your words and in your actions. A top-down only management style may not serve you well in the long run. Employees truly appreciate the effort that goes into engaging in a two-way dialogue. The folks that do the workday in and day out are a valuable resource to call upon if something needs adjusting or a new program or service needs to be added or revised.
When an employee feels heard, validated, and is engaged, they are much more willing to stay and even go above and beyond. A great way to do this is to offer opportunities for open conversations such as weekly or bi-monthly meetings.
A thank you goes a long way. Showing appreciation for your staff’s contributions is a great way to reinforce their importance to the organization. Listen to their concerns and value their contributions.
Your employees are people with lives outside of work and taking time to recognize them as individuals builds trust and loyalty. Recognizing their birthdays and important life events with a card and a small gift helps create a positive team environment.
Building a great team is the key to forming the backbone of a successful business. With the right people behind you, your business can thrive. Always remember the experts at Affinity Group are with you every step of the way. As a Great Place To Work® certified business, our experience in all aspects of the foodservice and food retail industry make us the perfect partner to help you drive results for your business as you continue to Build Your Bridge to Local Sales Success.