Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Issue II, 2017 - Page 54

BY SARA WYKES FindersKeepers A BECOME THE EMPLOYER OF CHOICE IN YOUR MARKETS fter 25 years in the restaurant business, Mike Richey knows that an offer of a dollar more per hour from a competitor can be too much for an employee to re- fuse. Richey, who operates five Golden Corrals, wishes his employees well when they leave. But that’s not the end of the story. A couple of weeks later he calls them to ask if they’d like to return to their old job—a practice that has paid off for him over the years. “People are flattered that we care enough to call,” says Richey, who once worked at Golden Corral corporate as a mid-level director. “We start by asking if they’d like to come back for at least one day a week, on whatever time off they have from their new job.” After about two weeks, Richey says, the honeymoon with the new job is over. Also, it takes about four weeks before an employee is officially terminated in his company’s records system. Employees who return before that window closes retain their accumulated paid vacation time. For employees with five years’ tenure or more, that amounts to three weeks. “We don’t call everybody back,” says Richey. “We focus on the best and rely on our unit managers to make that call, but one in three people we call do come back.” Richey’s come-on-back call is an effec- tive response to one piece of the classic triad of key operational challenges multi- unit franchisee organizations confront: recruiting, training, and retaining the best people. Conquering this challenge requires thinking beyond the traditional, whether through “day in the life” job videos that appeal to Millennials, or 52 MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE I SS UE II , 2 01 7 private Facebook groups for employees to exchange problem-solving tips and advice. We looked around for other in- novative approaches to solving the em- ployment “big three” and found several ideas worth sharing. Finding the best Social media platforms have become the go-to first step for recruiting hourly work- ers. Sites such as LinkedIn can be useful for higher-level jobs, but Brent Veach, whose 40 Del Taco restaurants make him the brand’s largest single franchisee, turns Brent Veach to other online recruitment websites to find hourly employees. These include PeopleMatter, Snagajob, and Indeed— and he updates his ads regularly. He also offers his employees bonuses for successful referrals. And in this per- haps overly digital age, he adds another old-school technique: he posts notices for available positions in the windows and on the counters of his restaurants. These eye-catching notices, seen by thousands of people who visit his restaurants, tap into a pool of potential employees already familiar with the brand. Familiarity is also at the core of an- other effective employee recruitment tool. Brandon Hill was just out of high school when he began working at Pinch A Penny Pool Patio and Spa stores, which today has more than 230 locations. He stayed with the franchise, rose through the ranks, and became part owner of mul- tiple Pinch A Penny locations in Florida. Today Hill and his wife, Mackenzie Hill, own two locations in Louisiana, where he is duplicating his own path to success for his employees by considering them as high-priority candidates for advancement. “Promotion from within has been our most effective tool,” says Hill. “We’ve had great success in moving our hourly part- ners to certification as trainers, then to hourly shift leaders, and, finally, to man- agement.” He says half the open positions he posts are filled by current employees, a fact potential new hires find attractive. Seeing the opportunities for promotion from within, he says, “inspires our people to strive for that next position—and that’s great for the quality of our operations, as well as morale.”