How to hire foodservice employees for the long haul

hiring sign notebook

Getting new hires to stick around is a constant battle for foodservice employers, says Marisa Brodie, human resources manager for Chartwells at Towson University in Baltimore County, Md. Some managers report feeling like they’re on the losing side of the skirmish. Here are three tools operators are using to arm themselves against short-cycle turnover.

A thorough vetting process

online application

In the past couple years, the dining program at Towson University developed practices to help determine which candidates are already planning their exit strategies. Now, the entire application process is completed online using software that helps match an applicant to the position. Last year, Brodie created a checklist for new-hire interviews with questions about layoff periods and union environments. She also requires that supervisors follow up on at least two references before making an offer.

Before their first day on the job, new team members must complete a two-hour safety and company policy training and orientation. “This helps to avoid any major surprises once the first day begins,” Brodie says.

A new demographic

baby boomer couple cafe

Instead of recruiting millennials, who are known for job hopping, Lori Danella zeroes in on retirees and full-time caregivers looking to make some additional income. “These are some of our most dedicated and hardworking staff,” says Danella, who is the assistant director of nutrition at Lee's Summit R-7 School District in Lee's Summit, Mo. To capture these demographics, the nutrition department advertises on its website and puts up yard signs during parent-teacher conferences and other events that would bring members of the community to the school. 

An honesty policy

talent glasses job recruiting hiring

Retaining talent is all about transparency, says Linda Paren, director of foodservices at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. “When you are recruiting and interviewing, you need to be honest about challenges the person will face in the position, that is why you need their talent and skills,” Paren says. “People do not like surprises after they are hired.”

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