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Building a solid next-gen team

Millennials treat work too casually. They are entitled. They are tethered to their smartphones. These are some of the stereotypes millennials are pegged with. Yet it’s these millennial stereotypes—overgeneralizations or not—that are changing the face of the workforce. Put another way, millennials aren’t afraid to talk to anyone in an organization; they’re driven to achieve; they embrace tech to ease processes. And by 2025, millennials will make up three-fourths of the workforce, says Minneapolis researcher BridgeWorks. So how do operators get the right young workers in the door—and on the path to success?

For this age group in particular, the hiring process begins before the candidate ever sets foot inside the operation. According to a study by CareerBuilder, millennials may consult up to 15 resources to research employers. So operators must be conscious of their online image, says Donna Herbel, lead director of training and development for Memphis-based Perkins & Marie Callender’s.

Millennial workers, like customers, also connect to brands via their stories. “To attract and retain millennials, employers have to have something bigger than themselves, have a cause,” says Gabe Hosler, director of training and operations services for Carlsbad, Calif.-based Mexican chain Rubio’s. The sustainability message it touts to consumers, for example, has resonated with prospective staffers as well, he says.

Once hired, getting millennial recruits up to speed might mean re-evaluating longstanding procedures. For example, Hosler has found that millennial workers don’t see the reason behind memorizing a manual. “They say, ‘Give me the least amount of information needed to get my job done.’ Over time, they pick up on more,” he says.

At Perkins & Marie Callender’s, Herbel took a similar approach, instituting what she calls the Rule of 8 Minutes: How much can a person grab, retain and act on in eight minutes? A sense of urgency on getting people active translates to improved buy-in versus spending a few days reading stuff,” she says.

And remember, most millennials still are searching for their dream jobs; CareerBuilder data shows only 23 percent are satisfied with their careers.  By showing through hiring and training practices, that the workplace is welcoming to employees of all demographics, foodservice has a compelling story to tell.  

This story originally ran in FoodService Director’s sister publication, Restaurant Business magazine.

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