Executive Director’s Message: October 2016

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Gregg Fraser, HRA Executive Director

We talk a lot about rising employee costs, what with minimum wage going up each year until it reaches $10.10 by January 1st, 2018. In addition, other employee related costs are also going up. But that is only part of the problem when it comes to restaurant staffing, the first concern is where to find them. And then finding qualified workers and retaining these employees with so many new restaurants opening.

Oahu is seeing huge growth in many segments, which gives an individual more options for either part time or full time employment. With a shrinking pool of candidates and more and more restaurants opening every month, where will these candidates come from? Will they be trained? Are how long will they stay on? All are questions that plague the recruiting for restaurants.

As a highly competitive labor market employers are forced to use creative ways to find qualified employees. Candidates want to be courted, much like dating, and they are much more technically savvy than ever. Quite often, they are already involved and will need to be lured away from a current job. That means that the candidate that you are looking for is most likely not looking for you. They are probably happily employed and do not know that you are looking for them. The top 10 percent of candidates in each profession do not actively seek out employment, meaning that you have to go out and get them.

The five most commonly reported themes by effective business owners to attract and retain top employees are:
1. Recognition
2. Professional growth opportunities
3. Clear expectations
4. Trust and autonomy
5. Fair compensation

This means that employees are looking to come on board with companies that provide consistent and frequent reviews, have a real opportunity to further their career, and clearly define job duties and performance expectations, but still allow for a bit of flexibility without micromanagement. Fair compensation is listed as the fifth most important attribute, so without the top four needs being met by the employer, there is only one option: overpay for performance.

The Hawaii Restaurant Association (HRA) is working on efforts to increase the amount of candidates working within the industry. HRA is in the works with an on-line job portal and instituting the HRA Educational Foundation, training High School students, through the ProStart Program, to work in the foodservice industry. This will continue to get worse if we don’t start our future candidates at an early age.

For more information contact: HRA Office / 808-944-9105 / info@hawaiirestaurant.org

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