In the era of ‘The Great Resignation’ it is very much an employee's market. How can franchisees, often hiring for the first time, recruit the best people – and keep them?
Before the pandemic, many of us saw the world differently. Before the age of hand sanitiser and awkward elbow bumps, those of us not fortunate enough to be our own boss, had employers dictate large parts of our working life. But things have changed. Having spent the best part of two years stuck at home, employees have en-masse re-evaluated the importance of a healthy work-life balance and working conditions and now with plenty of available jobs, they can afford to be picky.
Franchisees across a number of industries will likely find themselves responsible for hiring as they look to expand or even open for the first time. This is not something that comes naturally to everyone and requires its own set of skills.
David Delacy Jones, director of franchise development at Kenect Recruitment, agrees that there are challenges to this moment in time with higher pay being a key motivator. “It is a very, very candidate-driven market at the moment, the candidates are driving the market through salary expectation.” But we can’t all offer sector-leading wages.
When salaries are non-negotiable, candidates often look for incentives to make a role more attractive. This is often something that franchisees can offer to improve employee work-life balance such as flexible hours, the option to work from home or as Delacy Jones outlines, “employers are now offering health care insurance. They’re offering medical and dental and optical insurance. They’re offering bonuses which wasn’t a big thing in the past because it was based on salary.”
On the hunt for the perfect candidate
Sanjeev Sanghera, MD and co-founder of Döner Haus and Döner Shack, admits that the hospitality industry has garnered a bad reputation for how they treat staff. Having seen the dark side of zero-hour contracts himself, Sanghera is not one to subject his employees to similar treatment. He firmly states: “We don’t offer zero-hour contracts.”
Thus, giving his staff the peace of mind of a stable income, which is a big draw to job hunters.
In 2022, the interview process for many jobs is now different. Remote interviews are considered the standard. This might make it harder for franchisees to get an overall impression of applicants, but Delacy Jones sees the benefits.
“The time save is immense,” he says. Recruiters can now “do multiple Teams calls which is very easy because you’re not asking someone to come and visit.” When asked if the remote process lets recruiters see more candidates, his answer is an unequivocal “100 per cent yes.”
David would always suggest using a recruiter when possible but giving advice for those choosing to hire candidates themselves, he warns: “If they’ve had a number of jobs over a short period of time, that’s a red flag.” He goes on to explain one key question recruiters ask themselves, “can we match the skills (of the applicant) to what our potential customers are looking for?” This logic applies to franchisees recruiting employees as well. Are you willing to train someone to grow into the role or do you need them to come in fully ready to go? If it’s the latter you may have to pay a premium.
Sanghera prefers to simplify things, he explains: “If you find someone reliable, who turns up every day and has a good attitude, then you are 90 per cent of the way there. You can then help them develop their skills to get to the next stage and you can start to help shape their career.”
The missing piece of the puzzle
Of course, no one has a perfect record in recruitment. There are simply too many factors involved to guarantee a new hire is right for the job. Even agencies encounter these situations, as David says, “It’s the very nature of it, we all started our jobs with our employer thinking that we’re the best thing they’ve seen. It doesn’t always work out that way.” This is why probationary periods exist, and if either party is unhappy then chalk it up to experience and begin the process again.
One of the best ways to ensure a hire hits the ground running is to employ people whose work culture aligns with that of the company. This is something Sanghera looks for in his recruitment process: “do they actually want to work because they enjoy and love what they’re doing? Are they motivated by the vision of what we’re trying to achieve collectively? Or are they a pickup a wage, clockwatching type?”
As well as interviews, Döner Shack regularly offers paid trial shifts to evaluate candidates in the conditions they could expect if they get the job. He stresses the importance that such trials are paid to show candidates you are committing to them.
Of course, recruitment is nothing without the ability to hold on to star employees once you’ve found them.
Working in hospitality, a sector that has a particularly high staff turnover, Sanghera knows this all too well. “It’s about lifestyle, about work-life balance, experiences, about creating memories as a team and that is very, very important to us,” he says.
While he admits that paying staff “slightly over the average industry rates” helps, incentives don’t have to be purely financial. Döner Shack and Döner Haus regularly work with their brewing partners to reward employees with brewery tours in Germany and other once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Sanghera says: “These are really exciting trips away and you’re able to say to your team that you get all-expenses-paid trips for performing really well within our company. Creating memories as a team is very important.”
Andrew Sansom is a content writer for What Franchise.