Making sure you choose the right fit for a new hire is about as important as ensuring you’re not sticking an American plug into a European socket on your Euro Vacay. Let me tell you: If it doesn’t fit, it will not work. We’ve seen time and time again where restaurants, or any employer for that matter, will spend countless dollars and hours in the hiring process only to fire that person a few weeks or months into employment. I like to call it the revolving employee door, and that door is simply not a good look. It’s an absurd process that does nothing but drive your bottom line into the ground and waste time. The mentality behind hiring is frequently based around skills alone, and rarely do hiring managers think about how that person will fit into the bigger picture. That’s not to say skills aren’t important, because they are; they are simply not the most important factor when hiring.
If you’ve listened to our most recent Podcast Episode, you had the opportunity to hear Adam Schlegel, Co-Founder of Snooze an AM Eatery, and RSI Partner/Strategic Development Officer, Matt Vannini, discuss best practices on hiring a team for the long haul. If you haven’t listened yet, do; Adam offers some strong insight on how he and his brother Jon transformed Snooze into a culture of freedom and creativity amongst their team. I won’t spoil the episode, but a common thread woven throughout their conversation is to hire for aspiration versus functionality. You have two people: One who is extremely motivated and aspires to become an integral piece of your restaurant’s success, bigger picture in mind, but rusty in his/her particular skill set; another who is lights out when it comes to his/her skills, but lacks the motivation to do the simplest of tasks; who do you pick? You hire for attitude first, and then you train for skill. Clearly, some form of base proficiency is necessary to perform any job properly, but anything more than that can be taught – as long as YOU set the standard. Bringing that revolving employee door to end starts directly with you. If you set the standard and present the job in the same way in which you desire it performed, you will get an entirely new set of people knocking on your door.
Determining the right fit for a new hire, while not easy, is undoubtedly one of the most effective solutions in long term labor management within your restaurant. It has become a necessity to look beyond the surface and dissect exactly what your restaurant needs within each team member, as well as determining the standard within each position. Set clear boundaries for each job code and hire people who want to assist you in reaching the long term goals of the restaurant. This philosophy will allow you the ability to enable your team members to take on each position and make it their own. Give them freedom in their personal creativity and you’ll quickly see that because they are the right fit, you will feel entirely confident in their representation of your ultimate vision. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric (GE) understands this sentiment better than anyone, and his quote says it all: “If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings – and put compensation as a carrier behind it – you almost don’t have to manage them.”