From the Editor: Changing the Narrative

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Photo by Nick Wong

Professor and author Brené Brown has said “We are all mapmakers and we must be cartographers of our own lives.” These days, it’s hard for any of us to believe we have any control over our lives, let alone chart our own courses, however, as we now move towards recovery — and work creatively to re-open businesses — it’s becoming increasingly important to devote energy to create that roadmap, highlighting what you need to do to move forward on a new path.

With labour shortages a pervasive threat to the sustainability of the foodservice industry, that roadmap will now need to take into consideration myriad new ways the industry can change the narrative to ensure it can successfully attract and retain employees. Unequivocally, that is the industry’s number-1 challenge.

With the foodservice-and-hospitality industry experiencing a large exodus of workers from its ranks, it’s clear today’s employees are in the driver’s seat and are now looking for different considerations and incentives to not only lure them into the foodservice industry, but keep them there.

While there’s ongoing debate as to whether money is, in fact, the biggest driver in attracting employees, according to a recent report commissioned by U.S.-based Beekeeeper, higher pay is clearly a common denominator cited by individuals, fuelling an increase in wages across many sectors. That same study also found that cash-strapped employees in the foodservice industry are looking for expedited pay, asking for same-day or next-day pay.

It’s time employers become more creative in their quest to attract employees — especially where it concerns attracting Gen-Z applicants. Increasingly, says the study, employers are utilizing social-media platforms as a way to reach out to this new generation of workers while others are implementing incentive-driven referral programs to leverage their existing employee base as an additional avenue for recruitment.

The report also found a disconnect between the needs of frontline workers and what their managers think they need. According to the survey, 80 per cent of frontline workers rated context about why and when things change as a key factor in their workplace happiness, while interestingly, only 13 per cent of managers rated context as a top management tool. And, not surprisingly, one in three workers rate under-staffed teams as their top stressor, underscoring the importance of maintaining adequate staffing to avoid burnout.

Finally, the report confirmed frontline managers and team leads have a massive impact on the employee experience. After all, “they are responsible for creating a positive work environment, and play a pivotal role in employee retention and productivity.”

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