Okay, I know they say time flies but, can you believe it’s almost New Year’s Eve? If you’re anything like me, you’re already thinking about your new year’s resolutions.

New Year’s is the perfect opportunity to start fresh. Clean slate, the beginning of a new chapter, right? We usually come up with a list of all the things that we wish to accomplish or change for the upcoming year. It’s the perfect chance to upgrade to a better version of ourselves. And as I’m sitting here writing my list, I’m thinking how nice it would be to rub a lamp and get a genie to grant me three wishes just to help me out a little.

Can you imagine?

If you work in the hospitality industry, you know how challenging it can be to not only find staff but to keep it. As amazing as this industry is, when communication is not done right, you risk losing your staff.

This year, become your own genie and grant your team not three, but four wishes.

1. Ditch the old-school paper schedule.

You probably have it pinned to a board, or posted somewhere in the kitchen collecting dirty fingertips. It’s time to turn paper into magic. This year, you can turn paper into a digital schedule, where you can not only email it to employees (one or two weeks in advance), but you can save the template! So that the following week, you have more time to yourself and do not have to create a schedule from zero. It will also keep you in the loop in case anything changes.

2. Delete the text group chats.

Now let’s face it. Nobody likes having a ton of different group chats on Whatsapp, or people texting you about their schedule or their shift. Here comes your second wish: a customized group message and newsfeed. This way, you’ll have your whole team organized by role, location, or unit and create a space to communicate more efficiently. (Without having to blow up your phone!) You can also upload any kind of media to motivate your staff and use it as you would any other social media.

3. Clear your email notifications.

The third wish is something that we can all use a little help with. Have you ever been in a meeting when someone mentions an important email that you “never got”? To then realize that you got it but it got lost in the sea that’s your Inbox. Well, this year you will not miss any emails that contain important information. You’ll have in-app messaging and push notifications that will alert you of anything that you can’t miss. Like a change in schedule, or somebody calling in sick. No more feeling like you were left behind with any information.

4. Stop chasing after ghosts.

And as if this wasn’t enough help already, this year you get a fourth and extra wish. Are you ready? No more ghosting in the hiring process. As we all know, the onboarding process is the most important part of recruiting because it’s the first impression that your candidates have. It’s either going to make them stay, or make them consider running away.

To avoid this, you’ll be able to take care of the long and daunting process of filling out and sending paperwork to new hires, by creating a digital onboarding process. This way, it’s a two-way street between candidates and managers where they can communicate and receive feedback throughout the whole process. Plus, you’ll still have the chance to interview face to face, it will just simplify the process afterward. No more waiting for weeks to hear back if they were hired or if they disappeared. Now, they won’t have the chance to run away.

2023 is right around the corner. We might not have flying cars yet, but we sure have the best way to make sure that the hospitality industry can run smoothly and better every day. When you combine technology and human connection, you are creating the winning formula.

Make frontline employee experience tech part of your resolutions list this year. It will help you create a better and more magical talent experience.

After all, who doesn’t want a little help from a genie?

With so many more vacancies available than job seekers right now – not just in hospitality but in other competing sectors too – getting your job ads seen and persuading good quality candidates to apply is tougher than ever.

That was certainly the experience of a large franchise of Papa John’s, the popular pizza chain, which was coming up against a raft of hiring obstacles.

A New Approach To Help Reduce Candidate Ghosting

Managers at Papa John’s were facing an uphill struggle to recruit, with job postings getting lost amongst similar positions on crowded jobs boards, candidates being lost due to long application screening times, candidates “ghosting” (not turning up for) interviews or follow-ups, and high-quality candidates getting buried within large volumes of applications.

“In today’s challenging labour market, sifting through applications, identifying qualified candidates, and playing the interview coordination game is a full-time job – and the more time it takes, the more good candidates you lose,” said Luke Fryer, founder and CEO of Harri. ”

Papa John’s partnered with the Harri team to launch a pilot project to use Harri’s innovative conversational AI, Carri, to answer employment related questions, accept applications, screen candidates, and schedule interviews in real time.

Meet Carri: Papa John’s Newest Recruiter

After the pilot program was over, the data was clear: with Carri, applications went up, ghosting went down, and quality hires significantly increased.

Carri helps candidates apply on the go through their preferred channel, whether that’s WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or web-based chat on a careers page. They can communicate instantly, friction is removed, and the application process is easier and more flexible.

For the Papa John’s franchise, one of the main attractions of using Carri was that managers had the power to customize application questions or content by location and role, meaning they could be sure of attracting the right candidates, with the right skills, in the right role, at the right stage in the candidate’s journey.

In just 30 days with Carri, the franchise experienced a 23.36% increase in the number of applicants, while 34% more qualified candidates were invited to interview.

Plus,100% of applicants were intelligently screened in real-time, which eliminated the risk of talent being lost due to the administrative burden of screening applications.

Carri auto-scheduled interviews with candidates who passed the screen, and sent friendly, branded communications to those who didn’t, thus lowering admin time, reducing time to hire, and increasing application-to-hire ratios. What’s more, the franchise experienced an over 85% interview show rate, thanks to Carri’s automated reminders. Post-interview, Carri was able to gather feedback from candidates and guide them to the next steps, as well as maintain engagement and optimize the hiring process.

A New Way To Hire

After the pilot, the Papa John’s franchise was in no doubt that hiring in the traditional way – relying on job boards and tasking managers with all the legwork of screening candidates, etc – should be consigned to the past.

While job boards alone might yield application quantity, they don’t produce such good results when it comes to quality: around 1% of those who apply from a job board are actually taken on, and less than 5% of those interviewed get hired.

What’s more, keeping job seekers offline and off jobs boards, and getting them to interact with your brand as an employer directly (either in person or via SMS), yields application-to-hire ratios that point north of 40%.

As Papa John’s discovered, Carri enables you to turn applications into conversations that lead right through to hiring success.

You too can add Carri to your recruitment process and transform the way you hire.

Learn more here.

Compliance Counts: Your Business is at Risk if you Don’t Take it Seriously 

Compliance – the word might be yawn-inducing, but the consequences of not taking it seriously can be eye-watering.

Companies that fail to adhere to employment laws can end up facing fines running into tens of millions (be that dollars or pounds, the impact is the same), and the trickiest part of it all is that the regulations are in a constant state of flux.

In the U.S. in particular, the regulatory environment is growing more stringent, as more states adopt regulations like Fair Workweek standards which dictate schedule and hour restrictions to ensure people are not taken advantage of.

Harri’s focus on labor-related compliance is led by our dedicated Chief Compliance Officer Wendy Harkness, who brings a broad and deep experience across compliance, legal, the HR landscape.

We sat down with Wendy to find out what the burning issues are in compliance right now and how Harri helps customers cut through compliance complexity.

Harri Insider Team: Tell us a little bit about your background and what your role with Harri involves.

Wendy: I’ve worked primarily in the food service/hospitality industry for almost the whole of my career, with the last couple of decades as a Chief People Officer and Chief Legal Officer/General Counsel.

My team and I routinely analyze the ever-changing regulatory landscape to advise Harri’s Product and Development teams on pending, changing and new legislation, which is used to maintain and update our software. I talk to the product team 3-5 times a week, sometimes several times a day, to really make sure we’re ready for different things that are coming down the pipe.

HIT: Do you think that hospitality operators, in general, devote enough resources to compliance, and if not why do you think that is?

W: For an industry with incredibly slim margins before the pandemic, costs skyrocketed during and after Covid, along with mandatory compliance. Operators have less time, resources and budget for compliance today than they ever have, but the need for strict compliance is greater than ever, too. It is an extremely delicate balancing act for operators.

One thing I would add is that compliance does not fail in the boardroom – everybody in the boardroom fully understands compliance and why it’s so critical. Where it really fails is with general managers. I’ve been involved in many, many multi-million-dollar lawsuits throughout my history and it’s sad that these things [mistakes] happen on that frontline.

HIT: How crucial is it to ensure your business is compliant with workforce management laws?

W: Companies live or die by compliance because it can literally bankrupt you. For example, when you get down to a franchise model, which foodservice is filled with, franchisees absolutely cannot sustain a loss of $20m in fines. Aside from exorbitant fines, non-compliance can lead to agency investigations, reputational harm, loss of business licenses and even criminal charges in some cases.

HIT: What are customers’ biggest concerns right now when it comes to compliance – both in the US and the UK?

W: Some of the biggest concerns in both countries include the pace and scale of changing regulations, lack of ability to translate the complex, legislative requirements into compliance protocols that operators can follow, the cost, time and resources needed to keep frontline managers trained, and the exorbitant cost of failing to adhere to exacting regulations.

In the U.S., several states are doubling down on compliance requirements – expanding already difficult-to-comply-with regulations, increasing penalties for less-than-perfect compliance, and introducing sectoral bargaining like the FAST Act, which was recently passed in California.

In 2022 the UK has seen several compliance-related changes, including new requirements for gender, ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting, the move to a single enforcement body with increased powers, limitations on NDA (non-disclosure agreements) and the return to full right-to-work checks. 2023 will usher in even more changes like statutory maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption pay, as well as parental bereavement and maternity pay.

HIT: How is Harri supporting customers on compliance? 

W: Keeping up with new and changing legislation is a full-time endeavor and without dedicated compliance personnel, which few hospitality businesses have, managers are ill-equipped to decipher, train, track and enforce the myriad Federal, state and local requirements with which companies must comply.

Harri’s integrated compliance platform – which is continually being updated to reflect the dynamic world of compliance – is a game-changer. It’s no wonder scores of businesses trust Harri as their compliance partner.

HIT: What does the future of compliance look like? 

W: With the right partner, the future of compliance is bright. Compliance can be a beast, but even a beast can be tamed. Compliance is no longer just for “big” companies – it is for all companies. With so many Federal, state and local regulations, compliance can surely be daunting but failing to comply is not an option and ignorance is not a defense. Exemplary compliance is obtainable. Harri can help.

Do you feel you’re facing compliance chaos? Wendy and the Harri team are here to help so you can reduce your risk and worry less. Learn more about our integrated compliance approach here.

The frontline’s needs have been largely forgotten. This has never been more resonant than in the post-pandemic environment, where the enormous pressure placed upon the workforce is making it extremely difficult to hire, engage, and retain.

A key part of the employee experience that needs more attention is onboarding. If the hiring process is an example of ‘here’s what you’ll get when you work for us,’ then your onboarding experience is how you can put that into action.

Here are four ways to avoid the ‘quick quit’ through engagement:

1. Go Digital To Meet Changing Expectations

COVID-19 brought QR codes and digital menus to the forefront of the dining experience, and employees and consumers now expect online touchpoints – in fact, they demand it. But implementing this technology could actually benefit you as a business owner, too. According to McKinsey & Company, organisations that excel at personalization generate 40% more revenue. But what exactly do new and existing employees want to see?

The latest CGA report (in partnership with Harri) revealed that 38% of hospitality employees think workplace technology has become more important post-pandemic. At the same time, 45% want to see workplace technology significantly improve. This accentuates the need for employers to invest in digital technology, to make all aspects of the employee experience safer and more convenient – and that starts with smooth onboarding.

You can alleviate administrative work and deliver a more seamless new hire experience with an online onboarding solution. These solutions digitise the entire onboarding process and keep all relevant information in a single, compliant place. As the documents can be signed and reviewed online, new hires can self-onboard before their first day, allowing more time for training and a memorable experience.

Once onboarded, new hires should be brought up to speed with the technologies they’ll use in the workplace so they can hit the ground running. If you don’t provide proper training and support from the start, you could experience high turnover and low productivity from new staff. This is particularly true for young workers who are just starting out in their careers.

Did you know that a negative onboarding experience doubles the chances of an employee seeking another opportunity?

2. Train For The Swiss Army Knife Employee

Service jobs are multi-faceted. The average worker juggles around 11 tasks (including other employee’s tasks) daily. This number is even higher for morning workers, who have on average 23 tasks each shift. Having a single staff member manage numerous tasks can lead to mistakes, but with in-depth training from the first day, you can avoid these entirely.

The CGA report found that 37% of hospitality employees think their training is too basic or too long. Only a small percentage of workers are “very satisfied” that their training has equipped them for their duties. It’s clear that to retain talent, businesses need to find a balance between the best length for onboarding, initial training, and ongoing education.

One simple and cost-effective way to improve training and keep talent on board is to connect them with your existing teams. This could be through ad-hoc meetings or shadowing to ensure they learn the ropes and gain the skills to succeed. It’ll also help new hires gain a clearer picture of the growth and development opportunities in your business.

An intelligent conversational ambassador will enable your team to connect with each other via text and other familiar apps such as Facebook Messenger. These can be used to support onboarding, capture feedback on training to see what’s working (and what isn’t), and celebrate key employee milestones to keep your people engaged.

3. Prioritise Employee Wellbeing From The Start

Staff well-being is a number one priority for employees – but there’s still a long way to go. Currently, 52% of workers believe their employers aren’t doing enough to support staff well-being, and 38% receive no help for a better work-life balance.

As such, employers must normalise the conversation about mental health and wellbeing from the moment someone joins, show genuine care for staff, and point them in the direction of support. If you have mental health programmes in place, how can they join? And what incentives does your company offer as part of a wellness package?

These are important questions that new hires are likely to ask during the onboarding process.

If you’re struggling to identify where there are problems or concerns from staff in your workplace, start with a workforce management platform that gives you insight into employee engagement. These help you build a better workplace for everyone, with actionable insights on employee sentiment about onboarding, manager performance, and scheduling. With these insights, you can take care of your team when they need it most.

4. Shine A Spotlight On Career Growth

Despite the range of opportunities in hospitality, the industry is often perceived as a stop-gap solution for students and graduates to earn some extra money. Over 40% of people who work in the industry are currently studying, saving, or seeking work in other sectors, while only 23% have chosen hospitality as a career.

The possibility of career growth should be clear from the beginning, and onboarding is a great opportunity to advise new hires on how they can progress in hospitality. This could be through a clear career development plan and as they shadow existing employees.

Using an online onboarding platform, employers can upload customised documents (such as career development plans) for new hires to review before they begin their hospitality journey. You can even see when these documents have been sent, opened, and signed.

Ready To 86 The Quick Quit?

It’s clear that a great new hire experience sets the tone for a great employee experience. To learn more about how to leverage technology to power a seamless frontline employee experience, request a free demo today!

Our team has assessed thousands of buying processes - from point solutions to global full-suite rollouts at companies of all sizes and industries. We combined our experience with conversations we had with leaders from some of the top digital transformation firms in the HR Tech space and practitioners that have gone through this process - with failure and success. We found incredible consistency between all of the success stories and even more with the failures.   While more than 80% of companies have undertaken digital transformation initiatives in the last five years, only 16% say these have successfully improved performance and equipped them to sustain changes in the long term

We have identified three key steps when buying HR technology: Planning & Building a Business Case, Evaluating & Selecting the Solution, and Implementation & Digital Transformation. All stages are essential to the success of the process regardless of company size, industry, or type of technology being assessed. 

Today's blog focuses on Step 1: Planning & Building a Business Case.

The planning stage of the buying process is often overlooked but is essential for understanding why the purchase is being made, selling the project internally, and staying focused as the process unfolds. It consists of three main components: Identifying Business Needs, Being Clear on what Success Looks Like, and Understanding the Business Impact and ROI. This will help ensure that decisions are straightforward and that the project is successful.
Identifying Business Needs
During this initial information-gathering step, the goal isn't to focus on the technology or what you want out of the technology but rather ensure you understand the outcome you want. Look beyond your current process or technology limitations to your ideal state if you could create a "dream" scenario. Are you looking to simplify your payroll and get your employees same-day pay access? Do you want to improve your employees' mental wellness and retention? Is having better insights into your total workforce for your executive team needed? 
Include people from other departments in this step simply by having conversations with them. 
Be Clear on What Success Means
Success is different than the business impact or ROI of the technology, the timing for the "go live" of the technology, or the budget and is tied back to the initial business need to be solved.
If your goal is improving retention, your metrics for success may be tied to improving your employee engagement scores, making internal mobility and transfers easier, decreasing the turnover rate by X%, or gathering more information about why people are leaving.
Understanding Business Impact and ROI
At this stage, it is less about the cost of the technology you are considering and more related to how solving the identified needs will benefit your company. Sometimes that is a clear savings of time (overhead) or money. Often, it is assessed with a bit broader understanding of the impact.
As you evaluate different tools and learn more about them, ask vendors for clear specific examples of the solution's ROI. Nearly every vendor has these on hand and ready to share - don't be afraid to ask.

Some common areas to think about when looking at the business impact of HR Initiatives: 

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