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Beating the Odds: Strategies for Recruiting the On-Demand Workforce

In the 1980’s, about 6 percent of the workforce were considered freelancers. Today, that number is closer to 35%. Here on the HotSchedules blog, we’ve been looking at how the gig economy and the on-demand workforce are impacting the restaurant and hospitality industries. Today, we’re talking about how it’s affecting your recruiting efforts. But first, […]

In the 1980’s, about 6 percent of the workforce were considered freelancers. Today, that number is closer to 35%.

Here on the HotSchedules blog, we’ve been looking at how the gig economy and the on-demand workforce are impacting the restaurant and hospitality industries.

Today, we’re talking about how it’s affecting your recruiting efforts. But first, let’s define this on-demand workforce.

The on-demand workforce is a rapidly growing business model that allows companies to pursue part-time, hourly or freelance job seekers to deliver goods and services on-demand (and on their own time). For the most part, workers can choose when they want to work.

The on-demand workforce has been around for a long time – think substitute teachers – but the business world is taking this model to the next level thanks to the surge in the technology, devices and applications that make it easier than ever for people to connect with what they want, when they want it.

You’re probably familiar with these new businesses. Uber, Airbnb, Favor and Lyft are a few of the well-known giants driving the on-demand style of working. As these companies grow and attract more and more independent contractors, other industries (but mainly the restaurants and hospitality industries) are paddling fast to preserve their ability to be an attractive and flexible option for the on-demand workforce.

As if restaurants really needed another wrench thrown in their recruiting strategy.

What Makes On-Demand Attractive?

Flexibility

On-demand employers make it easy for their workforce to jump on their phones or tablets and pick up a shift, take on a few tasks, or run a few errands for some money when it works with their schedule.

Freedom

The previous statement kinda says it all. But we’ll emphasize it again for effect. The on-demand workforce wants to work when it’s convenient for them. In return for that level of freedom, they’re happy to take all the necessary steps to get it. Whether that’s certification, online training or a rigorous approval process, the ability pick up a shift or “gig” with the click of a button feels like freedom and autonomy – something the next generation workforce values A LOT.

Technology

It kind of goes without saying, but technology is kind of the linchpin of this entire on-demand economy. Our mobile devices connect drivers with riders, busy Dads with grocery shoppers or even local crafters with an international clientele. Without a mobile-first strategy, the freedom and flexibility of the freelance community would be non-existent.

Create a Strategy to Attract the On-Demand Workforce

We’ve talked about how restaurant operators and managers can create a better training program that engages this new on-demand economy. But we’re not just gonna leave you with more problems to ponder. We need solutions, stat!

So, how do you successfully, attract, source and hire on-demand workers who suddenly have a ton of flexible work options?

Always Be Mobile

Your candidates are searching for jobs on the subway, the bus, in their bed and even while they’re going to bathroom (True story. Don’t lie, you’ve done it too.) Your restaurant needs a mobile-first recruiting strategy.

Post On Social Media

If you’re already on social media (which you really should be), consider posting pictures of your tenured team members or introducing your new hires with a little tidbit of information. Another simple hack is to use your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter feeds to post announcements about new job openings in the restaurants. Have your team share it out on their social channels for extra brownie points and even better candidate referrals.

Optimize Your Careers Site For Mobile

Make sure your website is either optimized for mobile or has a mobile option. If you have an online screening process, make sure it can be completed on a mobile device.

Tap Into Online Recruiting Networks

Test out new recruiting applications that make it easy to create a restaurant profile that employees, candidates or other people in your network can follow to see when new jobs are posted and apply right from their phone. We happen to like HotSchedules Recruit to check this off your mobile-strategy list. #shamelessplug!

Always Be Recruiting

Turnover is high in the restaurant industry. We know that. Even if it decreases because we all got really good at retaining our team members, our turnover would probably be higher than any other industry. Which is why you need to keep your foot on the recruiting pedal at all times. As a manager or an operator, when you meet a new person, the first thought you should have is “could this person work for me?”

Always Be Everywhere

You’re probably saying to yourself, “wow HotSchedules,” always be everywhere? That’s not really specific. But bare with us. If you’re always recruiting, you have to have your brand and your job posts turned on wherever candidates might find you. Recruiting is marketing, and ¼ of marketing is about “place” or “placement.” When recruiting, you need to place your brand wherever you think great candidates are looking or will find you. If managing all those job boards sounds like a pain in the butt, keep reading.

Always Think Leverage

Being everywhere is hard and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. There are some smart recruiting applications in the restaurants industry that realize you don’t have enormous recruiting budgets or large vats of time. They also know that you still need to compete for on-demand workers as if you had both.

Today’s recruiting and applicant tracking solutions are moving toward a more leveraged approach, partnering with each other to expand their job seeker networks and attract talent wherever they are, whenever they’re looking for a new job or pick up a shift. These recruiting apps are making it easy for managers to use one system (yes, just ONE!) to post and syndicate jobs across a large network of job boards or job networks – at a reasonable price per candidate.

If there’s anything you take away from today’s talk on the on-demand economy, remember this: if you don’t find a way to find, attract and hire these on-demand workers to your restaurant, these on-demand companies will.

Don’t let these opportunities go to waste – get started today.

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