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Blog | Employee Retention | Industry News and Trends

How Restaurants Can Retain Employees in the Gig Economy

As the gig economy has spread, hourly workers have more opportunities than ever to get paid. Learn how your restaurant can retain employees in this highly competitive labor market.

We’re living in the age of the gig economy, and no one knows it better than the restaurant industry.

According to Intuit, part-time gig work now accounts for 34% of the American workforce, and it’s expected to grow to 43% by the year 2020.

Much of that growth can be attributed to the rise of on-demand services like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and others. These apps have opened the door for more than 3 million American workers to work part-time, and that labor market is expected to grow to nearly 8 million people in the next two years. Easy, part-time, episodic jobs provide hourly workers with a reliable (and flexible) source of income.

These changes have intensified the restaurant labor landscape. On-demand apps offer employees freedoms that regular restaurant work does not. And as those services cut into the hourly workforce, it’s clear that restaurants need to make big changes if they want to reduce turnover and keep their top talent around.

Restaurant employees turnover at a rate of 108% percent, according to TDn2K’s Turnover report, and with a growing number of part-time job options in the market, it’s time for restaurants to get smart about employee retention.

Here are a few tips restaurant managers can keep in mind as they compete against the gig economy to keep great employees:

Position Your Company as the Employer of Choice

On-demand apps make it easy for workers to find quick jobs and make money on-the-fly with flexible schedules, something that has become extremely important to millennial workers. So how can restaurants compete? The answer: by taking their operations mobile.

Moving away from old-school systems into mobile scheduling and training solutions will provide your employees easy access to schedules and a much more flexible way to complete their onboarding and continual training courses.

Engage Team Members from Day One

Did you know that 74% of workers chose to become independent because of a lack of employer engagement? Restaurant organizations need to engage workers from the minute they set foot in the store on their first day of work. Giving employees engaging and successful onboarding training will set the right tone for the duration of their time at your organization.

Your business needs an effective method of distributing valuable information to new employees in a flexible and easy way. Disseminate information through targeted videos and messages, allowing your employees to learn and communicate with ease, paving their path to growth in your company. As a bonus, adding in social elements like message boards to your training platform can keep your team members engaged – whether they’re all in one store or spread across 20.

Give Employees Flexible Training Opportunities

Your employees are on their mobile phones more than three hours a day (except during their shifts, of course!) With a mobile, social e-learning solution, training can be broken up into small chunks, which makes it easier to retain more information than if they were in a long, drawn-out lecture.

Keeping your training solutions flexible and customizable also makes it easy to create content, courses, and tests for each job-or-learner-type. Do you need to provide training in both Spanish and English? You could create two different lectures and test tracks to accommodate all your employees.

Instant Pay when the Shift is Over

Due to increasingly high demand from employees, gig economy businesses have begun to embrace the concept of instantly paying their employees. For instance, Uber’s Instant Pay process allows drivers to cash out their earnings up to five times every day. According to the PYMNTS Gig Economy Index, 84 percent of workers reported they would do more gig work if they were paid faster.

The idea is gaining traction within the restaurant and hospitality industry as well. Instead of making employees wait for payday, restaurants can explore real-time payment apps like Instant that will allow restaurants to pay workers on a daily basis.


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