It's been a challenging year as we come out of the covid pandemic and one of the biggest issues our customers have had is staffing. They've all struggled with finding them, having them, and keeping them. There are basic two segments to finding good employees and them keeping them. First, we'll focus on how to find the employees then focus on how to keep them.
When it comes to finding new employees the first and foremost place you should start is through a referral system. Companies that hire minimum wage employees find 55% of them through referrals. This first place to take advantage of referrals is with your current staff. Use your current staff to find your future staff. Talk with them and engage them to see if they have any friends that might be interested in working alongside them at the shop. Remember, good kids usually hang with good kids, so if you have some nice kids working at your shop it's a good bet their friends are decent too. Another way to take advantage of referrals is to get involved and stay involved with community organizations such as sporting organizations, religious organizations, and/or school organizations such as the PTA. Find the connectors in those organizations who might know of someone who needs a job or might need a job themselves.
Look for good people with a personality instead of someone who has ice cream experience. You can teach anyone to make an ice cream cone but you can't teach someone a personality or how to be a decent person.
Social media is a great promotional outlet for your business but it can be used to attract talent as well. Promote your job opening on every social media channel the kids are using. Don't just limit yourself to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, use additional outlets such as Snapchat. And be careful about posting on social media channels that won't benefit you. For instance, you're not going to find kids on LinkedIn looking for jobs.
By holding a recruiting event or an open house at your store you'll be able to bring people into your store to see it. The more people you attract in the door, the more likely you are to find someone. Try to make it big, like a grand opening, and blow it out of the water. Get as many people in the door as you can in order to increase your chances.
Since you've had to invest some time in recruiting talent, you'll need to invest some effort into keeping them. So how do you keep employees at your store and keep them happy?
Most importantly, you need to have a positive culture in your store. Keeping a positive culture will keep the employees positive as well. a positive workplace culture improves teamwork, raises morale, increases productivity and efficiency, and will help with employee retention season after season. Job satisfaction, job collaboration, and work performance are all improved as well.
Keep it fun. Of course, you want to maintain business standards, but understand, the kids that are going to work in your business aren't going to make this their career. This is just a small stop or stepping stone for them. Make it fun and be a mentor to the employees while teaching them life skills they can use. With the combination of a positive and fun culture, you'll be able to retain employees season after season. Some of our most successful customers retained employees throughout their college tenure because they loved coming back and working so there so much.
Pay a good wage. Though minimum wage standards might be tough, skimping on wages is not the way to go. I know you're concerned about maintaining margins and increasing it if possible, but cutting staff salary is not the way to do it. Good meat is not cheap and cheap meat is not good. A good employee can actually draw people to the place. A family of four that comes into your store once a week will average about $25 a week. Over 20 weeks, that's $500 a season. A dollar increase in staff salary is about $2500 a season. It only takes 5 families to fill that numbers gap. And if you have positive employees, that are happy to serve, and are properly trained, you better believe the families will keep coming back.
Tips can be a huge benefit to the staff and only encourage them to maintain that positive company culture and service standards. Since tips don't come out of your pocket. Tips are a way to incentivize employees especially since they don't come out of your pocket.