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Restaurant Career Paths: The Journey Upward

This post brought to you by National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The content and opinions expressed below are that of upstartHR.

One of the areas we have focused on in previous weeks is how careers in the restaurant industry are more substantial than what they might appear on the surface. Today we’re going to look at career tracks specifically.

Here are a few of the key statistics from the infographic below.

  • Your first job in the restaurant industry is only the beginning. The industry offers mobility, as more than 9 out of 10 restaurant employees 35 or older have advanced to a higher-paying job in the industry. 71% of those between 18 and 24 have also advanced to higher paying positions in the restaurant industry.
  • Restaurant owners and operators climb the ladder to success as well. 55% of owners and operators worked in the industry as wait staff, 59% as a chef or cook and 84% as a restaurant manager.
  • Most staff in the industry also see it as an industry of opportunity. A majority of waitstaff, bartenders, bus persons, chefs/cooks, shift/crew supervisors, managers and operations employees believe the restaurant industry offers opportunity for advancement.

Of all of these, my favorite is the second. Owners are typically seen as the top of the “food chain” (awful pun, but it’s true!) for the industry. But more often than not those owners are not strangers to the restaurant world–they are former employees!

That’s a powerful message for those working in the field, because it not only helps the owners to understand the roles of employees better, but it also gives employees a vision for what the future could look like for them if they aspire to achieve the same level of success.

In the infographic titled This Way to the American Dream below, you can see some of the ways the career path discucssion has played out for employees in the industry. What’s the most striking statistic you see?

Infographic-3_zpse900b110

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#HRevolution and the HR Technology Space

This week I saw quite a few people at the HR Technology Conference. And by “quite a few” I really mean bajillions. This thing is huge.

So, naturally, I took a moment to think about how many of those great people I have met as a direct result not only of this blog, but also of the HRevolution event. That was pretty amazing to ponder. And to those of you who mentioned reading the blog, I thank you profusely for that support. I want to know that people are getting value from this platform!

Why I write

I don’t write and share here as a one-way channel to throw my thoughts at you. I often publish insights from others in the space, link out to things I think you should know about, and try to create conversations around critical topics for HR professionals. I’m more interested in that than sitting here and blabbing about how you should run your business/department/whatever.

You’ll notice that I almost always include questions that I fully expect you to answer (even if only to yourself), because that’s where the real value comes from. It’s not just reading one more blog post to check off the to-do for today, but it’s asking yourself questions such as “is this working?” or “how can I look at that problem differently?”

HRevolution’s purpose

The event that Trish and I created five years ago is a direct extension of those same desires to connect people, drive conversations that aren’t happening elsewhere, and create some enthusiasm about what we do (this might not be fun every day, but overall it’s amazing to be a part of this profession!).

As I told a few people this week, we have a few tickets left. We have amazing sponsors (thank you, Mercer, Symbolist, and Small Improvements!) that are helping to make the event happen. If you’ve wondered about HRevolution in the past or if you have some of these same desires as a provider, practitioner, or leader, then this is your chance to take a stand.

Thanks for everything you do to support this endeavor to make HR better, one professional at a time. This is a community effort, and I couldn’t do it without you.

—Ben

Do This Before You Consider An HR Technology Solution

One of the recurring conversations I had during the first day of the HR Technology Conference revolved around using HR technology tools to solve business problems. The issue with that, says Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer at Brandon Hall Group, is this:

HR is a buffet of broken processes.

Applying technology to a misaligned strategy, poor tool selection, or inefficient process isn’t going to magically solve anyone’s problems—in fact, it’s just as likely to make it worse.

When we recently did research on talent management systems, more 27% of companies were actively considering switching to a new system or provider. Consider for a moment how many of those companies might actually have the right solution, but they don’t have the right processes in place to support it. Or the opposite could very well be true: the company doesn’t have the right processes or technology in place and needs to make a change to one or both.

How do you make sure that you’re in alignment?

Click here to read the rest of the article on the Brandon Hall Group Blog

How Case Studies Are Actually Helpful

I want to admit something that might be a bit silly. A few years ago I had my first opportunity to attend the HR Technology Conference, and I didn’t take it seriously. Most of the sessions were not “typical” HR sessions and were focused on case studies of how organizations solved their problems. At the time, I just didn’t see how that was worth my time.

Fast forward a few years, and I actually work on publishing case studies as a part of my daily work. I can see the value of these tools for solving business problems. I understand why they are used at high levels to help frame issues and lay out solutions.

And this is not just about justifying what I spend my time on. :-)

When I’m talking with company leadership, teaching classes, or speaking at events, I have the opportunity to pull from some of the insightful things other organizations are doing around talent, learning, marketing, etc. I’m an “example” kind of learner, and I pick up new concepts and ideas from seeing how other organizations tackle their problems.

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this (other than to convince you, if you believe like I originally did), I’m talking about the Brandon Hall Group Excellence Conference next January. The sessions at our conference are going to be geared around how some of these award-winning companies are facing and conquering their talent problems, and personally I’m excited to see how it plays out. .

This is a high level conference for high level HR and business leaders. If you or someone you know might be a good fit for attending, be sure to use the coupon code BHConfBen to get $200 off of the standard registration. I will be leading an unconference session with Trish McFarlane in addition to the other strategic sessions we’ll be holding, so we have a great agenda already laid out.

I’d love to see some of you there! Let me know if you have questions.
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How to Start a Sideline HR Consulting Business

Today I’m going to talk about running a small business, marketing, and product creation. If that’s not your thing, come back later this week for more great HR-centered content.

I think everyone has knowledge that is worth sharing. Some of that knowledge, you might have found, might even be worth some compensation. This past week I wrote a post for my friends at Careerealism, and it focuses on how I started the journey years ago into the world of HR consulting. Here’s a piece of that:

I’ll be honest—the first consulting meeting with the CEO and Vice President of the company was pretty stressful. They wanted some help in defining their hiring methods, creating documents to support the new process, and so on. It was all work that I’ve had experience doing, but stepping out from under the corporate umbrella on my own felt just plain weird.

I told them that I could do the work for them, offered a rate for the project, and shook hands to seal the deal.

Over the following weeks, I provided them with the various work products and consulting time they had requested, and when I finally received the check in the mail, I felt something special stir in my heart. At the time, I wasn’t sure what that was, but now I can say with certainty what I was feeling.

What we all want

In that moment, standing at the mailbox and looking at the check, I realized that someone else thought that my knowledge and expertise was valuable enough to pay me for it. I think that’s a big hurdle for many of us to get over, so I will say it again: Someone else thought my knowledge was worth paying for.

I think it’s something we all hope for. We want to be worth something. We want others to value what we have to say. And if we can get paid for doing those things, then that’s the best of both worlds.

Advice on starting

Are you interested in picking up some extra work? Maybe you’d like to start that consulting business you’ve dreamed of? Whatever the case, consider this: You are good enough at something that people will pay you for it.

In order to do this, you need to understand:

  1. What that is
  2. How you can position it
  3. How you can get connected to clients

If you can do all three of those, you’ll have your first gig before you know it.

In the business world, we call that your unique value proposition. Know what you can bring that someone else can’t, be able to communicate the value of that knowledge/service, and find people who are willing to pay to have that type of problem solved. Even if you’re approaching a company about a job and not in a consulting role, the same rules apply. Source: http://www.careerealism.com/marketing-value-anyone/

This basic info can get you started, but there are other tips and ideas that I normally share with those looking to get into this exciting new world. Here’s one of the most valuable…

Creating a product

Consulting, in the end, is about trading dollars for hours. Give me dollars, I’ll give you hours. But when you create a product of some kind, you can scale that business beyond what it currently can stand. I always recommend that new consultants consider the top two or three questions they receive. The next step is to create something–a video, a short PDF guide, or something similar that answers one of those questions in great detail.

If someone paid you to answer that question with half an hour of your time, use that half hour of video or 10 pages of written material (or both) to do that for someone. Then you’re no longer limited by the number of hours in a week, you can pitch the product to a new market, and you can grow the business in new, exciting ways.

This is a recipe for growth that most HR consultants never tap into. And if you’ve been thinking about starting your own small (or large) consulting business from the ground up, this is a great place to start. 

How to Select a Third Party Recruiter

My phone rings and caller ID tells me it’s a recruiting firm calling. I can’t be the only one rolling my eyes thinking, “would they just stop calling me!?”, right? I have a bias against using third parties to fill our open reqs for a number of reasons – fees, signal-to-noise-ratio and culture fit issues, chief among them – but they are necessary at times for our technical positions. Managed correctly (which my People Ops partner-in-crime does), they can absolutely lead to terrific hires. So let’s talk about how to use them efficiently.

Take the lead

Go into the process valuing your time. Every extra bit of energy you have to put into managing a recruiter or weeding through oodles of bad resumes is costing you some opportunity. If you invest heavily in selecting the right recruiter and getting them off on the right foot, it’ll save you time and credibility with your hiring managers in the end.

Talk to a number of firms, settle on a few you feel comfortable with, and invite them on site to get a sense of what the company is about and what the team is looking for. When companies are anything less than enthusiastic about visiting, cut them loose.

Laying the foundation

Define your arrangement, expectations, and any future opportunities that may be available to the recruiter if successful. Encourage recruiters to ask all the questions they need to confidently send over 3-5 candidates they feel fit your gig (our recruiter stresses to send candidates as they become available, not all at once). For each of the candidates you receive, provide crystal clear feedback about what you do and do not like so the recruiter can get an understanding of exactly what you are looking for.

Be okay with a trickle of candidates – you want quality; a stuffed inbox does nothing for you.

Good recruiters should start to hone in on what you want and act like an extension of your company if you give them the type of feedback you’d expect from hiring managers when you start to source for a role.

A word of warning

Be wary of recruiters who are less interested in your feedback than they are in selling you on a candidate (if it’s a good candidate, there are tons of companies out there who will want him or her). They are chasing a commision, not a long-term partnership. Cut loose those unable to adapt and meet your expectations. You know what it takes to be successful at your company. And, ultimately, it’s your credibility on the line.

What experience have you had with third party recruiters? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Share in the comments below!

About the author: Jane Jaxon is the HR Director of a high-growth tech company in Boston where she gets to focus on building a great workplace and scaling people operations. Jane’s favorite buzzwords of the trade are eNPS, talent density and (of course) people operations. She likes neither pina colada’s nor getting caught in the rain, but sure loves marathoning critically-acclaimed tv series, reading in the sun, plotting her fantasy football world domination and, lastly, keeping a stealthy social media presence. Find her on LinkedIn.

Restaurant Experience Builds Core Work Skills

This post brought to you by National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The content and opinions expressed below are that of upstartHR.

Earlier this week we looked at the importance of restaurant experience as a valuable tool for entry level self starters. Today we’ll continue with a glimpse into just how deeply rooted restaurant work experience is within the American workplace and what that means for future career growth. Here are a few stats from the infographic below that highlight this trend:

  • 69% of of employees ages 18-24 had their first job in the restaurant industry. This shows the impact of the industry in starting young people on a career path.
  • Many in the industry continue their education while working at restaurants. 64% of bartenders, 49% of managers and 41% of servers are enrolled in a four-year college or university. In addition, 48% of industry business operation employees are enrolled in graduate school and 45% of chefs or cooks are enrolled in hospitality or culinary arts programs. The industry allows for employees to further their education and careers.
  • Many of those employees are planning to stay in the industry, showing the long-term career prospects in the industry. 72% of business operations managers, 69% of chefs or cooks and 56% of restaurant managers plan to continue working in restaurants after graduation.

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty astounded at the scale and professionalism demonstrated by these figures.

This isn’t a profession where people “settle” for a position in the restaurant industry. The data shows that workers in this field are actively learning and growing, and many of them plan to continue working in the industry even after graduating. Anything else in the infographic below seem particularly interesting to you?

Infographic (Full size graphic here: Building Blocks)

 photo NRAEFInfographic2complete11_zps9a93cac5.jpg

Click here to review the other posts in this series:

A Good Place for Entry Level Self Starters

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