We’re going to be doing a little redecorating around here, but it’s all good!

 

New URL

On April 23rd, when you come to the blog, you will be redirected to our new parent company blog on www.redbookconnect.com.  Don’t worry though! First of all, you won’t need to do anything differently – you’ll just automatically go to the new location. Second, we know you have come to enjoy and depend on the content we publish here and our goal is to continue to provide interesting, thought-provoking and helpful blog posts from industry-leading experts as well as our staff. The only thing that’s changing, really, is the URL.

 

For our dedicated audience who request the Better Managers Blog be sent to them via email, we will continue to do so. No change is necessary on your part. Also, we’d love to stay engaged with you on our social media platforms as well.  Follow and like us by clicking on the icons below.

 

Thank you for your loyalty to our brand, products and blog.  We’re excited to bring you more great content, news and helpful advice from our new location!

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The High Turnover Challenge

help wanted

In the restaurant and hospitality industry, high turnover is the norm and one of the most challenging aspects of management.  Yet, it can be extremely frustrating not being able to retain good employees and continuously deal with the stress of trying to fill positions with good candidates.  It can be a lengthy and costly process, and one that we would all love to avoid.

So how do you lessen your turnover rate and retain your best employees?

1. Provide Recognition and Rewards for Good Job Performance

Employees like to be recognized for their hard work and going above and beyond their call of duty.  It is important to promote from within so that your employees have something to strive for and don’t feel like they are in a dead-end job.  Also during staff meetings, recognize employees for their hard work.  You can even start a reward program.  After receiving a certain number of recognitions, they get a small prize.  It is also great to get them involved and have them nominate a fellow employee each month.  Giving your employees this task can lead to positive and respectful relationships amongst each other.

2. Offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

EAP’s are intended to help employees with personal matters that might affect their work performance, health, and well-being.  Providing the option of an EAP shows your commitment to them and gives them a sense of security.  Offering an EAP can lead your employees to feel a sense of loyalty to your business.

3. Develop Relationships

Getting to know your employees on more than a professional level shows that you care about them.  Asking them about their family and personal interests can help build a strong relationship between you and your employees.  If you create a sense of family among your employees, it will lead to a great work environment, and they will feel a sense of commitment to you.

4. Motivate and Educate

Providing an educational environment for your employees can motivate them to flourish in their job.  Teaching your employees about different aspects of your business that aren’t necessarily part of their job can show that you care about their success and regard them as an important part of your business.  Encouraging employees to come up with new ideas for your business and taking time to listen to their ideas also gives them a sense of self-worth and importance.

 5. Community Charity Events

Sponsoring community charity events that your employees can participate in, such as 5K runs, walk-a-thons, etc., can create a sense of family and can be a team building experience.  It will bring you and your employees closer together, and provide a sense of belonging.

All the above suggestions can lead to creating a respectful, loyal, and family oriented environment for your business.  By creating this type of environment, I believe you will retain your best employees for a much longer period of time.

To help lessen turnover in the first place, employ a hiring system that helps you identify the best, most qualified and engaged candidates.  Systems that have ranking questions and are paired with an assessment tool can really help employers hone in on the best candidates who are more likely to fit the job and the culture, thereby reducing turnover in the first place.  If you are interested in learning more about such a system, visit http://redbookconnect.com/solutions/hire.

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

Manager’s Red Book Goes Digital

digital RB

For the last several months, we’ve been talking about and beta-testing our new Digital Red Book product, and I was really excited when I saw it get launched for “GA” (general availability) earlier this month.  The DRB, as we affectionately call it in house, is based on the Manager’s Red Book, which has been helping restaurants run more efficiently for more than 20 years.  When I was initially introduced to the Manager’s Red Book, I only mildly impressed, which only goes to show how little I knew about it.  Turns out, those books are a huge (and I mean HUGE) improvement over most shift management systems, and for good reason.  Not only do they consolidate tons of pieces or random paper, including notes between managers, employee requests off, maintenance details, personnel performance information and more, they can also be custom built for each brand so that the tasks and check lists are specific to the location.  Awesome!

We then took all this customization and consolidation of information to the next level by taking it online.  The Digital Red Book app is a highly customized online shift management solution that you can download right from the iTunes store.  We’ll set it all up for you (it takes us about a day to do that) so that when you login, you are using the DRB custom built just for you. Managers can collect and store all the same information they would in the books, such as – temperature checks, store deposits, sales info, etc.  Then they can track it, assign it, and comment on it. Once data is input, it’s stored there forever, so you can search for it later using simple keywords or phrases.  At the corporate level, users can login and see how stores are performing, review notes, see uploaded pictures and videos and more.  And they can see all that as soon as the data is entered – real-time, instantly.

The icing on the cake with this cool app is the iPad and uber tough enclosure you can get with it.  It takes ruggedized to a whole new level – to “kitchenized”.  Drop it, slop on it, spill on it, and like a Timex, it keeps on ticking.

I’ve been working in the “technology for restaurants” business for several years now, and I’m pretty excited and impressed by this incredible new tool. Take the Digital Red Book for a test drive and see if you aren’t as enthusiastic as I am!

Mary Kay Hyde | Sr. Director of Marketing & Communities| Red Book Connect

Don’t Get Frozen By ICE

ICE

Ensuring all I-9 forms are compliant when onboarding a new hire can be an excruciating task.  However, maintaining compliance is necessary, otherwise it can lead to hefty fines.  According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fines have skyrocketed to over $10 million.  ICE also issued over 3,000 Notices of Inspection (NOI) in FY 2012.

What industries does ICE target?  Primarily restaurants, retail, and hospitality due to high turnover rates, hourly workforce wages, and hiring a large number of immigrants, as well as high school diploma or below – educated employees.  If I-9 forms are not completed accurately, it may result in a fine of $110 to $1,100 per employee, depending on the percentage of non-compliant or missing forms. ICE also has the right to increase or decrease fines based on employer size, good faith of employer, and violation type.

Here are just a few examples of businesses that have been fined by ICE these past few years.  In California, a small Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda Mexican Cafe was fined more than $22,400 for not completing I-9 forms for 24 of their employees.  In Maryland, Tandoori Nights who maintains around 39 employees, faced a hefty fine of $90,508 based on 10 non-compliant forms.  In Colorado, Empire Dairy received a fine of $49,500 based on 62 non-compliant forms, with a total of 76 employees.

As you can see, these fines can be detrimental to your business.  So, how do you avoid fines?  Here are 8 ways to reduce your risk of I-9 non-compliance.

  1. Make sure all employees complete the form I-9.
  2. Review and make sure all sections of the form have been completed properly.
  3. Ensure section 1 is completed by employee no later than the first day of employment.
  4. Complete section 2 within three business days thereafter.
  5. Examine documents provided by employee validating their identity, and record the information on the form I-9.
  6. Use E-Verify to ensure legal workforce.
  7. File and retain form I-9 for three years from the date of hire or one year from the date of termination, whichever is later.
  8. Use a secure, online onboarding system such as GoHire, which ensures completion of form I-9, provides the option of E-Verify, and stores all forms virtually.

Being compliant is important and should be taken seriously.  Paperless onboarding your employees with a system like GoHire provides the security of form I-9 completions and proper storage of forms so that maintaining compliance is stress-free.  Take the next step at ensuring compliance so you don’t get frozen by ICE.  Go paperless and onboard online with GoHire!

Disclaimer: The content of this post does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Information provided through this website should never replace the need for involving informed counsel on your employment and immigration issues.  To learn more about I-9 compliance, go to http://www.uscis.gov.

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

Are You Keeping Your Employees Safe?

ID Theft

Did you know there are approximately 50 million victims of identity theft each year?  Recently in Colorado, a sophisticated ID theft ring broke into various stores and stole employees’ records from safes and filing cabinets including copies of blank checks, driver’s licenses, and social security numbers.  Storing hard copies of your employees’ information, even if locked in a filing cabinet or safe, can be extremely risky.  Safeguarding your employees’ information is important and good business.

Below are 5 key principles that the Federal Trade Commission recommends when securing highly sensitive information.

1. Take Stock – Assess and keep inventory of all sensitive information you have for each employee by type and location.  Ensure it is in a secure area at all times and only a minimum number of people have access to it.  Keep track of who has access to the sensitive data at all times.

2. Scale Down – Keep only the information that you need and only as long as needed.  Dispose of any unnecessary sensitive information.  Also, only use social security numbers as necessary.  It isn’t essential to use social security numbers as an employee identification number.

3. Lock It – If you do have hard copies of sensitive information, ensure to lock them in a secure location, such as locked safe or filing cabinet in a locked up room.  Limit employee access to the locked location, and keep track of who has a key and the number of keys.  Ensure that keys are kept with employee at all times.  Also, make sure not to leave employee information out in a public area unattended.  Please note that even with all these safety precautions, it can be easy for a professional thief to break open a filing cabinet or safe.

Electronic security is probably the most secure way of storing employee information due to the difficulty of trying to break into one’s secured data on a computer.  However, there are still a few precautions you need to take when storing data electronically.  Make sure you keep your login and password information secured.  Don’t give out your password unless necessary.  Also, don’t leave sensitive information on your computer screen unattended.  Most importantly, ensure that all sensitive data is kept on a secured server, and run up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on your computers.  Lastly, do not scan and email employee information.  It is best to use a secured online system to complete and store employee’s sensitive information.

4. Pitch It – Shred, shred, shred!  If you have hard copied sensitive information that you want to get rid of, make sure to shred or burn it so that it can’t be read or reconstructed.  If you want to dispose of sensitive information on your computer, use software to securely erase data, usually called wipe utility programs.  This will overwrite the entire hard drive so files cannot be recovered.  Deleting files using your keyboard or mouse does not completely wipeout the files and can potentially be recovered.

5. Plan Ahead – Have a plan in place in case identity theft occurs.  If filing cabinets or safes have been stolen or tempered with, contact the authorities and alert your employees immediately.  If you have sensitive information on a computer and it has been compromised, disconnect the computer immediately from your network.  If an incident does occur, you should consult your attorney.

It is extremely important to protect your employees from identity theft.  GoHire’s onboarding system can help you protect your employees by storing their personal information in a secure, virtual environment.  GoHire provides standard forms with sensitive information such as the I-9, W-4, and Direct Deposit Enrollment for new hires to complete and sign all online so there is no paper trail.

For more information regarding the Federal Trade Commission’s guide to protecting sensitive information for your business, please go to http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus69-protecting-personal-information-guide-business.

If you would like more information about Red Book Connect’s solution, GoHire, please visit our website at http://redbookconnect.com/hiring-gohire/.

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

For best results use technology to train your millennial workforce

For best results use technology to train your millennial workforce

Companies around the world are finally feeling the impact of Millennials joining the workforce — and most business leaders don’t know how to get the best out of them.

According to a recent study by Bentley University, 68% of corporate recruiters say that it’s difficult for their organization to manage Millennials, and Gen Y’s preparedness seems to be a big reason why. The study found that 61% of business leaders give colleges and universities a “C” or lower on preparing recent college grads for their first jobs. In fact, 41% even gave their own hires a “C” or lower.

Whether Millennials go into the restaurant and hospitality industries, or desk jobs in finance and marketing, they will certainly require workplace training and development. But to make training effective, companies must teach to the habits, preferences and values of Millennials.

Millennials are not mobile-enabled but mobile-dependent. Born and bred on digital technology, light on company loyalty and more committed to work/life balance and personal development than a big salary, Millennials bring a puzzling set of traits. For businesses, technology powered training will be the key to engaging Millennials and producing good results. Here’s how to do it.


Do

Cartoon with check mark

Don’t

Cartoon with x mark


Do

Do create short, engaging content

Millennials like to watch short, entertaining video lessons that are no longer than 3 minutes. Why that short? Well, the average length of internet videos has dropped to 5.1 minutes—a year ago, that average was 6.4 minutes, according to comScore. In addition, Lloyds TBS Insurance found in a 2008 behavioral study that the average attention span had dropped from 12 minutes to 5 minutes in just 10 years. 3 minute videos ensure that your Gen Y audience can take it all in.

Do make training mobile

Want Millennials to complete training? Don’t make them sit in front of a TV, desktop or thick binder of papers. Millennials want the freedom to train on their smartphone during the commute to work or on their tablet at home. If they have to sit at a designated training station at work at a specific time, they’re going to be bitter about training. A mobile training app will give them the freedom they prefer.

Do offer a social learning environment

School age Millennials surf Facebook during classes and lectures because the dialogue is one way. Embrace the lure of social media by letting Millennials connect with their co-workers in your mobile training app. Create an open discussion board for asking questions and sharing knowledge. Make sure trainees can share resources with each other and let your users rate content and training modules.

Do gamify training

They grew up on Super Mario and now they’re addicted to Candy Crush. If you want to get Millennials motivated, gamify their learning experience. Let users unlock badges like they would on mobile games. Set up a leaderboard that gives Millennials an incentive to perform well and be proud of their achievements. Even tie success in digital training to real-life incentives like gift cards, digital gear or other rewards.

Do explain why

Millennials are used to having a lot of choice over the content they consume. In school, when Millennials didn’t see the value in a reading or lecture, they likely skipped it and found the same information on Wikipedia, YouTube or elsewhere. Connect training directly to on-the-job achievement and success. If you want Gen Y to engage with your content, make the practical value of their training crystal clear.


Don’t

Do not make them read a lot

Millennials learn by watching, or skimming and Googling, not hefty reading. If your lessons are filled with dense text, training will fail. Break down thick paragraphs into catchy headlines with short bullet points—or better yet, replace a lot of the text with videos and images that show what you hoped to explain.

Do not force them to attend their training at a specific time

Gen Y trainees are used to having full control over their schedules. In college, a lot of Millennials learned to skip lectures and watch the video recording when they had more energy and enthusiasm. Don’t waste time finding a space or scheduling training times if your materials are online. Set a deadline, and they’ll get the work done on their own time.

Do not make access to online training complex

Facebook login and Google login have taught Millennials that they should have instant access to any website. If you bury your training portal several clicks into your website, if you have a lengthy registration process or if you organize training into a dizzying array of sections, Millennials will be deterred.

Do not let Millennials feel judged

Millennials place a high priority on personal development. If training tools feel like an assessment, rather than an opportunity to improve, achieve and grow, many Millennials will resent the experience. While gamification can spark healthy competition, giving letter grade scores or instituting consequences for low scores may spoil the intentions of training.

Do not prevent them from interacting with others

Millennials are used to collaboration, discussion and teamwork in education. If you prevent Millennials from interacting during the training process, they will be less motivated to learn and less effective at mastering the material.


Summary

Jumping cartoon

To some employers, Millennials seem hopelessly pinned to their smartphones, obsessed with social media and too entitled to succeed in the workplace. To smart employers, Millennials are simply a different generation with an evolving set of values, habits and expectations.

Companies will bring out the best qualities in Millennials by using technology to create engaging training and development programs. With concise, snappy content, the freedom of anywhere, anytime training, social learning tools and gamification, employers can meet Millennials on their own turf. This is not a matter of spoiling or coddling Millennials—this is smart business strategy for companies that want an effective, well-trained workforce.

There is value in dense reading, rigorous scheduling, independent learning and high pressure tests, but workplace training is not the ideal place to create those experiences. Help Millennials learn workplace skills, processes and theory as efficiently as possible, and then have them demonstrate their grit in work that serves the company and its customers.

Anthony Lye, Chief Product Officer, Red Book Connect

This blog can also be found on ExpertBeacon: http://expertbeacon.com/best-results-use-technology-train-your-millennial-workforce/#.Uv6tbmCPLIX

Photo Credits: © bonninturina – Fotolia.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas – Fotolia.com

Tips for Bartenders Everywhere

Bartender

Remember when Tom Cruise killed it as a bartender in Cocktail? Even if you’ll never have a cheering crowd of admirers roar over your poetic-speech, there are a few things you can (and should) try to make yourself even more fantastic.

Start with What You Know

As a bartender, you know drinks.  While many people come in knowing what they want, some are often looking for something cool and new.  Find out what flavors appeal to them, and what they typically drink.  Then, surprise them with something new and give them some background on how you came to know and like that particular drink.  Not only is it a great conversation starter, you’ll have shown off your knowledge and make them want to stay for more, and come back with friends.

Eavesdrop and then Jump In

From an early age, we’re taught that eavesdropping is rude, but in your case, we’re making an exception. If you’re looking to engage with the new group of customers that just walked in, make their drinks, start a tab and then listen for opportunities share a relatable story or your knowledge of relevant facts, and then entertain them with your revelations.

Keep Something in Your Back Pocket

Inevitably you will encounter the dreaded “spare” setup (yes, that was a bowling reference) when every bar customer is a single without a friend to talk to. To get everyone in on the conversation and keep the singles from departing quickly, be ready with some type of trivia, game or trick. Stay away from polarizing subjects like politics or religion. Sports trivia (like which four NFL teams won more than 100 games in the 1990s – it was the Chiefs, Broncos, Dolphins and well, go find out!) is often well-received, as is general local trivia.

Include Your Regulars

Do you have a regular night or nights with a strong outpouring of regulars? Consider encouraging everyone to participate in mini-events anything from a “book club” (ok, so you might not actually read it at the bar, but get people talking), to a Secret Santa to a shared monthly “Birthday Party”. Getting others in on the act will help take the pressure off you to come up with interesting and engaging ideas and motivate your regulars to stay connected with you and your bar.

Take It Online

If you’re doing fun things, bring them online with your favorite social media. Make your regular Monday night shift into its own Instagram account and share your events, activities and general fun through pictures. Tag your regulars and customers to get them in on the fun and maybe get a little extra exposure to their friends and followers.

Not sure how to get started? Every bar, and every bartender, is different. What works for a sports bar won’t be the same as an upscale lounge. Trying out different things within the context of your bar’s brand will help you get a gauge on what will help you be successful long-term.