November '22

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1 4 G R A P H I C S P R O • N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M R emember in 2020 when everyone discussed the potential of a new normal and that the global pandemic would drastically change things? Welcome to the new normal! at "normal" seems to be constant change and shifting the way things used to be. Since 2020 in the United States, businesses with employees have struggled to get their arms around what it means to be an employer. An older model of enticing workers with a well-paying job that was steady and secure faded in the '90s. at led to a different model of bonuses, perks, and emulating being a part of the cool kids' club but then working yourself half to death for a chance to play ping pong or chill in a sleep pod. Today that seems to have changed again, with employees having a more profound desire to be part of something bigger than a paycheck. Plus, many people choose not to work instead of having a job, even if they don't have a steady income. After everyone re-evaluated their use of time dur- ing the pandemic, this new mentality flipped the script. Add in our gig economy, and many people have at least one side hustle, and the pros- pect of hiring and retaining employees is not a task for the faint of heart. As someone who gets to work with small busi- nesses, I know one of the challenges of grow- ing is finding the help they need and training and keeping those employees. In this article, I want to talk about those two aspects of being an employer - training and retaining. First, let me tell you a quick story about a local fast-food restaurant that seems to have a magic formula that has shaped my views on this topic. Restaurants have probably taken the big- gest hit from the effects of the pandemic, and rising employee costs and shortages seem to be the most sig- nificant obstacles. Yet throughout the pandemic, there is a Dairy Queen up the street from me that seems to have no problem with employees. We love our Blizzards and even get a pup cup for our dog, so at first, I thought I was just biased. But the experience we have each time is wonderful, and there always seems to be more than enough employees. e employ- ees all work hard and seem to be very happy. On the flip side of this is a Red Robin right up the street, where their dining room sits mainly empty and the wait for a table is gener- ally over an hour regardless of the time of day you try to go. e reason is that Red Robin doesn't have enough servers to seat their res- taurant fully. At first, I thought, "Well, maybe the ice cream bonus is enough to make everyone happy," but I know that can't be true. Maybe Dairy Queen pays their employees a lot more? eir prices have not gone up, so how could they manage to be so out of line with all the other restaurants in the area? I had to find out. Fortunately, a friend of mine knows the owner and manager of the Dairy Queen. What I discovered was brilliant yet oddly sim- ple once I heard the formula. She treats her employees as if they were her very own chil- dren. As young people with school schedules, she is flexible with them and has more employ- ees than similar companies, so they have plenty of help and are not worked to death. She doesn't cod- dle or baby them. She sets clear expectations and lets them get the job done based on how they believe it should be done. She treats everyone fairly and is available for them for more than just the art of making the perfect blizzard. Homework, personal problems, challenges at home, or just as encouragement when needed. ey pay a standard wage comparable to other fast-food restaurants. It is a pretty simple for- mula, and that formula turns her employees into her recruiters. She has a waiting list of these kids' friends who are eager to join the team when she needs them. e "Mom" formula will not work for everyone, but the idea at its core will. Let's break it down. TRAINING While the Dairy Queen story didn't specifically talk about THE RISING TIDE OF BUSINESS What it Means to be an Employer Since the pandemic, the rules have changed Since the pandemic, the rules have changed B Y A A R O N M O N T G O M E R Y

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