UK markets closed
  • NIKKEI 225

    +405.02 (+1.42%)

    +13.21 (+0.06%)

    +0.29 (+0.40%)

    +2.50 (+0.14%)
  • DOW

    +3.64 (+0.01%)

    -577.81 (-1.49%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    +9.89 (+0.76%)
  • ^IXIC

    +74.40 (+0.47%)
  • ^FTAS

    -1.11 (-0.03%)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Smoothie King on worker shortage: 'Hire them right. Train them right. Treat them right.'

·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Jobs may be roaring back from the depths of the COVID-19, but the same can’t be said for actual workers, who have been reluctant to fill millions of open jobs across the economy.

As the Delta variant threw a wrench in getting people back to work, businesses of all sizes have struggled to hire enough staff to meet high demand. But the reasons for the hiring difficulty are harder to pin down.

The competition is fierce to recruit top talent, but retention is what makes the difference for the long-term success of your company, according to Smoothie King’s president and COO Dan Harmon.

“It comes down to how you take care of your people,” he told Yahoo Finance Live in an interview on Wednesday.

“Hire them right. Train them right. Treat them right. We want to make sure that we're bringing in the right people because we're a special brand,” the executive added.

Harmon explained that his company is about helping people live a healthy and active lifestyle, they want to hire people that have the same “passion” for that.

“It's never easy to bring people on, you're always taking a chance, but you certainly see some bright stars ,” he added. “Many of our managers and some of our franchisees started at the team member level, so there's a really nice career path for those that are looking for it.”

However, one tangible thing seen throughout the labor market: employers upping wages and offering signing bonuses. A slew of restaurant chains -- from Mcdonald’s to Chipotle — have raised pay, along with other major chains like Walgreens and CVS. In some cases, it seems to be working, including for the world’s largest smoothie brand.

“We have had to in some areas offer some level of a signing bonus [to compete], Harmon said — and offering a “retention bonus” for existing workers.

“If we can get people to stick around for a period of time, we'll give them a bonus on top of what they're doing, but we're really focused on how do we take care of them and how do we set them up for success and make their jobs easier?” he asked.

While offering higher wages is certainly one perk employers have offered in response to the labor crunch, some say it’s by no means the only—or even the most effective in the long term.

“It's good and it's helpful, but I don't think it's the key to getting the right people in the stores,” said Harmon.

For some companies, they have explored more costly options. Major retail brands like Starbucks and Target have offered to pay full college tuition for employees, a tactic that smaller competitors likely cannot match.

“We're all chasing after the same people. We have to be a step above or give them reasons why they would want to join us,” Harmon explained.

Meanwhile, struggling restaurants had to cut down their opening hours and temporarily close for days on end, simply because they couldn’t find enough workers to serve diners amid the labor shortage battering the hospitality industry. Yet Harmon said that hit his business for a short period of time.

“We had franchisees that had that go on limited hours, it's not something that we want to do but we will do that for a period of time. I'm really proud to say that that's not something that we've had to employ or use as a tactic across the entire system.”

While the pandemic has caused a lot of people to reevaluate, particularly when it comes to work, more people could leave the restaurant industry in pursuit of better jobs. A survey by the online job marketplace Joblist revealed that 58% of restaurant and hotel employees intend to quit their jobs by the end of the year.

And workers have been following through with their plans to quit, too. Millions of workers walked away from their jobs in August, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Our goal this year was to reduce our turnover by 20%, we haven’t quite hit that goal,” Harmon added.

Yet he’s optimistic that through the company’s “regular performance appraisals” that they’ll stay ahead.

“We're not perfect. We have our opportunities,” the executive stated.

“We have areas where we need to work on it, but I truly believe, and the team that's working with me, we believe that if we hire them, take care of them, train them, they're going to stick around much longer,” he added.

Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @daniromerotv

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting