General

Sprockets' booth at one of the trade shows we attended in 2021 with text reading: 2021 Trade Show Recap: How Sprockets Helped Businesses Stabilize Staffing Levels

2021 Trade Show Recap: How Sprockets Helped Businesses Stabilize Staffing Levels

2021 Trade Show Recap: How Sprockets Helped Businesses Stabilize Staffing Levels 1016 528 Sprockets

Although 2021 was full of unpredictable challenges, our passionate team helped struggling businesses harness the power of Sprockets to stabilize staffing levels during the labor crisis. Despite some cancellations, we were fortunate enough to attend six trade shows this year and connect with business owners all over the world. 

What This Means for You

Many businesses are struggling with high employee turnover, but yours doesn’t have to be one of them. We have the solution and want to help. Sprockets empowers you to be selective – even with a shallow applicant pool – and hire high-quality workers who will stay long-term. Trade shows enable us to create meaningful relationships with others and expand our horizons to additional industries, therefore helping as many people as possible build the best teams.

Our mission is to transform the traditional hiring process into an equitable one; we believe everyone deserves a fair chance. Our AI-powered platform identifies the ideal applicants without the need for resumes or interviews, eliminating potential bias.

 

 

We Attended the Following Trade Shows in 2021:

1. The International Pizza Expo & Conference

Our Sprockstars traveled to Las Vegas for the world’s largest pizza industry event: The International Pizza Expo & Conference. Thousands of pizza suppliers around the globe attended the conference which featured seminars, workshops, demos, and even pizza-themed competitions! Our team networked with suppliers, owners, and operators from a plethora of pizza brands about how Sprockets can solve their hiring challenges. Morgan Knightes, one of our Sales Development Representatives who attended the trade show, said, “We went to the Pizza Expo during the height of the hiring crisis, so people were really interested in what we were offering.” Join us at the 38th annual Pizza Expo from March 22-24 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

2. Multi-Unit Franchising Conference (MUFC)

Once again, Sprockstars traveled to Las Vegas to connect with over 2,000 multi-unit franchise owners, operators, leaders, and suppliers. We had the opportunity to hear from world-class leaders like professional football hall of fame running back, Emmit Smith, and New York Times bestselling author, Jesse Itzler, to expand our knowledge of what it takes to be successful. This annual “must-attend” event also featured strategies for multi-unit, multi-brand growth, workshops, and 280+ smart solutions. MUFC has been held at Ceasar’s Forum since 2013. Their next trade show will take place from March 29 to April 1, 2022.

3. Franchise Management Advisory Council (FRANMAC)

Our team headed to Denver, Colorado, to taco ‘bout how Sprockets’ solution can stabilize staffing levels in just 90 days. Established in 1985, FRANMAC supports all Taco Bell franchise locations in the United States. “FRANMAC was my first trade show, so it was super cool to see the whole process,” said Sprockets Senior Sales Representative Tyler Chambers. “Forming relationships with people while showing them how we can make their hiring process easier was fulfilling and rewarding.” In addition to the opportunity to connect with Taco Bell owners, operators, and hiring managers, the association offered attendees unique menu items to try. Their 2022 trade show will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from October 3-6. 

4. Domino’s Franchisee Association (DFA)

Yet another trade show in Las Vegas, this one was anything but cheesy! Our team was able to share the power of Sprockets with vendors, owners, operators, and members of the DFA community.  “As a newly approved supplier, this was our first time exhibiting at the Domino’s Franchise Association show,” said Zach Matook, Sprockets’ Director of Marketing. “We were able to meet multiple franchisees from all over the country and really get a sense of their passion for the Domino’s brand.” They were able to showcase how our AI-powered platform can boost 90-day employee retention by an average of 43% to many various brands. Matook added, “Since the show, many new DFA members have joined our community of Sprockets customers!” Their 2022 trade show has yet to be announced.

5. National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS)

Switching gears (and industries), we traveled to Chicago, Illinois, to attend one of the largest trade shows in the United States: NACS. This annual, world-class event allowed us to meet thousands of new people within the convenience-store industry. We were honored to learn from the leading global trade association, which supports 50 countries. Approximately 24,000 attendees, including brands like AmeriGas, BioSteel, and Anheuser-Busch, discussed how to advance their business. In addition, NACS offered their audience an array of valuable content such as leadership development programs, global industry insights, and timely solutions. You can connect with more NACS members at the Las Vegas Convention Center next year from October 1-4.

6. National Owners Association (NOA)

Lastly, our team attended the fourth annual NOA trade show in Colorado. This independent association aims to unify franchise owners, suppliers, and stakeholders. Their ultimate goal is to collaborate on financial and franchise-related decisions for the better of the system. In fact, our company recently became a member and supplier partner of NOA. On their behalf, we made a charitable donation of $2,000 to the Ronald McDonald House to help families in need. We look forward to continue working with NOA to support employers, employees, and members of the community. 

Streamline Your Hiring Process With Sprockets

Attending these trade shows has enhanced our understanding of our audience and taught us what we can do better to support our customers. We are constantly improving our platform to enhance the Sprockets experience for both employers and applicants. If you missed us at the trade shows, no worries – you can still schedule a free, 15-minute demo of our platform. We’ll show you how you can increase employee retention by 43% in just 90 days like other top brands

Two kids in a hospital with text reading, "Sprockets Gives Back to Families in Need: Donates to RMHC"

Sprockets Gives Back to Families in Need: Donates to RMHC

Sprockets Gives Back to Families in Need: Donates to RMHC 1016 528 Sprockets

Sprockets has donated $2,000 to the Ronald McDonald House Charities on behalf of the National Owners Association (NOA) to help families receive the care they deserve. To read more about the NOA, check out our blog, “Sprockets Joins the National Owners Association to Better Serve Customers and the Community.”

About Ronald McDonald House Charities

Families shouldn’t have to go through uncertain times without proper care. Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) aims to give families around the world a place to stay while receiving medical treatment as well as resources they need to feel safe and comfortable. Several RMHC houses also offer recreational activities, educational programs, sibling-support services, art and music therapy, and gardening opportunities. According to the RMHC website, “Research shows that patients whose families stayed at the Ronald McDonald Houses are the sickest, traveled the farthest distances, and spent the longest time in the hospital.”

How Our Donation Will Help Families

Our RMHC global donation will help provide “essential support and resources to our 260 RMHC organizations and families around the world when they need it most.” To date, RMHC has saved families more than $443 million on meals, hotel, medical, and other related expenses. There are Ronald McDonald Houses in 62 countries with a combined total of 1.4 million overnight stays.

Our Shared Values

Sprockets shares RMHC’s core values, like equality, kindness, and compassion. We believe everyone deserves an equal opportunity for employment and want to transform the traditional hiring process – often full of bias – to a more equitable one. In the words of our CEO and Co-Founder, AJ Richichi, “We want to give everyone a fair shake, regardless of where they are from and what they look like.” Like a relay athlete or a sprocket in a machine, the right employee joins colleagues to drive an organization forward in efficiency and harmony.

 

 

We look forward to working together – with both RMHC and NOA – as we build a better future for owners, hourly workers, and our communities. 

A business conference and text reading, "Sprockets Joins the National Owners Association to Better Serve Customers and the Community"

Sprockets Joins the National Owners Association to Better Serve Customers and the Community

Sprockets Joins the National Owners Association to Better Serve Customers and the Community 1016 528 Sprockets

Restaurants have struggled with costly employee turnover for years, and staffing challenges have only gotten worse with the recent labor crisis. So, we decided to double down on our efforts to meet the needs of businesses. In addition to continuously upgrading our hiring platform, we’ve become a member and supplier partner of the National Owners Association (NOA). This is a major step on our mission to create a more equitable, efficient hiring process that improves the experience for employers and applicants alike.

What Is the National Owners Association?

NOA is a group of restaurant owners and suppliers that collaborate on issues such as finances and franchising to improve the system for all parties involved. That includes the owners, their employees, and their customers. Guided by their core values of integrity, honesty, transparency, and respect, members are able to share expertise as well as find guidance and inspiration from each other. We’re proud to be part of this organization and celebrated our new membership with a charitable donation of $2,000 to the Ronald McDonald House, on behalf of NOA, to help families in need.

What This Means for You

We strive to get better every day for the sake of our customers, and joining NOA is part of that ongoing process. Our membership allows us to attend meetings, view industry insights, and communicate with foodservice professionals to better understand the challenges they’re facing and solve them even more effectively. Look for us at the NOA Annual Meeting — we’d love to meet and show you how Sprockets can boost your employee retention by 43%!

Stabilize Staffing Levels With the Sprockets Platform

Someone on a laptop screening high quality candidates

Of course, you don’t have to wait to see us at the NOA Annual Meeting to solve your staffing challenges with Sprockets. We’re more than happy to give you a free demo of our hiring platform. In only 15 minutes, you’ll discover how Sprockets empowers you to make the best hiring decisions every time by revealing which applicants will succeed like your top performers. It even integrates with popular HR tools, like McHire!

A banner reading "3 Restaurants Now Offering Subscription Programs for Customers" sits in front of a Taco Bell restaurant

3 Restaurants Now Offering Subscription Programs for Customers

3 Restaurants Now Offering Subscription Programs for Customers 1016 528 Sprockets

Are you struggling to maximize sales at your fast-casual or quick-service restaurant? Consider spicing things up at your restaurant with a subscription-based incentive! Continue reading to discover which restaurants currently offer fast-food subscription programs and why it’s worth considering for your own business. Plus, find out how you can start building strong teams that will succeed and stay long-term. 

Give your customers excellent service every time by hiring the best employees. Sprockets’ hiring solution reveals what makes your top performers succeed, ultimately empowering owners and operators to make more informed hiring decisions and boost employee retention by 43%. 

 

 

1. Taco Bell’s Taco Subscription

Let’s taco ‘bout Taco Bell’s newest fast-food subscription service: The Taco Lover’s Pass! Subscribers can enjoy one FREE taco each day for 30 days when they download the Taco Bell app. The taco subscription is just $5 to $10, depending on the location. Taco-fanatics can treat themselves to seven different types of tacos, including the Crunch Taco, Crunch Taco Supreme, Soft Taco, Soft Taco Supreme, Doritos Locos Tacos, Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme, and Spicy Potato Soft Taco. Although Taco Bell’s subscription plan is currently only available in select Arizona locations, Taco Bell’s taco subscription might make its way to all 50 states. 

2. Panera: MyPanera + Coffee

Is coffee the fuel that helps your business run? You and your employees might love – and learn a thing or two – from Panera’s new monthly subscription. MyPanera + Coffee subscribers can get free, hot or iced coffee through 2021. Then, they can sip unlimited coffee in any flavor for just nine dollars a month starting January 1. To join, customers just need to create or sign-in to their MyPanera account, select their subscription plan, and order their favorite drink. They can receive free coffee every two hours via drive-thru and unlimited refills in the restaurant. Subscribers can pair their beverage with a bagel, muffin, or any breakfast item for the perfect combo (and some bonus revenue for the restaurant).

3. On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina: Queso Club

In ques(o) you didn’t know, On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina is offering 365 days of free queso for just one dollar. People can get their hands on free queso for a year by signing up for a Border Rewards account. Then, the next time they’re enjoying a bowl of queso in their restaurant, they can subscribe to the $1 Queso Club and enjoy an entire year’s worth of FREE QUESO. And, in case you think this is a cheesy deal, Border Rewards members also receive personalized rewards, sneak peeks to VIP events, and challenges! Subscribers earn one point for every dollar they spend in the restaurant which they can redeem for discounts on food and drinks.  

Monthly Restaurant Subscription Benefits

Of course, these restaurants aren’t the first to dabble in subscription services. Several benefits can arise from fast-food subscription programs, including:

  1. Increased Revenue: When customers visit the restaurant to retrieve their free taco or cup of coffee, they will likely purchase additional items to make it a meal. 
  2. Customer Loyalty: The brand is able to connect to their customers – both new and current – in an engaging way, increasing customer loyalty. For example, 35% of Panera’s subscribers were new customers. 
  3. Competitive Advantage: Subscriptions like Taco Bell’s taco plan can set your brand apart from competitors, especially during a labor crisis. 

Subscribe to Sprockets and Save on Costly Employee Turnover

While we aren’t giving away free queso or tacos, we are empowering restaurant owners and operators to predict applicant success and build better teams. Our AI-powered solution is trusted by top brands like Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A to reduce employee turnover by an average of 22%. Would you like to save time and money so you can allocate resources elsewhere and focus on daily operations? Check out our Guide to Employee Turnover to learn about proven strategies, including implementing Sprockets!

 

A picture of AJ Richichi and text reading, "Scribble Features Sprockets’ CEO as a Leader of Innovation"

Scribble Features Sprockets’ CEO as a Leader of Innovation

Scribble Features Sprockets’ CEO as a Leader of Innovation 1016 528 Sprockets

How does a dorm-room project evolve into a rapidly growing tech startup that’s changing the way people think about hiring? The team behind Scribble, a project launched by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, sat down with AJ Richichi to find out. Check out the interview below to discover the story behind Sprockets and its innovative solution. You’ll meet our CEO and hear his thoughts on the current state of hiring, artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship, and more.

AJ Richichi: Creating a More Effective, Equitable Hiring Process Through Artificial Intelligence

How Hiring Is Flawed

Change isn’t easy, especially when it comes to changing a process that businesses have trusted for years, but it’s necessary if we want to fix a broken system. The traditional hiring process is biased, time-consuming, and ineffective. Plus, companies are struggling to maintain staffing levels and lose thousands of dollars each year due to high employee turnover. AJ Richichi helps people solve all of these issues using the Sprockets platform.

As Richichi mentions in the interview, “White-sounding names get 50% more callbacks than non-white-sounding names. The average general manager will ask between seven and nine illegal interview questions every single phone call. We want to give everyone a fair shake, regardless of where they’re from, where they went to college, and what they look like, to get employment.”

Richichi’s Innovative Solution

Sprockets users don’t need to worry about staffing issues, wasted interview time, or potential bias. Our AI-powered platform reveals which applicants will succeed like a location’s top performers using a three-question survey and a simple scoring system. It empowers business owners and operators to hire the best workers every time without even looking at a resume. Plus, it’s proven to boost employee retention and reduce the amount of time spent on the hiring process so people can focus on daily operations.

Eliminate Bias, Save Time, and Reduce Employee Turnover

The Sprockets platformA lot has changed since Richichi’s days in the dorm room, but one thing remains the same: his passion for matching people to possibilities. Sprockets is now a trusted hiring solution for top brands like McDonald’s, Domino’s, and Taco Bell. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with other popular HR tools, such as McHire and TalentReef.

“We have been empowered to more quickly focus on the candidates that closely match our hiring profile, generating a higher success rate of new hires in our system and eliminating wasted interview time. We feel great about our progress, and the impact was nearly immediate.”

– Bob Fenzel, VP of Wingstop

Schedule a free demo today to predict applicant success with Sprockets, ultimately reducing costly employee turnover!

Stressed female worker rests on top of a pile of papers next to a clock. The headline below reads "How the Power of Technology Can Improve Work-Life Balance"

How the Power of Technology Can Improve Work-Life Balance

How the Power of Technology Can Improve Work-Life Balance 1016 528 Sprockets

If you had extra time in your day, how would you spend it? Would you attend your child’s dance recital? Go out to dinner with your significant other? Binge your favorite TV series? Or maybe even hit the gym? The possibilities are endless, especially for Sprockets users, who spend 37% less time on the hiring process.

Read on to learn how technology — like Sprockets — can help improve work-life balance so you can enjoy both mundane and milestone moments without having to stress over work-related tasks.

 

What is Work-Life Balance? 

Work-life balance is the equilibrium of one’s job and personal life. While the exact ratio might not be the same for everyone, the goal is to have a healthy balance of both priorities. The importance of work-life balance is crucial to one’s health and overall well-being.

Benefits of Work-Life Balance

A healthy work-life balance offers several benefits in and out of the workplace. Businesses whose employees have a positive work-life balance see the following results:

  • Higher Productivity: Studies show that employees with a work-life balance are 21% more productive than people with a poor work-life balance. They are able to come to work with an open, well-rested mind.
  • Less Burnout: 77% of working full-time Americans have experienced burnout, according to a work-life balance survey. Symptoms of burnout include fatigue, stress, and a decrease in employee performance. Luckily, a positive work-life balance can significantly reduce and even prevent burnout from happening in the first place. 
  • Better Culture: A healthy work-life balance leads to happier employees. They are energized and excited about coming to work. An improved work-life balance also means employees have time to socialize with one another, therefore building teamwork and trust.
  • Less Stress: Employees who work in a happier environment and are not experiencing burnout are significantly less stressed. Achieving work-life balance means more time to practice self-care, exercise, and fuel your body with the proper nutrients

How Does Technology Affect Work-Life Balance?

Achieving a positive work-life balance can be challenging, especially when adjusting to a new job. According to a recent survey, 38% of workers say they missed out on an important life event due to poor work-life balance. Statistics also say that 48% of Americans also define themselves as workaholics — they are unable to stop worrying about their job. 

The role of technology in work-life balance is to make tasks more efficient for employees so they can effectively accomplish their goals. Technology reduces their need to work overtime, and as a result, improves work-life balance. For example, Buffalo Wild Wings recently launched a robotic chicken wing fryer called “Flippy Wings” at high-volume locations. The solution empowers restaurants to “redeploy team members to more guest-facing functions, improving the guest experience.” So far, results show that food production has increased 10 to 20% with the robotic fryer, and team members are now able to focus on other daily operations. 

The Power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

Artificial intelligence is helping employees in many industries improve work-life balance. This modern day technology uses natural language processing to help employees perform tasks more efficiently. For example, Sprockets’ AI-powered platform reveals which applicants will perform like your best employees, ultimately saving hiring managers valuable resources so they turn their attention towards daily operations.

 

A man looking at his empty wallet with text reading, "The Importance of Investing in Your Employees' Financial Wellness"

The Importance of Investing in Your Employees’ Financial Wellness

The Importance of Investing in Your Employees’ Financial Wellness 1016 528 Sprockets

As much as you’d like your employees to leave personal issues at home and give 110% in the workplace, it’s easier said than done. This request becomes even more unrealistic when the two are linked, like problems with employee financial wellness. Employers who wish to improve their company culture, morale, and productivity must address these types of issues. And, it’s not as simple as telling workers to forget their worries. Discover the real, quantifiable effects of financial stress on employees and help ease concerns with the strategies below.

How Financial Wellness Affects Employees

Someone’s financial situation influences much more than their bank statement. Studies show that monetary issues cause severe stress, anxiety, and depression. It can even weaken your immune system and impair your decision-making. This is especially concerning when you consider that an estimated two-thirds of Americans experience financial stress. Employers must recognize this issue and reduce the negative impact on their employees’ physical and mental health.

How It Impacts Your Business

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a comprehensive study by PwC that yielded some shocking statistics about employee financial wellness. For instance, 45% of workers dealing with financial challenges reported being distracted in the workplace, and 72% said they would leave their jobs for another company that cared more about their financial well-being. Plus, since the stress weakens their immune systems, it’s more likely for people to get sick and need to take time off unexpectedly. Improving the financial wellness of employees benefits your business by potentially boosting productivity, increasing retention, and avoiding the costs of turnover. It may even help with applicant flow if job seekers see that your company values its workers.

How to Fortify Their Finances

There are various employee financial wellness programs and initiatives that you should consider implementing at your company if you haven’t already done so. One idea is to raise wages for hourly workers like McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants have done. You can also boost morale and put some extra money in people’s pockets when they need it most by giving workers holiday bonuses. Additional employee benefits can include financial education, access to financial advisors, and even tuition reimbursement. 

Discover More Employee Retention Strategies

The Franchisees' guide to Employee TurnoverThere are several reasons why financial wellness is a must-have employee benefit, including the positive impact it can have on retention. That means less time and money spent on the hiring process. If you’d like to learn more ways to improve employee retention, then make sure you check out The Franchisees’ Guide to Employee Turnover! You’ll discover the hidden effects of turnover, common causes, and proven strategies to conquer this costly problem.

Restaurant workers with text reading, "Why You Need to Create Career Pathways for Hourly Workers"

3 Reasons Why You Need to Create Career Pathways for Hourly Workers

3 Reasons Why You Need to Create Career Pathways for Hourly Workers 1016 528 Sprockets

It might seem impossible to attract and retain high-quality hourly workers, but there are a few proven solutions you can implement to quickly stabilize staffing levels. In addition to using Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System to boost retention by 43%, we recommend creating career pathways for your employees.

While many business owners and operators have raised wages to attract job seekers, that’s only a piece of the puzzle. It has increased applicant flow in some cases, but it’s a short-term solution. Workers who aren’t engaged or don’t feel a sense of loyalty to your business are likely to leave once a competitor offers an even higher wage. Consider providing employee growth opportunities so workers see their role as less of a job and more of a long-term career.

The Importance of Creating Career Pathways for Employees

1. It Helps Attract Applicants

A company’s culture and core values can significantly influence a job seeker’s decision to apply for a position. When you promote the fact that hourly employees have access to career growth plans, it shows people that you value their individual success and well-being. Be sure to include this in your job postings, company website, and even social media profiles.

2. It Can Boost Retention

A study conducted by WorldatWork revealed that employers who do not invest in training and developing employees will ultimately lose them to competitors. So, you can either deal with costly turnover or boost productivity and engagement by offering career growth opportunities. The return on investment makes it incredibly worthwhile to simply outline career pathways and conduct a little extra training.

3. It Reduces Hiring Costs

The savings don’t stop with retention. It’s much more cost-effective to hire from within, and these loyal employees already know the ins and outs of the business. External hires actually tend to score worse on performance reviews and are 61% more likely to get fired despite having more industry experience. Save money by saving your current employees!

Tips for How to Create a Career Pathway Plan

Be Transparent

You don’t want to be that employer who makes empty promises. Clearly define the roles and steps to climb the ladder so you can accurately discuss the process with potential hires. And, if you can’t offer career growth opportunities, let them know. It’s better to be transparent than deal with disgruntled employees and negative reviews on job sites. 

Discuss the Employee’s Goals

These development opportunities and training programs should be mutually beneficial for both employers and employees. That’s why it’s crucial to meet with workers, particularly in a one-on-one setting, to talk about where they see themselves at the company. Have an open conversation and work together on a plan to help them achieve their goals.

Set up SMART Objectives

The career development plan that you create should include SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound). This ensures there’s no confusion about what the employee needs to accomplish to reach their ideal position with the company. It also keeps a record of what you’ve discussed, sets realistic expectations, and makes it easy to track progress.

Predict Applicant Success — Before the Interview

The Sprockets platformCreating career pathways can be a complete waste of time if you don’t hire the right applicants. Some job seekers are simply looking for a quick paycheck and will leave within a few months no matter what incentives you set up for them. Luckily, Sprockets’ AI-powered solution identifies which applicants will succeed and stay long-term. 

Sprockets eliminates wasted interview time, reduces costly turnover, and enables you to focus on daily operations. It’s proven to work and trusted by numerous businesses, like a Bojangles franchise group that achieved 95% employee retention in 90 days during the peak of the labor crisis!

See how Sprockets works and get all your questions answered with a free 15-minute demo!

person putting a bow on a holiday tree with text reading "6 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation: Gifts and Giving Around the Holidays"

6 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation: Gifts and Giving Around the Holidays

6 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation: Gifts and Giving Around the Holidays 1016 528 Sprockets

You don’t have to wait until National Employee Appreciation Day to show your employees you appreciate their hard work and commitment. It’s crucial your hourly workers feel valued, especially during challenging times. And, the holiday season is the perfect time to implement lasting initiatives. Keep on reading to discover creative employee appreciation ideas that you can easily personalize for your team. 

Build stronger teams with Sprockets! Our AI-powered solution reveals which potential hires share similar characteristics with your current top-performing employees, ultimately empowering you to predict applicant success.

 

 

The Importance of Employee Appreciation

Studies show that employee appreciation impacts retention. Employees that feel valued and appreciated are more likely to stay at a job longer than those who are not. 40% of employees say they would be motivated to put more effort into their work if they were recognized more often. Individuals who are willing to go the extra mile for their employer can boost productivity and contribute to a reduction in costly turnover. 

How to Show Appreciation to Employees

  1. Individual Recognition: A free, yet effective way to show employee appreciation is praising individuals in front of their peers. Recognizing your employees for even the smallest details helps boost their sense of value and keeps them engaged.
  2. Team Meal: There’s so much room for creativity here! Transform your break room into a holiday wonderland and put together a special meal for your team. Whether you choose to order out or whip up something yourself, the food will make your employees feel appreciated. Plus, the meaningful conversations and quality time spent together are added bonuses!
  3. Holiday Cookie Decorating Contest: It only takes a few dozen sugar cookies and colorful sprinkles to get the competition rolling. Shower the winner with a local gift card, gift of your choosing, or the simple satisfaction of being the holiday decorating master.
  4. Employee Appreciation Messages: If you love expressing your thoughts in writing, then this is the perfect idea for you! Make (or buy) thank you cards and write a personalized note to each employee. Handwritten cards are especially meaningful because the recipients know you took time out of your day to make them happy.
  5. Holiday Bonuses: Running a business can be extremely time-consuming. Luckily, there’s no need to spend hours upon hours searching for the perfect gifts. Instead, reward your employees for their hard work with a holiday bonus! This season can be a stressful time for hourly workers in any industry. People are shopping for presents, upgrading their homes, gathering the right decorations, and ordering out to avoid cooking before the holiday festivities. 
  6. Paid Holiday Leave: Who doesn’t love time off to enjoy the company of friends and family? While you may not be able to give each of your employees an entire week off, an extra day or two of PTO will likely make your hourly workers feel valued. Plus, the extra time off helps prevent burnout and improves work-life balance! 

Bonus Idea: Share the Power of Sprockets

Gift yourself (and your hourly workers) the dream team with Sprockets’ hiring software! Enjoy being on a friendly, cohesive team with coworkers who will seem like family. Our Applicant Matching System reveals which potential hires will perform like your best employees. Sprockets traffic light scoring system easily reveals which applicants will succeed and stay long-term. 

 

A man cleaning tables at a restaurant and text reading, "How to Manage an Underperforming Employee"

How to Manage an Underperforming Employee: The Easy Way

How to Manage an Underperforming Employee: The Easy Way 1016 528 Sprockets

As a business owner or operator, you are bound to face underperforming employees at one point or another. Either they are not providing the output required by their position, or there is a significant decrease in the quality of their work. But, while underperformance might be considered natural with the ebb and flow of a business, it can affect other workers if not handled quickly, ultimately undermining the performance of your whole organization.

There are a number of proven strategies for managing underperforming employees. Having a formal process will help manage this without the risk of breaching any employment contract or registration. Let’s take a look at how you can accomplish this.

Characteristics of an Underperforming Employee

Your first move should be to identify the underperforming employee.

An underperforming employee is typically one who:

  •         Consistently fails to meet deadlines
  •         Has a poor record of quality in their work
  •         Displays laziness when it comes to task execution
  •         Provides poor customer service

Therefore, take a look at your team members and ask yourself which ones exhibit the above traits. You can do this by merely observing them or using information from their performance reports.

How Do You Inspire an Underperforming Employee?

Now that you’ve discovered who the “weak links” are, your next move is to help them get back on track, right? Well, it is important to first understand the cause of the underperformance. You can then come up with an appropriate plan of action.

What Is Causing the Underperformance?

In some cases, you’ll find the reason behind the underperformance is beyond the employee’s control. For instance, the employee might not be performing simply because they don’t fully understand what is expected of them or they lack sufficient training.

Start by asking the following questions:

  •         Does the employee have the essential skills needed for the job?
  •         Does the employee fully know what is expected for their role?
  •         Did the company give the employee enough training before starting the job?
  •         Is it possible that their workload is too high?
  •         Could the employee be facing personal issues that hinder them from doing their job?
  •         Is there effective communication between the employee and management?
  •         Is there a motivation issue, like the employee wanting recognition or a promotion?

Most of these cases can be solved with a bit of training or improvement in communication. As an employer, it is your duty to ensure that the employees have all the tools necessary to accomplish the task at hand.

Tips for Managing Underperforming Employees

Here are a few steps you can take to handle the underperformance issues:

1. Active Listening

The only way you can identify what is really causing the underperformance is by actively listening to the employee. For best results, you want to use a friendly, informal approach. Employees feel motivated when they know that management is keen to listen to them without bias.

Start by asking how the employee is doing and whether something is bothering them. Remain neutral and empathetic, looking at the situation from their side. You can also involve their line manager or supervisor in the chat. Since they already have a working relationship, it might be easier talking through them. Finally, end the conversation with a note for improvement. Encourage the employee that they are free to voice their concerns whenever they want.

2. Consistent Feedback

Constructive criticism has been proven to encourage employees to perform well while making them feel fulfilled. It helps them know where they are doing well and which areas still need improvement.

The key here is to do it regularly. During the time, make sure you let the employee voice their opinions or concerns.

3. Personalized Training

If you discover that the underperformance is due to insufficient training, your best move would be to offer personalized training while tracking changes in performance. Teaching some underrated skills, such as soft skills in presentation and communication, can go a long way in improving employee morale and performance.

Once you identify where they fall short, focus on addressing those specific weaknesses. This should help solve the problem.

4. Clear Expectations

Ensure that the employee knows the objectives that they are expected to meet so they can actively work towards achieving them. By the end of the chat, they should have a holistic understanding of where they fit in the organization as well as how their contribution impacts the organization.

5. Performance Goals

Next up is to lay out the performance goals together with the employee. The trick is to use techniques like SMART. This means the performance indicators should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.

It is crucial that you involve the employee in setting their own goals. This way, they’ll be more committed to achieving the goal.

6. Effective Recruitment

Often, you’ll find underperformance tracing back to the onboarding process.  Either the employee’s skills were not matched to the role assigned when hiring, or they were not clearly told what is expected of them. In this case, you’ll need to restructure your recruitment or onboarding process.

When recruiting, always check that the employee has the required skills. Ultimately, this will result in a quality team of workers.

7. “Silent” Aide

Sometimes, assigning a “silent” aide to the underperforming employee may be the best solution. This can be in the form of an employee who is in the same department that can help mentor them. Just keep in mind that the aide should still be able to execute their own role without distraction.

8. Recognition

The reason for underperformance can also be because the employee gets no incentives or rewards for a job well done. Naturally, the employee feels unappreciated and gradually stops making any effort. You can solve this by setting up a recognition program to keep your employees motivated to do better.

9. Disciplinary Action

It is important to follow up with a second meeting to review their performance. Here is where you go over the previously set goals and give respective feedback. If the employee is still unwilling to improve, then disciplinary action can be taken. This can be through a formal warning or even termination of employment. Of course, this has to follow the guidelines set in the company’s policy. Always keep a written record of the discussions that you have with the employee in case the information is required in the future.

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