Operations

Someone holding money that they saved while hiring

How to Save Money While Hiring

How to Save Money While Hiring 2048 1365 Sprockets

It costs $4969, on average, to replace an hourly employee. This takes into account lost productivity, time spent on interviewing and hiring, and the costs of job postings. By cutting down time to hire, building your talent pool, and being confident in your hires you will also save money while hiring.

 

Hire Right the First Time

The way to save the most amount of money is simple. Hire right the first time. When you make the best hire for your company, you will see the positive impacts on your business. Increased productivity, a positive attitude, increased retention. But, it also means that you won’t have to make new hires as often – saving you thousands of dollars. To increase your confidence in choosing the right applicant, learn how Sprockets can help.

 

Build Your Talent Pool

One of easily identifiable monetary impacts on the hiring process is posting open positions! While some avenues are free, many have “sponsored post” options to make your position stand out, which adds up. This is why it pays to build your talent pool, so you have applicants to turn to when the position becomes available. A talent pool may include information about past applicants that were great but not needed at the time, employee referrals, and even avenues like Facebook or LinkedIn groups for people in your industry. 

 

Streamline Your Process

Your time is valuable. When you spend anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours sorting through resumes, doing phone interviews, and bringing in candidates, it costs you. When you use a screening mechanism, like a skills test or pre-hire assessment like Sprockets, it narrows down which applicants are a good match for the open position. By narrowing your candidate pool, you save time and money by avoiding lost time that was spent on poor prospects.

 

Optimize Free Marketing Channels

Social media should be used as a platform to not only display fun company information but to advertise your job openings. If you are constantly posting photos of mouth-watering food or fun staff parties, mention these perks in a post and invite interested followers to apply! Facebook offers an option to post jobs. This means you can reach applicants where they spend their time – social media. See how it works.

In the end, taking the time to craft your hiring strategy pays off. By outlining where you’ll find applicants, how you will vet them, and the criteria for a new hire, you will save yourself time and money in the long run. 

Using the four tips in this article, you can be on your way to a great hiring process. Keep them in mind as you craft your hiring strategy and move forward!

 

What Your Drive-Thru Staff Needs to Know

What Your Drive-Thru Staff Needs to Know 150 150 Sprockets

If you look at your QSR, the drive-thru can be easy to miss. It’s often not made the focal point of a location – but maybe it should be. A study shows that up to 70% of QSR sales are from the drive-thru. With a majority of business going through a drive-thru, it’s important to put special training in place for your drive-thru staff to master this aspect of the business. Read on to learn four easy ways to improve your QSR’s drive-through experience for customers.  

 

Customer Service

Training for the front of house employees usually includes ensuring they always portray a friendly face and have a positive tone in their voices. But, is the same reminded to those who work at the drive-thru? While drive-thru staff may not always be face-to-face, maintaining the same level of customer service and positivity will keep customers coming back.

Another impactful strategy is to greet customers at the order box before they do. Don’t wait for them to say “Hello?” instead, greet them with a friendly “Welcome to XYZ, may I take your order?” This shows the same level of customer service that would be given inside of your establishment.

 

Accuracy of Orders

The one thing all customers hate is driving off and realizing something is missing. Managers may get calls afterward with complaints – or customers will take to social media to complain. Taking the extra few seconds for drive-thru staff to repeat an order back to a customer before sending them off will keep customers happy and keep your online reviews competitive.

 

Time to Deliver

While the other two tips focus on spending more time focusing on the customer, cutting downtime to deliver can also be done in tandem. One strategy that major franchises practice is having drive-thru staff outside in the line of cars to take orders. When an employee notices that the drive-thru line is backing up, they have two choices. One is to rush through orders, comprising accuracy and customer service. The other option (which we recommend) is to take one cash register employee and have them take orders outside. This helps speed up the line and keeps customers happy.

 

Upselling

One easy way to get more orders through your drive-thru is to clearly advertise the same specials you have going on inside. Have a holiday shake? Special promotion? Make sure these are clearly labeled at the ordering window and/or announced to customers as they make their decision.

Overall, taking the time to reflect and evaluate your current drive-thru practices is important for growing business. Plus, learn how Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System helps you hire exceptional employees for your business.

Plus, check out a recent guest blog from HR expert, Tess Taylor on How to Identify Action-Oriented Applicants.

Someone's hand out holding a dollar sign

Incentive Programs to Retain Hourly Employees

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Creating incentive programs may sound more like a strategy to retain customers. But, it’s also a great way to retain hourly employees. With over 46% turnover for hourly workers each year, coming up with creative strategies to hire the best people and retain them is important to reducing employee turnover costs. Here are three of our favorite reward strategies to retain hourly employees (and save that $4,900 that is spent to get a new employee).

 

Employee of the Month

One of the most common incentive programs in choosing an employee of the month.

While this may seem old school, there’s a reason it’s stuck around. People enjoy recognition for what they do – especially when it comes with a monetary prize. However, instead of choosing someone yourself, ask customers and other employees to give feedback to who they think should win that month.

When choosing an employee of the month, it is important to determine which factors you will take into account. That will make it fair for all employees and give them standards to strive for.

Factors to consider in choosing an employee of the month may include:
  • Attendance
  • Customer Reviews
  • Meeting/Exceeding Expectations
  • Positive Attitude
  • Leading Others

 

Group Competitions

Creating group competitions is a great way to get employees engaged. It gets them engaged with their work, customers, and each other. By getting people to work together to accomplish the store goals, they are not only more productive, but engaged employees stay longer.

A few examples of group competitions include:
  • Meeting monthly store income goal
  • Customer satisfaction score
  • Speediness of completing customer orders
Common prizes/incentives are:
  • One day PTO
  • Free meal
  • Staff party

 

Attendance Incentives

We know that a major problem with hourly workers can be their attendance. When you link perfect attendance streaks to incentives, you give employees an extra reason to show up. Knowing that there are incentives to working and staying with the company leads to better retention.

Also note, 51% of workers would change jobs for one that’s more flexible. Keep this in mind when scheduling shifts for those who need a flexible schedule – or for those who need a set schedule week after week.

An example of an attendance incentive:
  • Perfect attendance for one month: $50 Amazon gift card
  • Perfect attendance for three months: Three days of PTO

Taking the time to create and implement incentive programs for your employees shows them you are invested in them being there. It proves that they aren’t just a replaceable person. By creating incentives that bring people together, working towards common goals, you increase productivity, morale, and retention rates.


Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System helps you to hire dependable people that fit your culture from the start, reducing employee turnover. Learn more about how our pre hire assessment can assist in your hiring process.

Plus, check out how Bonusly provides a platform for instant employee recognition and rewards.

 

Letter blocks that spell "career"

Creating Career Pathways for Your Hourly Employees

Creating Career Pathways for Your Hourly Employees 1200 600 Sprockets

With a shortage in the labor force, creating career pathways for your employees is important. Many small businesses and franchisees are using them as a tool to attract and retain hourly employees. 

To begin creating a career path, follow these steps:

 

Step 1: Outline All Roles

Begin by creating a list of all of the roles currently held at your location. This may include cashiers, kitchen staff, kitchen managers, delivery drivers, crew leaders, hiring manager, assistant manager, brand ambassadors, and a General Manager.

 

Step 2: Create a Career Pathway

Creating a pathway may include levels that need to be completed before advancing to the next position. For example, Penn Station East Coast Subs has a program named My Penn Path, which includes six modules to become a Crew Leader and 12 modules to become an Assistant Manager. For an average restaurant location, here are two examples of career pathways to introduce.

Kitchen Staff

 

  • Management training course 1 + six months on the job

 

Kitchen Crew Leader

 

  • Management training course 2 + six months on the job

 

Kitchen Leadership

 

  • Management training course 3 & 4 + one year on the job

 

Kitchen Director

 

General Staff:

Crew Member | Delivery Driver | Catering Staff

 

  • Basic training + six months on the job

 

Crew Leader

  • Management training course 1 + six months on the job

Assistant Manager | Hiring Manager | Catering Coordinator

 

  • Management training course 3 & 4 + one year on the job

 

General Manager

 

Step 3: Get Input from Current Staff

Getting input from your current staff members who have moved up the ranks is important. They will be able to provide insights to what is helpful to know at each step. For example, having experience working the day shift vs. the night shift may be important for the step to becoming an Assistant Manager to understand how many people need to be scheduled and which personalities fit at each shift time. By getting insight from your trusted leaders, you will be setting the program, and future leaders, up for success.

 

Step 4: Roll Out & Advertise Plan

Once your career pathways are defined and branded accordingly, roll it out to current staff members. Consider sitting down with individuals one-on-one to map out how they would like to be involved in the company. During these individual sessions, you will be able to gauge whether someone is going to stick around or if they aren’t committed. This is an easy way to tell which employees are worth investing more time and resources in to train for the management positions.

Next, begin advertising the career path plan on all job postings for your location. Then, when people are brought in for an interview, discuss which pathway they see themselves on. This is a great indicator for the interest of someone in the position and if they will turnover quickly.

Overall, building and implementing a structured career pathway for hourly workers is a great way to boost employee engagement and reduce turnover costs. To assist in choosing the best candidates for your business, check out our Applicant Matching System.

Plus, check out these tips for building a great hiring process!

 

Someone holding a sign that reads "GRAND OPENING" for a franchise

Franchise Grand Opening Best Practices

Franchise Grand Opening Best Practices 1200 600 Sprockets
Billboards. Cameras. Ads.

It’s time to announce and plan your grand opening. Whether it’s your first franchise or your 100th, we know this exciting milestone can be nerve-racking. Luckily, there are resources to support you in creating a successful event.

First off, your franchisor should be there to support you. They’ve been through this countless times and know what makes a good opening and a bad one. They may provide details such as timelines and procedures, but also provide marketing materials and standard press release templates.  Your success is their success.

When planning for the event, it’s important to remember that first impressions are everything. From the staff you’ve hired to the cleanliness to the music you play and food you give away, it all makes an impact. Keep those factors in mind as you go through the steps below.

 

Budget

Remember, your franchise grand opening sets the stage for your next year of business. While it can be difficult to give away free food, it can also pay dividends by attracting people to your location. Be sure to properly account for all expenses and think about what will provide a positive ROI (think about social shares – not just money!).

 

Entertainment

The entertainment to choose depends on your audience. If it’s a fitness studio, offer free classes throughout the day or offer free consultations. If you’re a family-friendly QSR, face-painters, jump castles, and live music is the better choice for attracting attendees.

 

Giveaways

This is one of the main reasons local consumers attend grand openings. The promise of free food for a year or free class passes garners attention. One way to make the most of giveaways is to space them out throughout the event and announce the winners on the spot. This way you can get pictures of them for promotions and create a loyal customer.

Chicken Salad Chick offers a free chicken salad each week for one year, and the next 99 people in line get it once a month for a year. This promotion attracts a snaking line of potential customers at each grand opening!

Other than product giveaways, swag items are popular. T-shirts, keychains, and even pens keep your brand top of mind for the consumer while acting as a marketing tool for those who interact with them!

 

Community Engagement

Whenever a new business launches in a community, it has an impact. Acknowledging this in a positive is a way to put your best foot forward. It’s common for grand openings to announce that 10% of sales that day will go to the chosen local charity.

Grand openings can also be a way to cross-promote with local organizations. One example is getting a free sandwich/class pass/t-shirt when you bring in a item to donate to a chosen charity.

 

Guest List

A guest list can be tricky, especially when it’s an open, public event. The first step is knowing your occupancy limit. If you can only fit 50 people at a time, you may need to advertise longer hours for the party to accommodate more people. Next, one tried and true best practice is to invite your town’s Mayor,  City Council members, and Chamber of Commerce.

A newer trend is to create a Facebook event for your franchise grand opening. This is a great way to not only market your grand opening, but gauge a headcount of interested people in the community.


Before you begin hiring your full workforce, check out the Sprockets platform. Our Applicant Matching System is designed to assist franchisees in hiring the best people by matching applicants against your best people. Get started with a free pre-employment assessment for a franchise account today.

Plus, as you move through your hiring process, read our tips on using social media to recruit staff members.

The Best Scheduling Tools for Franchises

The Best Scheduling Tools for Franchises Sprockets

Scheduling hourly workers can be difficult. From an average of three shifts per day to filling shifts seven days per week, there are a lot of variables to account for. We know it takes a lot of work to account for requested days off, school schedules, and fair shifts.  Plus, when you’re managing multiple locations, the headache multiplies. Employee scheduling tools are here to help.

Even though scheduling and managing shifts is difficult, and often thankless, it has a large impact on the business. It affects whether people show up, if there are overtime wages to be paid, and whether staff members will be overworked and burn out quickly.

Luckily, there are many great scheduling tools available for multi-unit franchisees and businesses. These platforms are all part of the Software as a Service (SaaS) model that is popular today. We evaluated the best platforms based on features available, the price for the features, and the fit for multi-location franchises and small businesses.  Most of the platforms we reviewed have the same basic functions in common; scheduling, managing time-off requests, and use as a punch clock. However, some platforms missed out on some while others you can pay to add more features. These often ease your workload and streamline your scheduling process. Note that we split our recommendations into two categories, free and paid, but some of the paid options do offer a free trial to check out the platform before committing. The free plans we reviewed are 7Shifts, When I Work, Homebase, and Sling. The paid-only plans that we reviewed are Ximble, Humanity, Deputy, and TimeWorksExpressCheck out our recommendations and let us know if there are any we missed!

Free Plan Available

*Orange color denotes it is available with a paid plan

A table of information on free scheduling tools for franchises

Paid Plans

A table with information on paid scheduling tools for franchises


Using software tools to aid day-to-day franchise operations can produce a great ROI. They help you spend less time on busy work and more time growing your business. Check out how Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System can streamline your hiring process, help you hire dependable people, and reduce employee turnover with a free account, sign up here.

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The Importance of Cultural Fit in a Small Business

The Importance of Cultural Fit in a Small Business 1920 1211 Sprockets

Many factors go into a hiring decision. For instance, human resources personnel and hiring managers often consider applicants’ work experience, hard skills, and soft skills. In recent years, the importance of cultural fit has become even more apparent too. In fact, some businesses have begun to give cultural fit equal weight with other attributes or even prioritize it. What exactly is it, though, and why is it important in a small business?

 

Defining Cultural Fit as It Relates to a Small Business

In a nutshell, cultural fit is how well an employee’s mentality and behavior line up with the particular values and culture of your business. Unfortunately, businesses don’t always have a handle on what the culture is truly like in their company. One scenario is when, on paper, the business espouses a philosophy of letting its employees be as independent as possible. In practice, team leaders micromanage the employees. So, companies big and small are not always in tune with the culture in the business.

Now, a small business may pride itself on its family-oriented culture, particularly if it is a family-owned business. Or it may tout itself as lean and determined. It may emphasize that its employees need to be able to make quick, good decisions, or it may explain that its employees need to be well-versed in carrying out orders. Some small businesses, however, don’t fully understand what culture fit is and why it’s important. When they do hiring, they don’t consider that aspect of applicants’ profiles, and that’s a big mistake.

 

Everything is Amplified in a Small Business

From our experience, we’ve seen that practically everything is amplified in a small business. That is a major reason why hiring for culture fit is critical. There are fewer employees and fewer channels of communication. More direct contact takes place between customers/clients and every employee in the business. If something goes wrong, it’s liable to go wrong on a bigger scale.

Indeed, just one “bad” hire can do horrendous damage to a small business. The damage need not be anything as direct as an employee angering an important client, although that can and does happen. Rather, it can be indirect and build up to a devastating level over time.

Consider the following:

Someone who doesn’t fit with the culture of the business is hired. Let’s say this person resents following a 9-5 workday at a traditional business and doesn’t really follow the dress code.

This person’s attitude affects the morale of the other employees, who bristle at the new hire who comes in late, leaves early, and wears jeans and T-shirts. Employees’ productivity and morale drops.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a business that lets its employees set their own hours as long as they get their work done and to dress as they see fit. However, not every business is like this. Suppose you’re a business such as a retail store that needs employees to come in on time, leave on time, and follow a certain dress code. Your employees need to be able to understand and follow the values of your business.

 

Limited Space to Experiment

A small business doesn’t have as much room as a larger business to navigate and make mistakes. So, it’s worth investing additional resources and time to finding a proper cultural match. In a larger business, someone who is a bad culture fit might affect the morale of the immediate team members, but that may be where the ripple effects stop. In a small business, potentially everyone in the company could be affected.

 

The Ripple Effects

Earlier, we touched on a few ways in which bad culture can affect the business. Here’s a bulleted list that outlines a more extensive list of examples.

  • Bad work quality
  • Lowered productivity
  • Lowered job satisfaction
  • Decreased morale
  • Poisonous work environment
  • Higher employee turnover
  • Stressed, possibly resentful employees
  • Decreased profits
  • Fewer clients or customers

Say that Bob and Jane see their co-worker at a small independent bookstore constantly arrive late and leave early. He calls in sick often and shows up in T-shirts and jeans. He kind of ignores the store’s customers. Bob or Jane (maybe both) may begin to question why they’re even bothering to be productive employees when this guy does what he wants and gets paid the same as them. They resent the employee and begin to think less of their boss for hiring this person. Bob or Jane leave the position, and the search must begin anew for another employee.

Even if your business is laid-back, a poor culture fit can still be harmful. Take a business that encourages employees to wear T-shirts and jeans and to come into the office whenever. A new employee is hired who checks off all the hard skills on paper. Everyone’s excited, but problems may arise quickly if this employee prefers a traditional way of working. For instance, the employee may not mesh with other team members and lose motivation to work. It’s costly to keep an unproductive worker around, and if that worker leaves, to go through another hiring process.

 

Diversity Is Important

You can still have diversity in your small business while hiring for cultural fit. Actually, having a diverse workforce can help your business become quite successful. We want to emphasize that a cultural match does not equal hiring people from the same backgrounds and with similar experiences.

 

Nailing Down the Fit

To be sure, business culture can be tough to nail down. Since it’s important that everyone in the business align with its values, how can a business succeed if half of the employees are creative thinkers and half are more rigid thinkers? It’s because culture goes deeper than that. What type of thinker you are matters less than attributes such as self-awareness and ability to collaborate effectively. So, a business filled with employees who practice different methods of thinking/approaching problems can still be extremely profitable. These employees just have to align with a company culture of, say, respect, and collaboration. Having diverse people in your business is an excellent thing, but the culture fit still needs to be there.

 

Practicalities Matter

On the most basic and practical level, the right employees matter for small businesses because they don’t have as much time and resources to spend on hiring. When you hire the right type of person, you hopefully won’t be hiring all over again in a few months when that person or other employees leave. On a deeper level, making several poor hires for culture (or even just one bad hire) may lead to a toxic work environment and hurt the bottom line of your business. If the business keeps hiring people who don’t work out, there may be a mismatch between the perceived (“on paper”) culture and the actual culture. Alternatively, hiring processes may need to be changed, and the people doing the hiring should become more aware of cultural issues.

 

To understand if an applicant will be a good match for your business before they’re hired, learn how Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System can help.

 

Bonus Blog: How to Discover Your Corporate Culture

A man holding a card that reads "EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH"

How to Create an Effective Employee Recognition Program

How to Create an Effective Employee Recognition Program 1024 512 Sprockets

Employee recognition is directly tied to staff engagement, productivity, and retention. When employees understand that their work is appreciation it deepens their connection with the company. To create an effective employee recognition program you must first establish guidelines for the program. Read on to learn the best practices for creating an employee recognition program.

 

1. Make Everyone Eligible

One basic is to create a recognition program where all employees are able to be recognized. For example, a manufacturing company shouldn’t only have recognition categories that office staff are eligible for and not front-line staff. If you create specific categories, make one for each aspect of the company. But, best practices are to create recognition categories that are applicable to everyone. An example of this would be “Employee with Innovative Idea”. This could be applied to an assembly worker who thought of a time-saving strategy or marketing person who thought of a new channel to use. 

 

2. Define Recognition Categories

Once you are aware that your categories should be available to everyone, it’s time to define them. You’ll want to create categories that are easily repeatable each month. Common recognition categories include “Above and Beyond”, “Outstanding Leadership”, “Innovative Idea”, “Process Improvement”, “Amazing Teamwork”, and “Helping Hand”. 

 

3. Set Standards

After you have created the recognition categories, set standards for each one. It’s important to have a sentence or two for each of your categories so those who nominate have clear guidelines. Setting standards also makes it clear to the winner of which action they took that got them recognized as an employee. This later translates into more work of a high caliber, teamwork, and a sense of pride. 

Let’s use “Process Improvement” as an example. The standards for this category could be the following, “The Process Improvement award goes to someone who is always looking for ways to improve business, has identified an area in the business that could be improved and enacted a new strategy to follow through.” 

4. Announce Program & Encourage Participation

The final step for creating an effective employee recognition program is to announce it! We recommend launching your new employee recognition program during a team/company meeting, followed by an email. The email should detail the award categories, the descriptions of each category, and the directions for submissions. 

During this introductory phase you should also include how “winners” will be chosen. Options include choosing to recognize everyone who was submitted, leadership team choosing from submissions, or randomly selecting the winner from submissions. 

To encourage participation, try outlining realistic incentives for your business to give those who win the awards. These prizes may be gift cards, cash, PTO, company branded items, or simply a certificate. Some companies even offer a kickback to the person who nominated. An example of this is $50 to the person who was nominated and $10 to the person who submitted their good act.

Overall, in order to create an effective employee recognition program you must first start with a solid foundation. Taking the time to establish how you can incorporate all employees and their different duties in the award categories is important. In order for it to be effective you must start with clearly defined guidelines for submissions so that people understand which behaviors are noticed. Lastly, a recognition program is only as good as the participation. Taking the time to let people know and get them involved is crucial to your new program being a success. In time, you may experience better engaged employees and improved productivity.