Tag Archives: Red Book Connect

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

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

Intersection at the Corner of Regular and Facebook Friend

social media

Savvy restaurant and bar employees know that marketing is a group effort. While the company may maintain social media platforms and engage in digital or traditional marketing to help drive business, team members can engage in their own efforts (providing it doesn’t violate company policy) to increase their personal base of regulars as well.

Learn to Share Effectively

Visuals and imagery are key to engaging your fans, friends and followers on social platforms. Fortunately for you, the restaurant business provides ample opportunity for great pictures. Have a great special you’re promoting tonight? Snap a pic of that pretty plate and get to sharing.

Facebook friends are a great way to get your content in front of people who already have a connection with you and therefore are more likely to come in quicker than someone with very little connection. However, when it comes to sharing, maximize effectiveness by deploying across several platforms.

Instagram offers the opportunity to take a photo, spice it up with filters and tags, and then share across both Instagram as well as Twitter and Facebook. By using Instagram to post your pictures to Facebook, you’re effectively killing two birds with one stone. Make sure to add descriptive text to get your friends’ attention.

Promote the Important Stuff And Do It Regularly

Don’t post so sporadically that you surprise your friends with something exciting and then disappear for so long that they forget you work in the restaurant business. Make it a point to post with regularity. If you have delicious new specials every Friday night, make a regular Friday night highlight post. Your friends will start to remember that your restaurant has great specials on Fridays and you’ll start to see them in person on Fridays instead of in your comments section.

For bigger news, pepper in special events and news into your posts as you have it, but don’t make it overly promotional or salesy. Stick to only real information if a band will be playing next Wednesday night or the restaurant is sponsoring a local charity event, share that. Skip the forced “Tuesday Night Is Pasta Night!” posts and keep it comfortable for both you and your friends.

Tag Away!

Leverage your friends by tagging them in pictures at your restaurant. Friends of theirs will see and you’ll get more exposure for your restaurant. Of course, make sure you have your friends’ consent before doing this.

Not sure how to get started? Stick with what you’re comfortable with and share “organically”, meaning make posts that are in your own words and are about things you actually care about. People can tell if posts are genuine or forced and the results you see from your efforts will be a direct reflection of that.

New Year’s Resolutions

man jumping over 2014

I always think of a new year as a time that brings new hopes and goals. It provides me with an outlet to stop and think about what I want to achieve throughout the year. However, in my experience I’ve learned if my goals are too unrealistic, it has led to failure. Yet, when I’ve developed reachable goals, it has given me a better chance to succeed. As you know, making realistic New Year’s resolutions is also important in business. Here are 6 ideas to assist you when making your New Year’s resolutions.

1. Management/Leadership
Example: “In 2014, I would like to improve my relationship with my staff.”
Sir Winston Churchill once said, “The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground.” I believe this quote applies to all type of leaders. I once worked for a company that had their employees anonymously write-up an evaluation on their managers. I always thought this was such a great idea. I mean, how else would a manager know how to improve their leadership skills? Listening and receiving feedback from staff provides a better understanding on which management skills need improvement. Taking the extra time to work on becoming a better manager or leader is important for everyone. There are even social online classes that teach management skills including how to organize and plan ahead, how to communicate effectively, and how to motivate employees. Learning from and talking with peers is also a great method.

2. Customer Service
Example: “This year I want to receive better reviews from customers on our service.”
With so much competition in the restaurant and retail industry, having great customer service is vital. So, how do you obtain great customer service? We know that ensuring proper training of staff is key. This not only includes training new staff, but also ongoing training for the entire staff either with in-store training and/or social e-learning courses. Secondly, I’ve experienced that how you treat your staff can have a direct impact on customer service. Creating a good work environment where the staff feels respected and rewarded helps attribute to providing great customer service. Another important way to improve customer service is to listen to customers and receive their feedback. Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” When I eat out at restaurants with my family and the manager walks over to our table and asks, “How is everything?” My husband always makes it a point to give them feedback instead of just saying, “Good.” And as I’m sure you’re well aware, there are many customers out there just like him. Sure, many times all you will get is a “good”, but whether it’s positive or negative feedback, it is always helpful to hear what is working and what can be improved. Last but not least, it’s always nice to go that extra mile for customers. If they leave your business feeling like they had a wonderful experience, they will become loyal customers and refer your business to others.

3. Technology
Example: “In 2014, I want my restaurant to run more efficiently.”
A new year calls for new technology. Technology is becoming more and more popular with both restaurants and retail. Nowadays, in order to compete with other businesses, adding technology has become quite the necessity. I have interviewed many restaurant managers who have raved about how technology has allowed them to spend less time in the back office, and more time on the “front lines” engaging with customers and spending time with their staff. They say that it helps their restaurants run smoothly, improves staff morale, and most importantly, increases profits. Whether it’s improving inventory count, back-office organization, shift scheduling, or hiring, technology can be a managers’ best friend.

4. Marketing
Example, “This year I want to increase traffic to my business by 10%.”
Speaking of technology, marketing has become more affordable and easier these days. Developing a marketing plan for the New Year can help maintain current customers and establish new ones. Affordable marketing tactics include social media marketing on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare, mobile and email marketing to your opt-in customers, and loyalty programs to retain customers. Keeping your business top-of-mind within your community and customer base through marketing can easily help generate increased revenue.

5. Community Involvement
Example, “In 2014, I would like my business to be more popular among locals.”
Community involvement is also a great way to keep your business top-of-mind. Sponsoring community events, junior sports leagues, and school functions not only provides recognition for businesses, but also creates a positive image. Community involvement is a great way to obtain new customers. I’m always a sucker for it!

6. Time Off
Example, “This year I don’t want to get burned out, and I would like to spend more time with my family.”
We all need a little time off to get re-energized. I admit, I am guilty of prioritizing myself and my health far behind work and family. However, planning a vacation or some time off is important to maintain sanity in ones’ personal and professional life. It can provide that quality time we all need to take a step back and reflect on our goals. Not only will it benefit yourself, but your staff and business as well.

If you’re interested in learning more about social e-learning courses or restaurant technology, visit Red Book Connect at www.redbookconnect.com.

Please share with us your New Year’s resolutions in the comments section below.
Red Book Connect wishes you a happy and prosperous New Year!

 

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

Five Companies with One Mission

It has been about a year since Red Book Connect brought together 5 companies that focused on hiring, training and scheduling employees, inventory management, business intelligence, loyalty programs, and shift management solutions.  Though we’ve been featured in a lot of news stories since then, I thought I’d provide an insider view of what’s been happening.

First, we hired an amazing CEO and leadership team.  Larry Abramson, our CEO, came over from Oracle, and he is committed, passionate and scary smart.  Additional great minds soon followed to assemble a powerhouse of thinkers, leaders and doers. We’re also hiring like crazy under each of these new leaders.  If you’re looking for work and want to join an amazing company that is rocketing to the moon, check out our careers page!

Second, we held onto great leaders and team members that were already in place.  Sure, we had a little bit of natural attrition, but the team that built the original companies – the ones that know the products inside and out and have spent years building relationships with our customers – are still here, in leadership positions helping to drive us to the top.

Third, we started focusing on platform integration in earnest.  Most of our products can already be accessed with a single sign-on, but we hadn’t done so much to make them look and feel like an integrated whole.  We’re doing that now and the UX/UI team is having a blast.  Watch for more to come later this year!

Finally, we launched the digital version of our Manager’s Red Book earlier this year.  It’s an amazing shift management app that makes creating a consistently flawless guest experience easier and the perfect shift more attainable.

This is all just the very beginning. We’re moving fast to enhance the most amazing suite of restaurant technology apps ever known to this industry or any other. Just wait til you see what’s coming next!

 

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