Labor is an issue that continues to confound the foodservice industry. Nobody has enough and few know where to go to source new talent. One way to rectify this situation is to change the way you think about attracting employees, specifically entry-level positions. That’s what we have done with our company, and the rewards have been amazing. Allow me to explain.
Our company works with Catholic Charities’ ReHire Colorado program. We tell the program what we are searching for, and it connects us with a candidate. That candidate then comes to work for our company on a 90-day trial period where we both get to know each other. By the end of the 90-day window, we both have a good idea as to whether this is a good fit.
One detail I should mention is that the candidates that ReHire pairs us with are people with criminal backgrounds. You read that correctly. These are people who have a past but have applied to be a part of this program and meet certain criteria. A lot of times candidates will be living in a halfway house or preparing to move on from there and will need to earn some money before doing so. By hiring someone in this situation, you can help them earn their way out of the system and help them see a future for themselves, which is incredibly impactful for everyone involved.
This program has worked for us but, to be fair, it’s not been perfect. And it’s important to note there are simply some places I just can’t go. We don’t ever want to jeopardize the safety of our staff. I believe their energy, attitude, passion and willingness to work make these candidates worth working with.
The overall acceptance of this approach has been phenomenal. People see each other as people. It’s all about the job, the energy and their performance. And this approach aligns us with people who believe in going beyond simply providing a product for a price.
When candidates come to us from this program, we try to put them in a position where they can be successful, just as we would with any other new hire. Even after securing a job, participants often receive support from the ReHire team. And employers who participate in this program can meet with ReHire staff to help make the process work well for all involved.
The benefit of participating in such a program extends well beyond uncovering a unique way to fill open positions. I don’t know what more you can want out of life than to help other people. We are in the industry of helping and serving others. I don’t know how you can impact your community if you don’t provide something beyond selling a product for a price.
This approach also allows opportunities for introspection. When you see other people’s struggles, it makes you extremely grateful for everything you have. That’s a gift, and those hired pay it back tenfold. It’s our responsibility to do what we can to liberate the oppressed.
We have nothing but the present moment. And if all you think about is the past, that’s what you project forward. I don’t care what happened in your past. If you believe in the potential of the future and want to ride with that, then we can move forward together.