By Kim Kerr, who is the vice president and general manager of the LexisNexis Risk and Information Analytics Group, a leading provider of risk and business information services.
Nearly all restaurant executives have a different opinion as to what keeps their profits high and customers coming back for more, and these answers can range anywhere from excellent customer service to competitive pricing to unique menu items. But the most important factor in the success of any restaurant is the people who show up to work every day. These employees not only interact with key customers, but they also serve as the public face for the business.
Finding the right people to employ for any restaurant usually is one of the most frustrating and costly elements of running a successful operation — especially in high-volume tourist regions or during peak seasons. As the employment market continues to tighten, discontinuing background checks is a common response among employers who are not looking at the big picture. When considering the expenses associated with recruiting, hiring and training, turnover becomes a bottom-line problem many businesses cannot afford to ignore. Simply stated, employee turnover — as well as potential internal theft and safety issues — will be reduced drastically if the proper screening is implemented at the beginning stages of the interview process.
Human resources professionals and other hiring managers also must address some employees who lie about their backgrounds during the interview process, which dilutes their level of trust. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, 34 percent of all applications contain lies regarding experience, education and the ability to perform essential functions of the job, proving that a resume may only be worth the paper it is written on.
In addition, the latest statistics released by the U.S. Department of Commerce state that internal employee-related thefts occur 15 times more often than external theft, and employee fraud costs companies more than $400 billion annually, proving the importance of hiring the right person for any function, regardless of size. It can be a frightening reality to think that one wrong hire could be so detrimental to a location, but it is even more frightening to know that this could have been prevented with one simple step — screening applicants before making an offer.
For years restaurants have searched to find a fast, inexpensive and reliable way to verify a candidate’s background and credentials during the interview process — especially during times of explosive growth or temporary seasonal spikes, when multiple employees need to be hired at once. In the past, managers would ignore the importance of the background check, potentially compromising the safety and financial integrity of the business.
Today, it is even more important to get the right information at an affordable price. Speed and efficiency can make or break an important hire — meaning there is no time to waste on unqualified candidates or employees who misrepresent themselves during the interview process. Every employee who is excused following the initial probation period puts a strain on profit margins, and also could pose a threat to the overall reputation of the restaurant.
New technologies, such as online background screening, increasingly are being utilized to help restaurant hiring managers identify and weed out undesirable candidates. Those applications offer faster and more affordable background-check capabilities because they leverage breakthrough data-management technologies and massive data repositories that contain billions of public records. In addition, they offer employers a fast, cost-effective way to identify unacceptable job candidates before they spend valuable time and money.
Like any other acquisition or major transaction, staffing is reliant on innovative tools and resources that enable both speed and efficiency for increased profit margins and productivity. Today’s online screening technologies not only help employers be more confident with their hiring decisions, but also help to increase both profitability and overall image of a restaurant.