Staff

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Adding Veterans to Your Team

Adding Veterans to Your Restaurant, Bar or Hotel Team

by David Klemt

Military combat helmet in digital camouflage

Do more this Veterans Day by encouraging those who have served to apply and interview for available positions on your team.

There are several benefits to providing job opportunities to veterans, regardless of the country (or countries) in which you operate.

Of course, there are dos and don’ts that come along with recruiting, hiring and working with veterans.

Benefits to Hiring Veterans

Before we begin, a caveat: Remember that veterans are individuals. “Veteran” is a label, a designation, a descriptor. In no way is one person who is a veteran interchangeable with another.

That said, there are some elements of military service that are similar to those of successful hospitality operations.

Teamwork, a strong work ethic, leadership skills, precision in tasks, achieving goals, consistency in results… When a restaurant, bar or hotel team is operating at its best, it can be said they work with military precision.

Generally speaking, veteran job candidates bring experience to the table that can benefit an operator greatly.

Additionally, it’s commonly said that hospitality leadership should hire for personality because they can train requisite skills. Speaking generally again, many veterans are so used to receiving specialized training that they’ll likely appreciate and respond quickly to yours.

If you want your business to operate with military precision, why wouldn’t you hire military personnel who fit well within your team?

Questions to Ask During Interviews

Obviously, there are definite dos and don’ts when it comes to discussing a veteran’s military experience.

As curious as you may be about some aspects of a veteran’s experience, questions shouldn’t be invasive or offensive.

Some examples of questions you should ask are:

  • “What did you do (in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, National Guard or Reserves)?”
  • “Why did you choose that branch of the military?”
  • “How long did you serve?”
  • “Do you come from a military family?”
  • “Where were you stationed during your career in the military? Did you visit any other countries?”
  • “Where was your favorite place you visited or lived?”
  • “How do you think your experience in the military will benefit you here?”

As you can see, nothing in those questions should make a veteran applicant uncomfortable.

Questions and Behaviors to Avoid

Speaking of discomfort, there are many questions that you should never ask a veteran. Not just during the interview process, but ever.

Also, if a veteran informs you they’re uncomfortable answering a question about their service, that should be respected.

Examples of questions and topics you should avoid are:

  • “Do you have PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder)?”
  • “Do you find it hard to get back to ‘real/regular’ life after being in the military?”
  • “Did you ever get shot/stabbed/bombed?”
  • “Did you ever kill anyone?”
  • “What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you while you served?”
  • Current military conflicts, particularly if you haven’t served in the military.
  • Referring to elements of work through military analogies.
  • Insulting branches of the military if you never served.

In short, treat veterans with the respect their deserve, as you should any other member of your staff. Veterans aren’t novelties or curiosities—they’re people.

For too long, veterans have faced undue scrutiny and undeserved stigmatization. It shouldn’t be difficult to turn that around when the solution is simple: Give veterans respect; treat them like  people since that’s precisely what they are; and provide equal opportunity.

Image: israel palacio on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

You’re Competing Against Chains for Labor

You’re Competing Against Chains for Labor

by David Klemt

Help sign outside business

Independent operators and local chains aren’t just competing with one another for staff, they’re up against global brands.

Unfortunately, that means competing against massive corporations that can offer higher wages and all manner of benefits.

However, smaller operations can still take steps to lure workers and fill open positions.

The Threat

In response to the labor shortage, many national and global chains are increasing hourly wages.

For example, Chipotle boosted wages for hourly workers to $15 per hour a few months back. Along with this boost in wages came a hike in menu prices: four percent across the board.

Earlier this year, McDonald’s also announced they would boost hourly pay. Hourly workers saw a boost of about ten percent. Of course, this chain also found itself dealing with increased supply costs. To offset a rise in costs of at least four percent, McDonald’s also boosted menu prices.

The latest to enter the labor fray is Starbucks. And like other chains, the corporation addressed the issue of hourly wages publicly.

Indeed, Starbucks’ announcement shares several details. First, staff who have worked for the company for a minimum of five years could see a pay raise of ten percent. Those who have been with the company for at least two years (but less than ten) could get a raise of five percent.

However, it doesn’t end there. Starbucks workers in the United States can take advantage of $200 referral bonuses. On average, Starbucks says hourly wages will range from $15 to $23 per hour, with an average of $17 per hour. The company expects these wage changes to be in place by Summer 2022.

Solutions

Of course, one doesn’t have to need revenue in the tens of millions or billions of dollars to compete for staff.

We’ve addressed this topic several times on the KRG Hospitality site. In particular, we’ve brought up increasing menu prices to support wage hikes. Specifically, we recommend borrowing from Chipotle and McDonald’s: Be transparent and explain why menu prices are going up.

Additionally, Bar Hacks guests like Chef Brian Duffy and Lynnette Marrero have spoken about this topic.

As Chef Duffy says during his second appearance, treating staff better is a big step toward reducing turnover. Word spreads among hospitality workers, and improved employer-employee relations is an excellent recruitment tool.

Another effective benefit? Flexible and improved scheduling which, of course, can be implemented easily via scheduling apps.

Mentorship is a powerful recruiting and retention tool. Both Chef Duffy and Marrero believe in the power of this benefit. They have decades of experience to pass on to staff that can help their careers.

Marrero also suggests implementing labor structures that corporations don’t offer. For instance, she suggests new operators are well positioned to offer earned equity, profit sharing, and co-op ownership structures.

Existing operators can also leverage Marrero’s ideas. However, they’ll need agreement from their investors if they have any.

Now that you know where labor threats are coming from, you can strategize and fight back. You may not have billions of dollars in the bank, but you’re nimble and can implement changes much more quickly. Listen to your staff and be open to making meaningful but reasonable concessions.

Image: Fernando Venzano on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Incentive Economy: What are You Offering?

The Incentive Economy: What are You Offering?

by David Klemt

Chef's knife and honing rod crossed on cutting board

You know about the gig economy but are you familiar with the incentive economy?

It’s quite simple, and there are myriad ways for operators to engage with it. In fact, you likely already participate in the incentive economy in some way.

To put it succinctly, the incentive economy is all about the perks of a job beyond a paycheck.

The Old Ways are Out

On episode 53 of our Bar Hacks podcast, Chef Brian Duffy addresses the need for changes in our industry directly.

First, he tackles the lack of transparency in leadership by some operators. As Chef Duffy says, “That’s an old school way of doing it. That was an old school way, that was the Eighties.”

According to the chef, and we wholeheartedly agree, we now find ourselves in a “different phase” in the industry.

Then, Chef Duffy takes on how leadership in the industry treats staff.

One effective recruiting and hiring incentive Chef Duffy offers on the podcast deals with scheduling. None of his cooks close both nights of a weekend. He also posts schedules two weeks in advance so there are, A) no surprises, and B) if staff need to swap or drop, they have time to do so without impacting the business.

This simple scheduling incentive is attractive to new hires and existing staff. Why? Because working unpredictable, erratic hours is stressful.

“That ruins your life,” explains Chef Duffy.

If operators want to attract new hires, keep their team together, and reduce turnover, listening to staff about scheduling is crucial.

Things Need to Change

Chef Duffy shares a story on the podcast about his daughter and her experience working at a restaurant operated by a hospitality group.

No, he doesn’t name the group or the concept. The who isn’t the point here, it’s the what.

That what is how leadership bungled not only a scheduling issue but also how they botched Chef Duffy’s daughter’s two-week notice, her final shifts, and her final pay.

For more context, his daughter wasn’t a new hire who bailed after perceiving she had been treated poorly. She had worked at that restaurant for a year, there were ongoing issues, and she finally left.

As we all know, we’re down about a million jobs in this industry. That loss isn’t simply because of the pandemic. Our industry is undergoing a seismic cultural shift and we’re losing people who won’t return to hospitality.

Things need to change if we’re going to reverse this trend and strengthen the industry. KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey addresses the change we need in his latest book, Hacking the New Normal. Chef Duffy addresses some of the necessary changes on our podcast as well.

“We can complain as much as we want, but we created it,” Chef Duffy says. “We as owners and operators and managers, we created what’s happening right now.”

Get Creative

The only limits to incentivizing your staff are your imagination, staying consistent with policies and procedures, being respectful of your staff and guests, and the law. Remain in those confines and get creative.

An incentive doesn’t need to be a grand gesture or prize. In many instances, something that makes a shift more fun and breaks up the monotony is enough to energize the staff.

“I want my staff, I want my front-of-house staff, to know what my sales goal is for the day,” says Chef Duffy. “And then I want to run a contest with that.”

One of the chef’s favorite contests is simple and highly motivating: Follow the Twenty.

Chef Duffy puts a twenty-dollar bill into play against a particular item or menu category. For example, either a specific dessert or any dessert.

Whenever a team member sells a dessert, they get the $20 that’s in play. If a different person sells another dessert, they get the twenty. Follow the Twenty incentivizes the first person to sell more of an item to hang onto the money, and the game motivates the rest of the staff to outperform their coworker to get the prize.

The last member of staff to sell a dessert that shift or day keeps the money.

Offering another creative incentive he’s seen, Chef Duffy shares that there’s a restaurant out there offering a free tattoo to kitchen staff that stays for at least 30 days. Will some staff leave after they get their tattoo? Possibly. Hiring wisely, implementing training policies and procedures, treating staff with respect, making scheduling easier and more flexible, ensuring clear communication is embedded in the fabric of your brand’s culture, and offering further incentives can prevent that turnover.

Offer Ongoing Education

“We live in an incentive world now,” says Chef Duffy. Explaining that he doesn’t operate large kitchens, large bars, or employ large teams, he admits he can only do so much in terms of incentives.

However, his approach to incentivizing staff to stay starts with this example of true leadership: “The one thing I can do is treat my employees well.”

With decades of experience in the industry, Chef Duffy’s knowledge is something he can offer his staff. A big believer in education, passing down information that can enrich team members’ careers and lives is an incredibly valuable incentive.

During a recent training session with a very young kitchen staff, the chef started with the very basics of education.

“Hey, guys, here’s a knife. This is a knife,” he said to the kitchen staff. “There’s seven different parts to a knife. Here’s the most powerful part, here’s the most precise part. This is how you hold it, this is what we do…”

Just reading that, it may seem like Chef Duffy was being condescending. That’s not the case. He wants to share as much of what he’s learned over the years to pass on his collected knowledge.

“I want people to feel as if they’re gaining something from me and the knowledge that I have rather than, ‘Go cut those onions and I’m gonna yell at you if you do it the wrong way,'” says Chef Duff.

Make Meaningful Change Today

Making impactful change can feel overwhelming. Let’s face it, it’s easier to just stay the course. But these days, staying the course can cost you your staff, then your guests, and then your business.

One way to start making change is to look inward at yourself, and at your leadership team.

Are your staff gaining anything from you beyond a job and paycheck? Is your leadership team mentoring and incentivizing staff? Are you, your leaders, and your team happy at work?

If the answer to those questions is “no,” do what’s reasonable to improve your brand’s work culture.

As Chef Duffy says, “The whole dynamic of it has to change and we have to take better care of our employees.”

Image: Steve Raubenstine from Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

What’s a Marketing Fund?

What’s a Marketing Fund?

by David Klemt

Vintage cash register in black and white

Do you know what a “marketing fund” is?

Moreover, if you know what I’m talking about, do your managers and staff have access to it?

A marketing fund—not your marketing budget—is a useful tool that can solve guest experience issues quickly.

What it Is

Both Doug Radkey and I mentioned marketing funds last week.

First, I brought it up in my article about communication and staff empowerment. Next, Doug included the marketing fund on last week’s Bar Hacks bonus episode, titled “Empowerment.” There, he shared the story that inspired my article.

Simply put, a marketing fund is a bit of cash kept on hand for use in a variety of situations.

Some people call it petty cash. Others refer to it as an “emergency” fund. We call it a marketing fund.

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s a small amount of cash most accessible by a manager or, often times, a bartender.

How to Use It

Operators will have to decide on the amount set aside; how often to replenish it; and who has access to the marketing fund.

For some, $40 may be feasible. Others may find that setting aside $200 for the week may work best.

In most cases, a register behind the bar serves as the marketing fund’s home. A manager or bartender knows where it is and can find it quickly.

Now, you’re likely noticing the word “quickly” is coming up a lot in reference to the marketing fund. That’s the point—quick, smooth problem solving.

So, come up with your rules and expectations regarding the marketing fund. Communicate those expectations. Then empower specific team members each shift to access it.

Of course, this requires trust in the team, their integrity, and their sense of what is and isn’t reasonable.

When to Use It

Again, this is about what’s reasonable and acceptable to an individual operation.

Will buying a round ease tensions and put a guest’s experience back on a positive track? Use the marketing fund.

Is there a promo that’s going wrong for a guest that a manager can solve with cash (a gift card problem, for example)? Access the marketing fund.

Will running across the street to grab an item solve a guest problem? The marketing fund can help.

This works for several reasons:

  • Staff can solve a guest’s issue quickly. This eases tensions and improves the guest experience.
  • Guest-facing or other issues can be solved smoothly. In some instances, the guest won’t even catch on that there’s really a problem.
  • Marketing fund transactions are traceable.
  • The marketing fund holds the operator and staff accountable. Are issues consistently arising during certain shifts or with specific team members? Something needs addressing.

The marketing fund is a practical, useful tool. Its use is trackable and ensures accountability. Consider implementing this fund today.

Image: Evergreens and Dandelions on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

10 Words that Exemplify Leadership

10 Words that Exemplify Leadership

by David Klemt

Level Up neon sign in white and yellow

During episode 50 of the Bar Hacks podcast, Travis Tober sums up restaurant and bar leadership in just ten words.

In fact, this seemingly “small” sentence explains leadership and buy-in for essentially every type of business.

Let’s take a look at what Tober, co-owner of Nickel City and owner Old Pal, says that resonates with me.

10 Important Words

So, what does Tober say during his first appearance on Bar Hacks that embodies leadership?

The following, about his general manager:

“He knows the brand just as good as I do.”

How do those words exemplify leadership and buy-in? For several reasons:

  • They illustrate transparency from the owners.
  • Those words show trust.
  • The ten words put buy-in and mentorship on display.
  • They show that the GM possesses a sense of ownership of the brand.
  • The brand is obviously defined clearly.

Buy-in is Crucial

As an entrepreneur, consider what you’re asking of the people who work for you. You’re expecting others to help you achieve your dream.

So, why would they take their role in your business seriously rather than only seeing it as a paycheck? The answer is simple: buy-in.

Staff want to feel as though they’re a part of something—they don’t want to work just to pay bills.

As difficult as it may be, an operator needs to trust the people they hire.

Why would you want them on your team—and you need to build a team, not just have employees—if you don’t trust them? Filling roles just to have bodies in the building is a losing strategy, labor shortage or not.

In addition to trust, there needs to be brand indoctrination. Every employee should be a brand evangelist for you and your business.

One of the most powerful recruiting and marketing resources at your disposal is your team. People they encounter should want to spend time and money at your business because of your team. They should want to work for you after observing your team at work and out and about.

If that’s not happening, something is wrong. Your team doesn’t trust you; doesn’t feel as though you trust them; doesn’t feel empowered; or doesn’t believe they’re really a part of your brand and business.

So, ask yourself a simple question: Can my GM, management team, and staff say they know my brand as well as I do?

Listen to episode 50 of Bar Hacks with Travis Tober on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Why Communication and Empowerment Matter

Why Communication and Empowerment Matter

by David Klemt

Employees at front desk in hotel lobby

To truly embody the spirit of hospitality, internal communication and empowering staff must be part of your operation’s culture.

A situation KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey found himself in recently could have been resolved quickly and smoothly.

However, it’s clear the staff lacked communication from the top. Nor did they have the ability to solve problems as they arose.

Let’s dive in.

Guest Experience

First, I’m not going to reveal where this incident took place. In fact, I’m not even going to provide the location.

Second, the problem arose at the front desk of a hotel. A well-staffed front desk—there were four team members working.

The issue was fairly minor but impacted the guest experience.

So, Doug and Jennifer Radkey booked a hotel over the weekend. They made their decision in part because of an available package. Among the perks of the package was a $50 gift card for a nearby restaurant.

Stopping by the desk on the way up to their room, Doug asked for the gift card. The desk clerk he asked had no idea what he was talking about.

In fact, none of the four front desk clerks knew about the promotion. Doug pulled up the hotel’s website and promotion on his phone, and showed the clerks.

Doing so jogged one clerk’s memory. However, details were still mostly unknown. There was no manager on duty and the staff searched through drawers looking for the restaurant gift cards.

After about ten minutes of searching, Doug said he and Jennifer were headed up to their room to get ready for dinner. They’d be down in an hour for the card (hopefully).

A Resolution, Kind Of

True to their word, Doug and Jennifer returned to the front desk for the gift card.

Miraculously, the front desk clerks had found one. (However, Doug thinks one of the team members ran over to the restaurant, bought a card, and brought it back to the hotel.)

One more note: A housekeeping team member had overheard the incident at the front desk as it was unraveling. She chimed in to suggest the front desk just knock $50 off the hotel stay or give Doug and Jennifer $50 cash to take to dinner.

Instead, as I just explained, the front desk clerks got their hands on a gift card.

But let’s look at what wrong here:

  • The guest encountered a service issue and waited more than ten minutes for any sort of resolution.
  • That resolution didn’t come for more than an hour.
  • It’s clear the staff received insufficient notice and details about the promotion.
  • The staff was also most likely not empowered to provide quick resolutions to guest problems.

Doug’s incident could have been resolved quickly and smoothly through communication and staff empowerment.

Communication

Clearly, communication is key for any business to operate smoothly. That’s not limited in any way to hotels or hospitality—all businesses in all industries need to value communication.

In fact, clear communication is a foundational value. Communicating clearly needs to be part of every operator’s core values and ingrained in their brand’s culture.

If there’s a promotion, if there’s a special, if there’s anything “unique” happening at a hotel, restaurant, bar, entertainment venue, etc., the staff needs to know.

Operators should email the details to staff members. Managers should share the details of a promotion or special during shift meetings. Staff should know how to enter promotions into the POS.

It’s doubtful that Doug would’ve encountered this gift card issue if clear communication was an important element of the hotel’s culture.

The front desk clerks would’ve known about it, and likely would’ve handed over the gift card upon check-in. Barring that, they would’ve known where to find the cards quickly and easily so they could’ve handed one out upon request for those guests who booked a room via the promotion.

Empowerment

There’s a second element of this particular guest experience equation: empowerment.

Had the front desk staff been empowered to correct mistakes as quickly as they may arise, it’s possible Doug would never have noticed there was an issue.

As difficult as it may be, operators and managers need to trust their staff. If that’s not happening, there are deeper issues at play that must be addressed and corrected.

If this hotel staff—remember, four clerks deep—were accustomed to adapting and resolving problems on the fly, that would’ve been evident.

This article wouldn’t exist because Doug wouldn’t have had a memorable negative guest experience to share with me.

Up to a reasonable point, guest-facing staff need to be empowered to solve problems quickly. It’s up to individual operators to decide what’s reasonable.

Upset guests don’t like encountering issues, obviously. Do you know what they really don’t like? Having to repeat themselves or watch staff flounder to reach a satisfactory resolution.

An empowered staff can assess a situation, target the problem, and resolve it without involving anyone else. And they can do so quickly and smoothly.

A Better Resolution

How could this issue have been resolved faster, accounting for the poor communication regarding the promotion? A daily or weekly “marketing fund.”

Some operators set aside an amount of cash for bartenders or other front-of-house staff to use at their discretion to solve problems. When that marketing fund is accessed, it’s reported and management can review the who, how much, and why at the end of the night.

In this case, $50 could have been handed over and accounted for with a, “I’m so sorry, we seem to be out of gift cards at the moment, this offer has been so popular,” and Doug would’ve only had a slight inkling of an issue.

Again, there were four front desk clerks present when this happened. Three didn’t know about the promotion. One clerk had a foggy idea about the promotion.

This wasn’t a staffing issue, nor was it a pandemic issue. And 19 months in, as harsh as this may seem, the pandemic can’t be the fallback excuse for every issue that comes up.

The following day, a manager learned of the incident upon Doug and Jennifer checking out the next day. He apologized and knocked $50 off their stay.

That wouldn’t have been necessary had leadership communicated about the promotion clearly. It certainly wouldn’t have been a painful incident had the staff felt empowered to make impactful guest experience decisions.

Today, commit to reviewing your operation’s communication. In all honesty, is it clear? Can it be improved? Have there been issues lately that could’ve been avoided if clear communication was part of your brand’s culture?

Once you’ve reviewed communication, as yourself if your staff feels empowered to solve guest issues quickly and reasonably. If not, that must change as soon as possible.

Image: Rodrigo Salomón Cañas from Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Leadership: The Other 10-second Rule

Leadership: The Other 10-second Rule

by David Klemt

Watch face showing seconds and minutes

Those who remember last week’s Friday post will recall that there’s more than one 10-second rule.

Interestingly, this “other” rule also relates to communication.

As we all know, communication is paramount to leading teams and building relationships with others.

Last Week’s Rule

Deceptively simple, last week’s 10-second rule focuses on easing tensions.

If a situation is about to boil over or is already out of control, going silent for 10 seconds can cool things off.

First, shutting up for ten seconds stops the argument cold. Second, it provides time for the person leveraging this tactic to respond rationally.

Third, it humanizes the other person. Rather than seeing an opponent, the person going quiet for ten seconds remembers that this is a team member they’re engaging.

Finally, people who use this rule say going silent tends to snap the other party out of their hostility.

Treating others with respect and dignity, along with encouraging open communication and a free flow of ideas, are hallmarks of a healthy workplace culture.

This Week’s Rule

There are, of course, similarities between this week’s rule and last week’s. Obviously, they both call for a ten-second “timeout” to talking.

Also, they both focus on humanizing the other person in the conversation.

I came across the other 10-second rule on the Accounting Today website. Accountant and author Kyle Walters writes that his rule is also simple: If Walters talks for ten consecutive seconds during a client meeting, he stops to ask an open-ended question. Crucial to the process is that Walters then gives the person answering time to talk.

Now, while Walters applies this to client meetings, it’s useful for conversation in general. As he points out, it breaks the bad habits of dominating conversations; giving off the impression that you’re selfish and don’t care about the others in conversations; and not listening to others.

Anyone who leads a team; needs to develop relationships with suppliers, distributors, contractors, investors, banks, inspectors, etc.; and wants to build relationships with guests knows that listening is crucial.

Sure, ten seconds doesn’t seem like a lot of time. However, take the time to actually see how many thoughts you can fire off in ten seconds. You’ll see how much talking for that “small” amount of time can quickly seem domineering if you don’t stop to include others in the conversation.

There’s also the “small” detail that you’re not having a conversation if you’re not listening—you’re just delivering a speech…and it’s probably not a good one.

It takes work to break bad habits. However, the benefit to your personal growth, leadership abilities, and business are worth the effort.

Image: Agê Barros on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Leadership: What is the 10 Second Rule?

Leadership: What is the 10 Second Rule?

by David Klemt

Message icon and emoji in form of white neon sign

Anyone who spends any time reading publications that focus on business will come across the “10 Second Rule.”

So, what is this rule? And why should you care?

After all, many entrepreneurs who enter hospitality do so partially to reject “corporate life.”

Adapt Rather than Reject

First, let me say that we understand the allure of eschewing the traditional business world. KRG Hospitality is itself a rebellion against corporate life.

However, we believe that some proven business strategies absolutely have a place in independent restaurant and bar operations.

Indeed, there are lessons independent and boutique operators can learn from their chain and corporate counterparts.

Conversely, independent and boutique entrepreneurs can teach chains quite a few things.

In fact, there are chain operations out there that go to great lengths to appear independent. They strive to leverage the perception that they’re local and small.

So, rather than outright reject corporate strategies and tactics, operators should adapt them to streamline operations, reduce costs, maximize profits, and thrive long-term.

Ten Seconds

Hospitality and foodservice are fast-paced—that’s not news. When front and back of house find themselves in the weeds, passions rise quickly. Often, a blow-up is on the menu.

The same can be true during shift and staff meetings. Perhaps one or two employees aren’t engaging, or maybe there’s a long-simmering issue that’s close to boiling over.

Or, perhaps a change to operations and expectations—the reason for the meeting—immediately ruffles feathers. This rule also applies to one-on-one discussions between ownership, management, and staff.

Engaging in a dust-up can be tempting. Not many people appreciate having their authority questioned or perceived slight left unaddressed.

The 10 Second Rule I’m addressing pertains to communication. Of course, we all know communication is often two things: crucial and difficult.

Simply put, the 10 Second Rule tells us to be quiet for ten seconds. If tensions are rising (often accompanied by volume), put an end to the situation by shutting up and counting to ten.

According to people who champion this rule, a few things happen: the person who implements stops feeding the tension; that same person can now respond without emotion; it provides time to remember that the other party isn’t just an opponent; and the other party tends to also cool off.

It’s a simple rule that can have a huge impact on workplace culture. A healthier, more positive culture leads to happier staff, which improves recruiting and retention. That’s a huge payoff for just ten seconds.

Image: Jason Leung on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

EEOC Clarifies Vaccine Stance

EEOC Clarifies Vaccine Stance

by David Klemt

Covid-19 vaccine vial on blue background

American employers have the right to require Covid-19 vaccination as a condition of employment.

This is according to recent clarifications from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Perhaps learning from yet more missteps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the EEOC is making their position clearer.

Requirements

Per the EEOC, requiring workers to get a Covid-19 vaccine doesn’t violate federal law.

However, an employer failing to provide “reasonable accommodation” in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act would be illegal.

According to the EEOC’s guidance update:

“Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, so long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other EEO considerations. Other laws, not in EEOC’s jurisdiction, may place additional restrictions on employers.”

Additionally, employers who offer on-site vaccinations take on an additional responsibility. They must keep confidential any personal medical information gleaned during employee pre-vaccination screenings.

Of course, the agency’s guidance isn’t only for employers. Employees can access a fact sheet explaining pandemic-specific protections that are in place.

Incentives

The EEOC’s update also addresses the right for employers to offer employees vaccine incentives.

In short, the agency says incentives are legal as long as they’re not coercive. Of course, legal experts will argue that one person’s perception of coercion will differ from another’s.

Really, the only example the EEOC provides for what may constitute a coercive incentive is “a very large incentive” that may make an employee “feel pressured to disclose protected medical information.”

Per a survey by Arizona State University and the Rockefeller Foundation, two-thirds of employers plan to offer vaccination incentives rather than mandates. However, nearly half say they’ll implement mandates if incentives don’t work. Only one-third of survey respondents don’t plan to impose vaccination requirements on employees.

Challenges

Look, we all know America is a litigious society. Given that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some states have already banned vaccine requirements and passports.

Nor should it be a shock that lawsuits have been filed by employees challenging the legality of vaccine requirements. At least half of US states have introduced bills seeking to seek to limit COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Operators have a lot to consider when it comes to vaccine requirements and incentives. For example, offering the incentive that fully vaccinated employees can go maskless at work while non-vaccinated workers must wear masks can be a form of discrimination.

Beyond legal challenges, operators must also contend with public perception and backlash. With the divisions plaguing America currently, operators have a lot to think about before requiring Covid-19 vaccines for employees. While some guests will view such requirements as a responsible move that protects employees, guests and the public, others will see it as a massive violation of personal freedoms and a form of tyranny.

Truly, this is a time when operators must seriously draw on their leadership abilities, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

Clearly, the topics of vaccine requirements and vaccine incentives necessitate careful consideration. This is an important leadership moment that hinges on an operator’s understanding of their team, their guests, and the market in which they operate.

Do not make vaccine decisions lightly.

Disclaimer

This content is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as legal or other advice. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor does any information constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law. This information is of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of a specific individual or entity. The reader of this information alone assumes the sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with the use of any information before making any decisions based on such information.

Image: Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

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