"In our industry, we have a huge problem of turnover and a very, very serious problem of labor shortages," says Steve Belmonte, president and CEO of Parsippany, New Jersey-based Ramada Franchise Systems Inc."No matter where we go, the number-one problem we hear from our franchisees is labor. It's getting harder to find people."
At the International Hotel/Motel Restaurant Show in New York City last November, Ramada presented a solution. The hotel chain announced a partnership with gotajob.com, a site that specializes in filling hourly and entry-level positions.
Available since that time, the program lets Ramada franchisees post up to five positions at a time on gotajob.com 24 hours a day. Responses are instantly forwarded from the site to franchisees by fax or e-mail. The service is free.
"The bottom line is we sell support systems," Belmonte says. "That's what this is all about: providing better support systems for our licensees than the competition does."
The partnership with gotajob.com is part of Personal Best Hospitality, an initiative created by Ramada to help franchisees hire, train, retain and motivate employees. The program, which has about 50 components, also includes arrangements with Predictive Index, a behavioral-profile service. During the interview process, applicants take personality tests, then Predictive Index reviews the tests to see whether the applicant's traits fit with the job description. "It gives good insight to the manager, so we make sure we put [the applicant] in the right job the first time," Belmonte explains.
Personal Best Hospitality was singled out as one of the best human resources practices in a 1999 study done of the lodging industry by Cornell University for American Express and the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation.
Franchisees taking advantage of the program and the gotajob.com partnership are pleased with the results. "They can't believe the results they're getting and the fact they don't have to revert back to the expense of advertising in local newspapers and magazines," Belmonte says. "We've had many phone calls saying this is one of the best benefits we've ever given them."