Anne Kokkonen from NoHo: Young employees are changing the restaurant sector
“Young people make up an important part of restaurant staff, and they are also shaping the employer’s ways of working,” says Anne Kokkonen, HR Director at NoHo Partners.
The restaurant sector is ideal for students and young people, because it offers an opportunity to work part time and the work can be easily adjusted to different situations in life. Typically, students have employment contracts that last throughout their studies, for 3–5 years.
Working at a restaurants provides young employees with valuable work experience that benefits them throughout their lives and in any career. They learn interaction skills, the ability to work under pressure and customer service, and their language skills improve. The dense work communities are a definite perk, and young employees are also attracted by good fringe benefits and the flexible working hours.
We have noticed that today’s young people have new kinds of needs. For example, they want to have a summer holiday instead of working from May to August, which used to be the norm. We have to accept that and take it into account in recruitment.
We are delighted to see that young people want to work in the sector and with us, because we absolutely need them.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the restaurant sector hard. The unpredictable and fluctuating working hours gave rise to uncertainty, and more than 10,000 employees left the restaurant sector. We struggled to find enough workforce last spring and summer, but now things are looking brighter and we have overcome the shortage of staff.
On the other hand, there is a slight skills deficit in the restaurant sector, because the young applicants do not, understandably, have extensive experience or training in the field. However, we are delighted to see that young people want to work in the sector and with us, because we absolutely need them.
We expect young applicants to have a good attitude and strong motivation to work.
We expect young applicants to have a good attitude and strong motivation to work. They do not have to be extrovert social butterflies, having the right attitude and willingness to learn is enough!
We also invite children in secondary school to work with us, such as during their TET training periods. TET training is an excellent way to familiarise oneself with restaurant work and see whether the sector would be a good choice for a summer job.
We encourage our supervisors to recognise diversity.
We want young people to enjoy working at our restaurants. Last year, 200 of our restaurant and kitchen managers participated in leadership training. This year, we will provide the training to shift managers and shift masters. Topics covered by the training include leading diversity and encountering young people.
We encourage our supervisors to recognise diversity and take it into account in leadership and to provide high-quality, comprehensive induction training to new employees. It is important to understand that people learn in different ways and to take this into account in induction.