A guiding principal of just about any business is that any brand is only as good as the people behind it. But as detailed in the first part of this series on Monday, there is increasing evidence showing the people who make your brand happen and their ability to innovate and feel a sense of ownership may from now on be even more critical to a restaurant brand’s success than even that all-important investment capital that has been at the top of most strategic priorities the world over.

Today, investment capital is relatively plentiful for most viable brands, as reported at length in a recent Harvard Business Review report. The truly rare element in the restaurant industry now is the motivated and innovative employee, as well as the kind of company culture that not only attracts these types, but also retains them and gives them a sense that what they do and how they do it makes a huge difference in the future success of the business, regardless of which restaurant category the brand falls within.

As organizational dynamics expert and longtime foodservice industry leader Bobby Shaw put it, “If a culture is healthy, ideas should come up from throughout the company, regardless of where (the employee behind the idea) fall(s) on the organizational chart. The big question is, ‘Are all employees encouraged to share those ideas?'”

So that’s the culture piece that keeps these innovators on board and innovating. But we wondered what was the key to both “magnetizing” these kinds of people to apply at your chain, and then how do you detect the innovative, action-oriented problem solvers in the recruitment, hiring and even ongoing retention process? For some great answers to that question, this site went to the recruiting organization, Outmatch, which recently partnered with the University at Albany (UAlbany) – State University of New York (SUNY) to combine the skills of UAlbany’s industrial organizational psychology program faculty and graduate students with those of the company’s research and science team to create employee selection and assessment processes that use statistical analysis to link job performance to the results of employee assessments. It’s part of an increasing move to using massive amounts of data regarding types of employees that innovate and problem solve exceptionally well on the job to create assessments that identify those same types of individuals in the applicant pool.

What follows are highlights of an interview with Outmatch CMO Jason Ferrara on what the data shows about these kinds of winning employees and how companies can both get those types of individuals to take an interest in a position at their brand and how the company can identify them in the hiring process and then retain them.

Q:  Are your restaurant clients making moves currently to both attract and identify innovators and “doers” in the applicant pool?
A:
Absolutely. In working with clients throughout the restaurant and food service industry …we see a common theme: success in the restaurant industry is about more than food; It’s about people. Restaurants are increasingly being treated as businesses where hiring and employing professionals is not just a goal, but a requirement. Amid stiff competition, good employees who can create a positive dining and social experience are differentiators that can make or break a business … (and) treating restaurant jobs as professional, career-based positions.

More than ever, data is being used to evaluate candidates — from pre-hire assessments to interviews, and reference checking to develop and promote employees.

Also, as data is increasingly used in restaurant hiring, we are seeing more organizations hire HR professionals with backgrounds in data

A guiding principal of just about any business is that any brand is only as good as the people behind it. But as detailed in the first part of this series on Monday, there is increasing evidence showing the people who make your brand happen and their ability to innovate and feel a sense of ownership may from now on be even more critical to a restaurant brand’s success than even that all-important investment capital that has been at the top of most strategic priorities the world over.

Today, investment capital is relatively plentiful for most viable brands, as reported at length in a recent Harvard Business Review report. The truly rare element in the restaurant industry now is the motivated and innovative employee, as well as the kind of company culture that not only attracts these types, but also retains them and gives them a sense that what they do and how they do it makes a huge difference in the future success of the business, regardless of which restaurant category the brand falls within.

As organizational dynamics expert and longtime foodservice industry leader Bobby Shaw put it, “If a culture is healthy, ideas should come up from throughout the company, regardless of where (the employee behind the idea) fall(s) on the organizational chart. The big question is, ‘Are all employees encouraged to share those ideas?'”

Read the full article on QSR Web.