Harri Wins NYC Hospitality Alliance's Technology Award

It's hard to deny the fact that New York City is the hospitality capital of the world. With over 24,000+ restaurants, bars, nightclubs and such, the industry would be nothing without its passionate professionals, working tirelessly day in and day out. So to celebrate, the NYC Hospitality Alliance hosted an awards ceremony to recognize the industry's achievements. 

Andrew Rigie, the Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, said, "It was an amazing night. We are a passionate industry and it’s important to recognize the hard work and dedication these individuals and businesses put into their craft. Hospitality is an art, and we are so proud to honor and celebrate their contributions.”

Team Harri was in attendance at the event, which was held at the iconic nightclub, Marquee New York. Awards that were presented included Big Apple Legacy Award, Four Stars Award, I ❤ Hospitality Award and others.

Harri was nominated for the Technology Award along with notable names, like ADP, delivery.com, Paycom and more. The award acknowledges the contributions of a technology platform and how it enhances the way the hospitality industry operates. (See here for the entire list of award winners and nominations.)

We were amongst other innovative platforms in our category, but we are proud to announce that Harri took home the Technology Award. The award is a reminder of how much work we have done so far. It also gives us motivation to develop even greater features and products to service the needs of the industry, both employers and employees. 

Big thanks again to the NYC Hospitality Alliance on the successful night and the award! 

2016 Restaurant Industry Challenges Continue

The National Restaurant Association projects that restaurants in 2016 will post sales of $782.7 billion and employ 14.4 million people in more than 1 million locations. Released today, the 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast reveals that the U.S. restaurant industry will remain the nation’s second-largest private sector employer, providing career opportunities for 1in 10 working Americans.

“Though the overall economy is trending in the right direction, the operating environment isn’t without challenges going into 2016,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research for the National Restaurant Association. “With overall tightening in some labor markets, we’re seeing recruitment and retention making a comeback as a top challenge for restaurant operators.”

Top restaurant industry trends for 2016 include:

  • Not all smooth sailing. Restaurant operators will face a number of headwinds in the 2016 business environment. From legislative and regulatory pressures and moderate economic growth, to labor cost increases and cybersecurity, both new and old issues will challenge profit margins and muddle operating procedures.
  • Labor pool is getting shallower. Recruitment and retention of employees will re-emerge as a top challenge for restaurant operators, as a tighter national labor market means greater competition with other industries for employees. Workforce demographics are shifting to include a greater proportion of older workers while the younger labor pool is shrinking.
  • Everybody’s business. The restaurant industry has always been one where people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to achieve the American dream of owning one’s own business. The restaurant industry is home to a growing number of women-owned and minority-owned businesses, where many current owners started their restaurant careers at entry level. Eating-and-drinking-place firms owned by women and minorities continue to grow at a faster rate than the overall industry.
  • Moderate sales growth. The restaurant industry will see its seventh consecutive year of real sales growth in 2016. Substantial regional variations will continue, reflecting local business conditions. The long-term trend of quickservice sales growth outpacing tableservice sales growth will also maintain its momentum, along with strong growth of snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars.
  • Technology growing pains. The availability of technology options is starting to move from novelty to expectation among many consumers. In the race to be tech-forward, new systems are popping up in more places as guests say they want to use them. However, two in five consumers say that technology makes restaurant visits and ordering more complicated, indicating that perhaps not all these new systems are as user-friendly as they could be. Restaurants will be focusing on closing that divide in the year ahead.
  • Mobile payment gaining acceptance. Few technologies are advancing faster than payment platforms. Security and convenience are converging in mobile payment systems, with a number of wallet apps and devices entering the market. Although a majority of consumers remain on the fence about paying for meals via smartphone, a growing number say they would use – or are already using – that option when available, and the trend is expected to keep its trajectory through 2016.
  • American foodie 2.0. The typical restaurant guest today is not the same as the typical restaurant guest 20 years ago. Having essentially grown up in restaurants, younger generations have a very sophisticated world-view when it comes to food. Restaurant operators say guests have higher expectations of their dining experience and pay more attention to everything from diet-specific food, to sustainability, to food sourcing and production than even just two years ago. Operators will carefully balance how to cater to these precise tastes without becoming too niche or alienating more mature guests. 

For more information on the 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast, including graphics and video, visit Restaurant.org/Forecast.

(via National Restaurant Association)

Technology and Video to Change Hiring Game in 2016



WELLESLEY, Mass., Dec. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Predictive Index, a company that empowers businesses to realize what drives workplace behaviors, released their hiring predictions for 2016 today.

Mike Zani, CEO of The Predictive Index, feels that companies will need to supplement traditional thinking when it comes to selecting qualified candidates - including using assessments as part of the vetting process.  Zani states, "In order to increase efficiency and find qualified people, we will see the use of behavior, personality, cognitive ability, and skills assessments used earlier and earlier in the hiring process to ensure only the best-fitting candidates are moved through the hiring process."

Most companies are facing the seemingly omnipresent obstacles like the war for talent, change management, employee retention, and the changing workplace (which includes continuing to adapt to the changing needs of the millennial workforce). Facing these challenges head on can provide great opportunities for companies to automate, modernize, and lead in 2016.

The top workplace trends for 2016 identified by The Predictive Index:

  1. People Will Use Technology to "Shop" for Their Ideal Employer Employers are seeing the war for talent fought on a national and even global scale. This is due to ubiquitous information access and the fact that the best candidates are more mobile than they had been prior. Organizations now find themselves competing beyond their local market. Additionally, sites like Glassdoor (which provides transparency about what it's like to work at a company) further shifts power from the employer to the well-informed job seeker. Employees can "shop" for their ideal job and company much easier than ever.
  2. More Personal Connections between Employees and Employers Will be a "Must Have" Millennials, according to various estimates, will make up a majority of the workforce after 2020. As this majority grows, workers have indicated a desire to feel like they're working for a company they can relate to on a deeper, more meaningful level.  Companies that encourage a fluid, entrepreneurial approach to work and get in involved in causes on a local and global level will be successful in attracting top talent. Social media will continue to grow as a force that drives employer branding, advocacy, and the perception of potential candidates.
  3. Video will Change the Hiring Game There will continue to be an increase of hiring tools and software packages that allow employers to easily administer video interviews. With the fluctuation in cost of video hardware and software, more and more companies will be leveraging video to qualify candidates earlier in the hiring process. A growing trend in 2016 will include candidates recording video responses to a few canned questions using their laptop or tablet and uploading them to the potential employer. This makes it easier for an employer to find quality candidates in a scalable way that doesn't break the bank for the candidate.

For more information contact: Karen Pantinas 781-418-2413 kpantinas@daviesmurphy.com

About The Predictive Index Serving more than 8,000 clients across 142 countries and delivering solutions in 70 languages, The Predictive Index is a simple methodology that allows businesses to understand what drives their people so they can take them where they want to go. Through a unique blend of scientific assessments, groundbreaking software, top-notch management training, and professional consulting from the world's best workplace behavior experts, The Predictive Index can help you overcome the most complex business challenges. Scientific validation and a 60-year proven track record has shown that business challenges big and small are no match for our unique approach to client education and knowledge transfer, which ensures swift adoption, direct ROI, and high impact on performance metrics. Each year, 2.5 million PI assessments are administered and over 7,000 professionals are trained in our workshops. Visit www.predictiveindex.com to learn how to select, hire, and onboard the best-fitting talent, increase employee engagement, develop teams, discover high potential employees, and overcome sales slumps.

(via PR Newswire)


Converged Technology Group IDs Eight Ways Video Enhances HR Recruitment Efforts



ISLANDIA, N.Y., Oct.  29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- When a company hires a new employee, the expectation is that the organization's overall productivity will increase. Locating, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, training and retaining qualified candidates, however, is both time consuming and costly. The goal of today's human resources (HR) professional is, therefore, to find and hire the best available talent and to integrate new employees in a way that moves them from newbies to significant contributors in the most cost-effective and timely way possible. According to Converged Technology Group (www.convergedtechgroup.com), an award-winning Managed Services Partner (MSP) serving clients throughout the Northeast, successful HR professionals have discovered they all have one secret in common, and it's one that propels them – and their organizations – to the front of the race for employee ROI: video collaboration.

"In partnership  with Cisco, we recently held an event focused on the use of video throughout the recruitment process that drew widespread attention from people in a variety of HR roles, including recruiters, learning and development professionals, as well as C-level executives," says Leo E. Galletta, President and CEO, Converged Technology Group. "The event showcased the strategies, capabilities and technologies required to engage the broad spectrum of a multi-generational workforce. During the event, we performed live demonstrations of video collaboration tools, something which all of the attendees said they found to be relevant and extremely valuable. Why did an event focused on the relationship between HR and IT resonate so well among traditionally non-technical line-of-business professionals? Because companies are having very different conversations today about business outcomes and the best ways to recruit, develop and retain top talent – and most have realized that technology is the key."

The ROI of Video Collaboration

Today's HR professionals conduct worldwide searches to fill key positions, and they need the technological tools that can help them do it. To expand their search and attract an increasingly technology-dependent millennial workforce, recruiters must embrace video and use it to its fullest extent to increase their company's return on human capital.  Experts agree that video is quickly becoming an HR pro's most valuable tool: Studies show that video yields 35 percent greater year-over-year improvements in time to hire and 32 percent greater reductions in costs per hire.1 To help HR, IT and the C-suite see eye-to-eye, Converged Technology Group has identified eight important reasons to embrace video collaboration in the recruitment, development and retention process:

  1. It's Personal: Interviewers can more effectively and efficiently pre-screen candidates face-to-face via video than they can over the phone.
  2. Putting it all Together: Group interviews are becoming more commonplace, and video allows hiring managers to assemble remote resources to conduct an interview on short notice.
  3. Part of the Team: When relocation isn't a possibility, video makes it easier to hire, train and retain remote workers where they are, yet still have them feel like a valued part of the team.
  4. Warming Cold Feet: Staying connected with employees in transition by beginning the onboarding process before they arrive keeps new hires engaged from the day the offer goes out until their first day on the job.
  5. Anywhere, Anytime Communication: Video allows for instant communication between colleagues, giving new hires a feeling of connectedness from the start that speeds the onboarding process.
  6. Experience Matters: The days of using post-it notes and rotary phones to conduct business are gone; tech-savvy millennials expect to work in a connected, digital environment and are actually shopping for employers that offer them the kind of "connected workplace" experience they envision.
  7. A Balancing Act: Because the line between work and personal time has blurred, employees want to be equipped with the tools they need to be as productive at home as they would be in the office, giving them the option of building a more flexible schedule and a better work-life balance.
  8. Love of Learning: Video helps learning and development managers present training that is more compelling and engaging, something which ultimately translates to better organizational return and employee retention.

1 Aberdeen Group: "Bridging Distance in the Talent Lifecycle"

More Information:

About Converged Technology Group

Converged Technology Group is an award-winning Managed Services Partner (MSP) focused on improving IT performance and business outcomes while lowering the cost of technology support for businesses in healthcare, financial services, education, retail, legal and other cutting-edge industries. Located in Islandia, NY, and New York City, Converged Technology Group provides enterprise networking, collaboration, virtualized data center, cloud solutions and managed services to both regional and multinational corporations. The company provides business-critical uptime all the time, and helps clients design, implement and operate their IT infrastructure, communication and computing systems for the greatest return on their IT investments. For more information on Converged Technology Group, please contact us at 631-468-5728 or info@convergedtechgroup.com, and visit our website at www.convergedtechgroup.com.

(via PR Newswire)


Technology Helps Restaurant Industry Recruit and Retain Staff



Technological tools are increasingly helping restaurant operators recruit and retain employees in a tightening labor market, but experts say a human layer to the digital approach remains a significant part of the equation.

“Recruiting technology will continue to evolve to look more like marketing technology,” said Kevin P. Walker, an Austin, Texas-based business-to-business marketing expert. Job hunters are increasingly open to technological pitches, he noted.

A total of 44 percent of adult workers in general subscribe to websites that send job alerts on openings, Walker said, citing Harris poll data during a seminar at the recent Meeting of the Minds conference in Dallas hosted by Self Opportunity recruitment consultancy.

But until recently, technology hasn’t played a large role in restaurant hiring and retention practices, according to study released Tuesday by WorkJam, a Montreal-based employee relationship management platform.

About 57 percent of restaurants still rely on manual processes when scheduling employees, a survey of 500 U.S. service managers and 700 U.S. hourly workers found. Those processes led to frustration on the part of the employees, with 56 percent of employees surveyed saying they received their schedules a week or less in advance.

Response to scheduling

A line cook at a family-dining restaurant in Michigan City, Mich., told Nation’s Restaurant News about his frustrations with his schedules and the general manager.

The line cook said that his general manager played favorites when scheduling work hours, he wrote in an email to NRN. “I've been there six months and go to work every day. I have never called off one day. I work for other people, I do everything in the kitchen and I'm good at it.”

He said that restaurant staff is often scared to speak up about concerns because they are afraid to lose their jobs, "but somebody needs to stand up for what's right.”

Unpredictable and inconsistent scheduling practices affect not only retention, but the ability to recruit new workers.

The WorkJam survey, entitled “An Inside Look at the Hiring and Scheduling Crisis in the Hourly Workforce,” found that 46 percent of restaurants reported frequently or sometimes being understaffed. Of those, 53 percent said it compromised the customer experience.

The result was often both dissatisfied guests and employees.

More than a third of restaurants report a quarterly turnover rate of at least 26 percent for their hourly employees, and 33 percent claim that this rate has increased over the past two years.

“To maintain growth and minimize costs in today’s tough regulatory environment and competitive marketplace, businesses must quickly adopt more comprehensive systems to manage the employer-employee relationship,” Joshua Ostrega, co-founder and chief operating office of WorkJam, said in a statement.

“Managers need to realize that investing in better ways of hiring, scheduling and managing employees is an investment in the company’s bottom line,” Ostrega added.

In August 2014, Starbucks Corp., which has long been known for its enlightened and often cutting-edge employee practices, smacked head-on with the darker side of automated scheduling when The New York Times reported challenges some employees were having with scheduling software.

Last year, Starbucks said it immediately made significant changes in its automated scheduling, including getting rid of widely split shifts, known as “clopening,” when an employee is scheduled to close a unit at night and open it the next morning.

Clopenings are surprisingly common in the restaurant industry. The WorkJam survey found that 48 percent of managers schedule employees for back-to-back closing and opening shifts.

Last year, Starbucks also said schedules would be posted at least a week in advance, and workers who lived more than an hour’s commute from their current location would be relocated to closer units.

But in September, a survey of Starbucks employees by advocacy group The Center for Public Democracy found continued worker scheduling concerns including unpredictable work weeks, inconsistent schedules and clopening shifts.

“We’re the first to admit we have work to do,” Starbucks spokesperson Jaime Riley told the New York Times. “But we feel like we’ve made good progress, and that doesn’t align with what we’re seeing.” Despite the survey’s assertions, Starbucks told the New York Times that employees receive their schedules 10 days in advance.

(via Nation's Restaurant News)