The Work Force No One Wants
Today, there are many parents
raising their kids without a partner. The
process of raising a child under the best of
circumstances is monumental, but doing it solo
can be scary, stressful and expensive to say the
Some employers actively
discriminate against single parents applying for
new jobs. We've all heard the reasons:
bad work attendance, always "an emergency" and
impossible schedule juggling.
But what we don't hear often is why single
parents can be the BEST employees for a
restaurant: they've got kids to feed!
Understanding The Challenges
Most people never think about
the events that single parents deal with every
The legal process of divorce
Power struggles with an X
One income instead of two
Late/Unreliable child support
Lack of personal time
No backup system when a child
gets sick or needs special attention
Scheduling visitation with an
Once you, as an employer,
understand these challenges you can take steps
to recruit and retain single parent employees.
Every restaurant in the country has problems
with staffing... why not find a new hiring pool?
Creating Single Parent
Friendly Work Environments
Some of the ways that employers
can help make their work environments better for
single parents are listed below.
employees succeed by establishing
schedules that lead to success rather than
failure. If an employee wants to
work 8 hours per day but in reality can only
work 6 hours, don't over-schedule that
employee. Instead, make the schedule for
6 hours with 2 hours of flex time.
The flex time can be a back of house job that
gives the employee the ability to leave any
time (i.e. dishwasher, swabber or busser)
"You were scheduled to
work from 4:00p to Midnite. Here it
is not even 10:00p and you want to leave.
If you can't handle this job, you won't be
able to work anywhere!"
"I understand that your
son has a fever and that you need to be
with him. Will you stay at
work for 35 more minutes which will give
me time to resolve some scheduling issues?
I appreciate you and I want to help you,
however, I need you to understand my
Make a deal: Your
employee can have a "take home dinner" in
return for working an extra hour off the
clock. You win because you get an
hour of free labor and the employee wins
because they save the time of preparing dinner
Treat events & happenings with
a level head: If an employee needs to
leave work for a legitimate reason (medical
emergency, family issue or illness) be
sympathetic and supportive. If the
employee begins abusing your good will,
respond with a three step course of action.
Step 1: Tell the
employee that you feel taken advantage of
in this instance. Ask the employee
what course of action they would take if
they were the employer. Issue a
warning in a polite but affirmative
Step 2: Warn the
employee that repeated abuse has left a
bitter taste in your mouth and that if a
problem arises again, there may be no
other solution than to find a replacement.
Step 3: Summarize
the dates, times & events from steps 1 & 2
above and terminate the employee without
guilt. As an employer, you
have been fair and consistent.
For every disciplinary action
that occurs, tell the employee one thing they
did well for each thing you tell them to
correct. For example, "(A)
Amanda, you have done a great job with your
customers. All of them have told us you
are likable and lovely. (B)
However, those of us in the back of the house
need you to remember to buss your tables.
(C) If you do not improve this aspect
of your performance, we will not be able to
keep you on as a server."
(A) Explained what
Amanda did well
(B) Explained the
outlined a consequence