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Integrity, Diversity and Productivity in Foodservice Discussed
at Upcoming HR in Hospitality™ Conference

Produced in association with Human Resource Executive® Magazine, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration
and Cornell University ILR School, ‘HR in Foodservice’ sessions get down to the nitty-gritty and examine Integrity
Testing, Virtual Interviews and Employee Screening. Wynn Las Vegas, March 16 – 19, 2008
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HORSHAM, PA. — DECEMBER 3, 2007 — The 2nd Annual HR in Hospitality™ Conference (www.HRinHospitality.com), to be held March 16 – 19, 2008 at Wynn Las Vegas, has human resource and employment experts preparing hot presentations for foodservice operators. Four “HR in Foodservice” sessions will dish out critical information on: Why online employee screening can identify the best employees and avoid potentially-damaging litigation; How hiring a diversified workforce helps create a competitive edge and increase employee performance; How the Internet is helping HR professionals to identify the best candidates and keep abreast of local, state and federal laws; and, What practices need to be implemented for HR to influence the profitability of a foodservice operation. 

The event is produced by Human Resource Executive® Conferences and developed and co-sponsored by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and the Cornell ILR School. The American Hotel & Lodging Association also endorses HR in Hospitality™. 

The three-day conference tackles tough issues for foodservice, restaurant and hotel professionals in HR management, with customized tracks for each of the three segments. Sessions specific to “HR in Foodservice” include: 

  • "Using Integrity Testing to Reduce Theft, Absenteeism and Injuries"
  • "Trends in Employment Screening: What Foodservice HR Professionals Need to Know" 
  • "Developing a Talented, Diverse Workforce at Sysco" 
  • "Virtual Interviews, Real Jobs:  21st Century Recruiting at Sodexho" 
“Human resource professionals are continuously challenged to hire the best people they can find, and in order to be successful, companies need to implement evidenced-based tools to make their jobs easier and improve the earnings of the organization by reducing some severe hiring costs,” said Peter Bullard, founder and director of American Tescor LLC. “Workers’ compensation claims, short-term disability, skyrocketing medical costs, absence costs of all kinds, and employee turnover are all drains on the profitability of a foodservice organization. The session I’m presenting – and the HR in Hospitality™ Conference in general – will instruct how HR can play a starring role in increasing profits without having to generate a single additional dollar in revenue.”

Bullard, along with Cornell University Associate Professor Michael C. Sturman, will lead the session titled: "Using Integrity Testing to Reduce Theft, Absenteeism and Injuries.” While “integrity testing” has been around for centuries, both Bullard and Sturman say very few foodservice operations have adopted it – or are using it successfully. Companies that don’t take care of their bottom line simply disappear, the experts say. It’s important to make the workplace better and safer for employees and applicants who want to work there. Companies that can reduce theft, accidents, violence and dishonesty are those that will make the workplace a better place.

“HR practices often lag behind science,” Sturman said. “Few companies adopt ‘Evidence-Based Management, the practice of using research findings to help drive actual practices. Instead of learning from the research evidence, a lot of today’s companies use HR practices based on tradition. For example, unstructured interviews, which are generally poor predictors of performance, are still the most widely used selection tool. Our presentation on integrity testing will show how this rarely used selection tool can yield a substantial return on investment.

“During this session we will share the results of more than a decade’s worth of studies on the power of integrity tests to improve hiring quality, productivity and the bottom line,” he added. “Any company experiencing problems with accidents or controlling Workers’ Comp costs should attend this session to learn about the validity of integrity testing.”

Pre-Screening a pre-requisite

Jason Morris, president of Cleveland-based employeescreenIQ, said one of the biggest challenges faced by HR professionals today is the ability to hire the right people for the right positions. Because of turnover and other factors, a “fast and cheap” approach to hiring is oftentimes practiced, causing hiring managers to lose sight of what is really important. Morris will lead the session titled: "Trends in Employment Screening: What Foodservice HR Professionals Need to Know."

“The scope of conducting background checks is changing every day, just as the employment playing field is changing,” Morris said. “Laws are changing too. Pre-employment screening can limit an operator’s exposure to potentially damaging litigation for issues such as wrongful hiring, workplace violence or wrongful termination. An apples-to-apples comparison among applicants that involves old-fashioned detective work – actually walking into county courts and calling former employers – produces better results than just searching online databases. 

“This session will acquaint attendees with the latest supplemental tools available via the Internet to assist in screening potential foodservice employees, including how to use online information without violating employment and privacy laws,” he said. “Participants will leave this session with an audit checklist against which they can test their own screening process. Because if you don’t measure up in this area, you’re probably not hiring who you think you are.”

Measuring diversity

According to Tiffanie McDonald, senior director of diversity for Houston-based Sysco Corporation, North America’s largest foodservice distributor, developing a system to measure the success of a company’s diversity program is a tremendous HR challenge today. In the session titled: "Developing a Talented, Diverse Workforce at Sysco," McDonald along with Al Gaylor, Sysco’s vice president of industry relations and diversity, will discuss how building diversity among employees leads to increased profitability within the foodservice distribution channel. 

“Everyone will agree that human capital is a company’s most valuable asset, and diversity is the wave of the future,” she said. “All demographic data suggests that the workplace – and the U.S. population – is becoming more diverse. Those companies that are ahead of the curve by adopting diversity strategies are the ones that stand to outpace the competition.”

In 2006, people of color represented 38% and women represented 45% of Sysco’s workforce totaling approximately 50,000 employees. Clearly, talented people of all backgrounds see the company as a place of opportunity where they can make a difference. Gaylor and McDonald will discuss how Sysco has turned its commitment to diversity into actions, which positively impacts trading partners across the foodservice supply chain.

“In foodservice, one of the hot trends today is ethnic cuisine, e.g. Fusion Latin, Mediterranean, Pan Asian, etc.,” McDonald said. “Operators must be equipped to meet demands of patrons who desire unique dining experiences. To do so, we must recruit and retain diverse individuals who understand diverse culinary requirements, and can help foodservice operators develop business plans and menu offerings that appeal to diverse cultures and ethnic groups. As the number of minority business owners and restaurateurs increases, along with the emphasis on ethnic foods, hiring employees who understand diverse culture, language, and food trends will make the difference between success and failure. Research shows that companies that embrace diversity as part of their business plan tend to outperform those that don’t.”

In the final foodservice session titled: "Virtual Interviews, Real Jobs:  21st Century Recruiting at Sodexho,” Anthony Scarpino, senior director of talent acquisition at Sodexho USA, will discuss the benefits of hosting a job fair in cyberspace. 

“Any company which is or will be challenged with recruiting from the GenY talent pool entering the work force should plan to attend this session,” Scarpino said. “We will talk about the use of virtual worlds and other strategies to reach and attract this generation.”

Because the Internet no longer is new, Scarpino said he feels its impact on recruiting has been felt for quite a while. 

“Newer technologies such as SecondLife (which will be discussed) and the explosion of social networks, open source content, search-engine technologies and candidate search tools have created new avenues for recruiters to reach candidates and candidates to research potential employers,” he said.  “In some cases, these tools have been good for the recruiter; in others good for the candidate; so in a way everybody wins. 

“Online tools complement a comprehensive selection process which includes traditional screening and interview methods – they do not replace them,” he added. “This ensures that candidates are chosen based on their qualifications to do the job for which they are being considered.”

For registration details, including early-bird registration and the conference’s full agenda, visit www.HRinHospitality.com. For exhibitor and sponsorship information, visit www.HRinHospitality.com or contact Fred Kurst, Trade Show Manager for the Southeast, Southwest, West and Europe, at (703) 393-8304; or Nancy Sommar, Trade Show Manager for the Northeast, Midwest and Canada, at (215) 784-0910, ext. 6231. 

About HR in Hospitality™

HR in Hospitality™ is developed and produced by Human Resource Executive® Conferences, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and Cornell University ILR School. HR in Hospitality™ is the premier event specifically for professionals in the hospitality industry who handle employment law, human resource management and labor relations.

In addition to the conference, the HR in Hospitality™ Expo Hall is open for two days and is designed to further assist attendees through exposure to products and services related to benefits, HRO, legal, payroll, screening and assessment, training, and recruiting.

About HRE® Conferences

Thousands of HR professionals network, research workforce solutions and make buying decisions at the three annual Human Resource Executive® events: NY HR Week™, April 15-17, 2008; HR in Hospitality™, March 16-19, 2008; and the HR Technology® Conference & Exposition, October 15-17, 2008. More information about these conferences can be accessed at www.hreconferences.com

Note to editors: HR in Hospitality™ is produced by HRE® Conferences, a division of LRP Conferences, LLC. Trademarks and registered trademarks referenced herein remain the property of their respective owners. A limited number of complimentary press passes are available for HR in Hospitality™. To request a press pass, please contact PRPRO.

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Contact:

Barb Worcester
President
PRpro
Tel: (440) 930-5770
Barbw@prproconsulting.com
 

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