Case Study: Rusty’s Neighbourhood Pub: Creating a Work-Life Balance for the Gen Y

Rusty’s Neighbourhood Pub, located in Cloverdale, BC had only opened its doors for three short weeks when the management quickly discovered that recruiting staff requires some extra effort and ingenuity.

Rather than requiring previous hospitality industry experience, Rusty’s general manager Vince Dumas says that he was looking for people who bring enthusiasm and energy to their work, which benefits the business as a whole.

He decided to set his sights on the millennial generation, which refers to those born anywhere from 1980-1995.  Vince elected to advertise both in newspapers and online, while also tapping into his extensive industry contacts.

“We just opened and we wanted a fresh start. We based a lot of our hiring on personality as opposed to experience. After going through the interview process it became clear that many younger people were really motivated and had great attitudes,” explains Vince, who thinks a lot of young staff were attracted to the idea of working in a new establishment so that they could be part of a team from the ground up.

Vince’s philosophy about hiring the millennial generation is simple, but strikingly effective.  Rather than focusing on previous experience, Vince looks for young people who have a positive attitude and who are willing to work hard; in return, he is more than happy to meet them half way.

“In the past, many pubs have been characterized by an “Old Boys Club” environment where everyone knows each other; that can be intimidating for younger people. We try to create a fun and positive environment because we know that’s what young people are looking for,” says Vince.

The millennial generation is also known for valuing life outside of work, so creating schedules with flexible hours is important. Consistent and frequent feedback is also crucial to attracting this segment of the workforce, as is training and development. Furthermore, managers of younger staff should consider that strong leadership skills play an integral role in creating an atmosphere where young employees will thrive.

Unfortunately, there are also misconceptions about the millennial Generation; some employers hesitate to hire younger workers for fear that they don’t respond well to authority or might be overly demanding.

According to Vince, these misconceptions about younger staff are completely untrue.

“I think for the most part young people are motivated to move up either in our company or somewhere else and I believe they are willing to work hard to gain valuable experience whether their goals are in this industry or not,” says Vince.

Younger staff members also typically bring an inherent skill set to any job, simply by virtue of their age. They are often technologically savvy, have an inclusive attitude and are civic-minded, all qualities which Vince says fit in well with the atmosphere he is trying to create.

But Vince also acknowledges that hiring staff is only half the battle; the true test is retaining them. “[Retention] is going to be one of our challenges.  It’s important to treat everyone fairly and make sure everyone is pulling their weight.  One big problem in pubs and restaurants is good staff leaving because they are upset when they continuously have to pick up the slack for others,” says Vince, who hopes that by hiring young, motivated staff, Rusty’s will succeed in keeping key team members.

Vince highly recommends that other pubs seeking staff consider recruiting the millennial generation. “With the proper training, a good attitude and the willingness to work hard, young people have the potential to be outstanding employees,” says Vince.