This purported curse could be the best slogan for what's going on in our business lives. The recession certainly has mixed things up, but we are also at a phase of the information age when we feel the wind mussing our hair as the speed of technological change redefines jobs, remakes careers, and drives pay practices. And if you've noticed the wind pick up, you may have realized that it's also transforming the work culture for employees and what we mean by customer service for consumers.
Why are we talking about this on Compensation Cafe? Because we have a chance to look at a case study about the entanglement of technology, job redefinition, evolving pay practices and social policy.
It involves the new start-up, Tanjarine, which would like to revolutionize your dining experience by giving you and your tablemates an interactive tablet that will let you drive your own ordering experience. As its Vice President of Product Marketing, Heidi Gibson, points out, the company's sweet spot is small- and medium-sized "family casual" restaurant chains.
The thing is, with a small bit of tweaking, this case study could apply to many other industries -- healthcare, life science, insurance, finance, engineering and so on -- that employ a combination of highly skilled specialists and hourly workers in support occupations. So Ann Bares and I thought this would be an interesting story to share.
Tanjarine is running lean and mean, with an in-house staff of about 30 backed up by a similar number of contractors. You can imagine that the market for Android tablet/games architects is steaming hot right now, and Heidi tells us that Tanjarine offers "generous salaries" and other forms of compensation while it struggles to find "quality people" to build its product offering up. So far, this business case should sound pretty familiar to many of you, even if the scale may be a bit off.
Restaurants run on a bleeding edge margin. (That might sound familiar, too.) Tanjarine's new product will help their target market of restaurants to move orders more quickly and give waitstaff more time to upsell and cross sell. Waitstaff will help to turn over the tables, growing income from tips. However, other forms of efficiency will deliver the classic goal of increased productivity -- flat staffing. Heidi, who is also a successful restauranteur, doesn't think staffing needs will be revolutionized, but there will be some impact.
by Paul Carr, Pandodaily
In November, San Francisco voters will be asked to approve raising the city's minimum wage in four increments until it reaches $15.00 an hour in 2018. This in a city that requires health care expenditures of businesses employing 20 or more. I suppose some would say the bulletin board is right. Many, many residents are offended. Business owners struggle. Employees cheer.
Heidi believes that the new minimum wage will become law and she's pretty sure that labor costs will increase 20% next year. This in a city where some owners have already shifted a portion of their income to cover labor costs. Faster table turnover will come in handy (as will the higher wages if you're trying to feed your kids).
In an article called, "Signs of things to come," The Economist notices with surprise in its prose, that "we are beginning to get a glimpse of the productivity potential of machine intelligence . . . it takes a high level of expertise and experience to advance the science of machine learning, but applying machine learning techniques . . . to new problems . . . is relatively straightforward." Take note: Changes in your company's operations are inevitable.
At the same time, 26 states have increased the minimum wage in the recent past. More will be added, helping our employees who are struggling mightily, but also challenging the status quo. Heidi worries that experienced waitstaff from outside San Francisco will trade a longer commute for higher pay and begin to eliminate opportunities for unskilled San Francisco residents. That would be a real challenge to the city's culture and highly unpopular.
This is a Compensation Cafe case study. Whether it's new news for you, or everyday stuff -- what do you think may be in store for your company or industry?
Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP is founder and Principal of re:Think Consulting. "Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communication" the much-awaited ebook is in prerelease! (Tell everyone, will ya.) Margaret brings deep expertise in compensation, career development and communications to the dialog at the Café. Before founding re:Think Consulting, she was a Principal with Towers Watson.