Labor shortage: the secret is in the sauce

The Martin Group, which owns 13 restaurants in the Quebec region, is no longer struggling to fill its positions. (Photo: LesFestifs)

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WAKE-UP-MORNING. For the past year, the Martin Group, which owns 11 St-Hubert’s and three Harvey’s franchises in the greater Quebec region, has (almost) no longer experienced a labor shortage. His secret ingredient? Focus on peer-recommended candidates.

“They want to apply to join their friends who already work with us. It makes a big difference,” reports Clara Martin, Director of Human Resources.

Certainly, the context has changed a lot in the Quebec region in recent months, notes director of operations David Martin. Many dining halls in the capital had to close their doors, and many talented people lost their jobs. This partly explains why the Martin Group is in a better position for employment compared to the same period in 2022, he believes.

“The manager of Sainte-Foy told me this morning that he received four resumes this week. We didn’t see that during the pandemic, he emphasizes. It allows us to choose the apps we prefer, which we couldn’t do anymore.”

In such a context, the St-Hubert brand, according to them, is in their favor. “Our families know us well, so young people come to us with their resumes for part-time work,” notes Clara Martin.

However, not all types of jobs are equally easy to fill. Permanent jobs, mostly evening jobs, gave them headaches in the past. The Martin Group therefore turned internationally – specifically to Mexico, Guatemala and Mauritius – to find the 24 talents it was missing.

In addition, they can draw on the strength of their network of 1,200 employees to replace absences or temporarily fill vacancies if needed. And to her great joy, the personnel director notes that they are ready to help colleagues from another branch if she lacks players.

A united team

However, for the referencing or integration of foreign talents to be successful, the work atmosphere and organizational culture must be healthy.

“Our management teams are close to our employees. The human side is increasingly important, notes Clara Martin. The company is run by the same family, which shows that our staff stays with us for a long time. That’s what makes us strong.”

So every lunch the six relatives of this third generation Martin at the head of the group, Clara, David, William, Gabrielle, Jonathan and Guillaume, have lunch in one of their branches to stay close to their employees, a tradition that dates back to the time of their grandfathers. “We enter the kitchens, say hello to our colleagues. Sometimes even on weekends, when the spouses suggest we go there to eat,” says the operations director with a laugh.

It also ensures that each restaurant’s managers are a strong asset to the organization’s values. Therefore, twice a month the management meets with them to take their pulse and talk to them.

The Martin Group will also spread its corporate culture through its managers among the teams of the two Harveys in Beauport and Quebec City, acquired in October 2023.

Devoted to the quality of the products served at the banner that already had a combined address with St-Hubert Express in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, the Martin Group plans to open five more in the region in the next five years.

The good news is that the sense of belonging to these teams is already strong, the bosses note.

“One of the employees travels an hour and a quarter by public transport every day to get to work, even if Harvey is closer,” reports the HR director. Because he was engaged, he had to move, but his troupe is in Ormière.”

It is now up to the Martin Group team to ensure that this relationship remains strong, even after the integration of these new teams into its network.

To work remotely or not, is a question that causes turmoil in many companies at the beginning of the 2023 school year.

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