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National Restaurant Association - Why I attend NRA’s HR Meeting

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Why I attend NRA’s HR Meeting

Robin Liggett is the chief people officer at Piccadilly Restaurants, LLC. She is co-chairwoman of the NRA's Human Resources and Risk Managers Executive Study Group. The group will meet Feb. 26 through 28 in San Diego.


What are you most excited about for the upcoming HR/risk meeting?

I’m excited to hear Roz Mallet’s keynote speech. Roz is an icon in our industry. She’ll be speaking about how she shifted in her career from an HR professional to a national leader in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing HR professionals in the restaurant industry?

We’re facing two big challenges in 2014: health care rollout and recruitment. We’ve lined up expert speakers to address those issues.


Restaurants are trying to figure out how to roll out health care. Allison Brown, director of employee services at Regis Corp., will address the specifics of health care compliance to help operators avoid costly penalties and administrative burdens. Don Fox, CEO of Firehouse Subs of America, has rolled out his company’s health care plan. He’ll speak about implementation strategies, including scheduling protocols and job descriptions that will help our attendees improve their business while complying with the law.


We are all facing a challenging year in terms of recruitment which also means retention. Voluntary benefits  which run the gamut from life insurance to pet insurance  are a way to recruit and retain team members without adding extra cost to company. We haven’t focused much on this in the past, but it really can drive people to come work for you and stay. Ben Rozum, president of Genius Avenue, will discuss using voluntary benefits to recruit and retain and Frank Tucker, chief people officer at Taco Bell, will offer advice on creating a great employee brand to make people want to work for your company.


How is the HR/Risk meeting different from other conferences?

HR practitioners can go to a dozen conferences and get information on health care or benefits. This is the only conference that I go to where I hear firsthand about the pressing issues in Washington facing the restaurant industry specifically. We learn how the industry’s trade association the National Restaurant Association is addressing those challenges. After hearing from the restaurant industry’s lobbyists, I’m able to go back to my boss with a plan for the next six months. That’s why I come. That’s why I’m on the steering committee. That’s why I feel strongly about it.


Why should HR professionals come to this conference?


I give my staff the opportunity to attend one conference annually and this year I encouraged them to attend the HR/risk meeting. I told them that since this a smaller conference than others, they will actually get to know their peers in the restaurant industry. Having those kinds of connections is invaluable. The restaurant professionals I’ve met in this group have guided my career.


Register for the HR/Risk Executive Study Group meeting.

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