Why is Enhancing the Employee Experience Important?
Only 13% of employees across the United States are satisfied at work. This number won't just go away on its own, nor is it an outlier or temporary situation. Disengagement is a serious problem that cuts across all industries and is highest among millennial workers. The restaurant industry is particularly hard-hit, as working conditions continue to evolve due to COVID-19.
Labor shortages and high turnover are a plague, and less than 50% of restaurants survive over a year. There is a connection between the company culture and a restaurant's success. So, what can be done to improve employee satisfaction and work-life balance?
Employee experience is critical because the way employees view the workplace impacts productivity and efficiency. Poor mental health due to stressful working conditions leads to greater turnover and higher absenteeism. This is a chain reaction in which one worker's poor morale impacts the next worker's, and so on. Before a restaurant knows it, entire teams are dissatisfied, which further hurts customer satisfaction and profits. So, what can be done to resolve this problem? Read ahead for more insight into enhancing the employee experience.
6 Methods for Enhancing the Employee Experience
More restaurants are prioritizing an employee experience strategy as a potential solution. There are new ways to boost employee engagement, create better employees, and provide a healthier work environment. The goal is to optimize the employee journey from start to finish to ensure higher employee retention rates. Read ahead for some top strategies.
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1. Improve Employee Experience Tip Establish Communication Strategy
Less than half of workers claim to have access to tools and processes that will solve serious work problems. Poor communication is one of the top reasons for the inability to handle crises. When workers can't access the information or personnel they need to fix a problem, morale suffers.
Unfortunately, restaurants tend to worry more about customers during a crisis rather than employees. While customer satisfaction is certainly important, so is employee engagement and morale. When employees feel out of the loop, they can't provide high-quality service. Therefore, improving communication and investing in better communication mediums will enhance the employee experience.
2. Improve Employee Experience Tip Understand Needs & Gain Feedback
Improving employee experiences is impossible when team members are out of the loop. Restaurants should understand the employee journey and each critical interaction that shapes their viewpoints. This requires understanding the various challenges and bottlenecks workers face each day. Employee surveys and feedback sessions can help restaurants understand the employee life cycle more effectively. It can also help owners pinpoint which tools and processes will facilitate a better employee experience.
3. Improve Employee Experience Tip Ensure Leaders Build Trust
Good leadership skills are critical in the restaurant industry. If employees feel like they can't trust supervisors to solve problems, their quality of work-life will be poor. Building trust is essential throughout the hiring process, training, and offering career development.
This requires strong internal communications, transparency, and an open-door policy. Shift supervisors need to know how to schedule properly, maintain order, and resolve problems. Authenticity and employee appreciation go a long way in optimizing professional development.
4. Improve Employee Experience Tip Communicate Vision
Every restaurant should have a vision and set of clear objectives that are communicated to employees. When workers understand this vision, they are much more engaged and productive. They know exactly why they are doing certain tasks and how they contribute to overarching goals. This ensures the workforce feels like their jobs matter in the grander scheme of things. A sense of purpose is critical to the workplace culture and a positive employee experience.
5. Improve Employee Experience Tip Adjust HR Priorities and Agility
Not every small diner has an HR team or HR technology, but corporate restaurants do. Streamlining all HR tasks will go a long way to boost employee morale. Current HR duties are much different than they were several years ago, and there is a reason for that.
With low morale on the rise, HR professionals now need to prioritize employee engagement. COVID-19 and subsequent employee role changes have only made this problem worse. Solutions include improving internal communications, offering greater flexibility, and more regular check-ins. Maintaining frequent connections with furloughed workers has also helped boost employee retention and morale.
6. Improve Employee Experience Tip Maximize Connectivity
One of the big lessons people learned during the pandemic was that human connection is critical. Individuals used Zoom, texts, and phone calls to continue communicating with loved ones. Loneliness and isolation still skyrocketed due to a lack of physical interactions. This phenomenon also impacted employees.
Furloughed workers felt further disengaged and disconnected from their colleagues. Remote work, while popular, can still be somewhat isolating. Employers can respond to these challenges with a full-scale connectivity strategy.
Everyone in the workplace should engage in regular conversations, whether it's in person or on Zoom. Managers should ask their employees how they are doing, and not just in terms of their work life. This will make employees feel connected and engaged, which further lowers turnover and improves morale.
Key Takeaways for Enhancing the Employee Experience
In conclusion, here are best practices for enhancing the employee experience -
Restaurants should establish a communication crisis strategy, understand needs, and encourage employee feedback.
Restaurants should ensure leaders build trust and communicate a vision to the workforce.
Restaurants should adjust HR priorities and ensure HR teams are flexible.
Restaurants should maximize connectivity to strengthen morale and lower turnover.