Morale and job satisfaction are extremely low, with 80% of employees feeling disengaged at work. Not only does this negatively impact the company culture, but it also leads to high turnover. Restaurants already struggle with low-profit margins and poor retention rates. When disengagement is high, it makes matters much worse.
An unhappy workforce tends to be less productive and more likely to seek external opportunities. The more employees leave, the worse retention becomes. This affects revenue, customer satisfaction, and a restaurant's brand. So, what can be done?
An employee retention strategy is one potential solution. Retention strategies are a set of best practices that help strengthen morale, lower employee turnover, and reward hard work. Restaurants use an employee retention strategy to analyze the employee journey from start to finish. This enables them to gain a better understanding of what the workforce deals with each day. As a result, management can optimize labor-related decision-making and problem-solving.
Top Employee Retention Strategy Options
It's not always possible to make a disgruntled team member stay, nor is it always desirable. Some employees are unqualified and unlikely to contribute in a way that helps the restaurant achieve key goals. However, too much lost talent is a problem that restaurants have to address. If high employee turnover and low morale are continuous concerns, then retention strategies are a must.
There is no singular way to implement a retention strategy. Methods will vary, depending on the size, scope, and type of restaurant. That being said, there are tried and tested strategies that typically work across most industries. Read ahead to learn some top employee retention strategies and how they benefit the restaurant industry.
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1. Employee Retention Strategy Option Professional Development
Professional development is attractive to curious and driven employees, regardless of which roles they start in. A healthy work environment includes internal training and methods for professional development. The hiring manager should communicate these programs to new employees during the onboarding process.
However, this strategy is only useful for certain types of employees. Those who only want a low-key part-time job will not be influenced by professional development initiatives. Corporate learning technology and digital programs are popular methods to engage employees during the training process. Tuition assistance, bartender certification courses, and off-site training activities are other options.
As the old saying goes, people leave managers, not companies. If too many employees want to leave because of ineffective management, there is a serious problem. Managers impact employee engagement, which affects the willingness of workers to remain employed. Salary increases, benefits, and other incentives are not enough to fix a bad supervisor.
Better management training programs and regular feedback sessions can help employees feel valued. Supervisors should maximize transparency in all internal communications and refrain from micromanaging. Reacting appropriately to employee feedback will also help build trust with every employee.
3. Employee Retention Strategy Option Optimize Onboarding Process
Hiring one new employee is expensive. Bringing in too many new hires too often will severely impact profit margins and productivity. The painstaking process of checking references and ensuring a new hire is qualified is time-consuming. It is also a huge waste if that top talent is lost just a few months later. Improving the onboarding process can help boost the retention rate.
Hiring managers should streamline all communications with new hires. They should check in regularly with the candidate before they starts. This will mitigate a potential competitor luring the employee elsewhere. Any onboarding program should also integrate new employees with the new work environment. Interactive digital training programs and regular tests for knowledge will help produce better results.
4. Employee Retention Strategy Option Appreciate Hard Work
More than half of employees claim they will quit their place of work if they don't feel valued. People require regular recognition in order to have purpose and motivation. If they don't receive it, they aren't going to put in as much effort. If employees are withdrawn, frequently late, unproductive, or snippy, it's a sign of feeling unappreciated. This type of attitude is contagious, and will impact the entire company culture.
Many companies improve employee retention when they prioritize employee recognition. These efforts must be authentic, as employees will notice when they are not. Thanking people individually is much more effective than communicating thanks to entire teams. People are individuals who perform varying tasks. Leaders must pay attention to these efforts on an individual level to ensure recognition is noted. Annual rewards, social media shout-outs, and employee-of-the month initiatives are also useful tools.
Long hours and poor compensation will quickly lead to employee burnout. Given labor shortages and an emphasis on wellness, workers won't tolerate being overworked and under-payed. Furthermore, productivity and efficiency decline after employees work more than a set number of hours.
Open communication between management and the workforce is crucial to prevent burnout. Many times, workers don't want to admit they feel exhausted. An open dialogue encourages employees to speak freely and ask for help when necessary. Managers should also be careful when assigning hours. Offering more vacation time or personal days can go a long way to improve employee retention rates.
Key Takeaways for Employee Retention Strategy
In conclusion, here are the top employee retention strategies -
Restaurants should offer professional development to engage employees and help them grow in their roles.
Restaurants should train leadership teams more effectively to prevent high turnover.
Restaurants should optimize the onboarding process and all related internal communications.
Restaurants should appreciate and recognize hard work. They should also minimize burnout and prioritize open dialogues with management.