Working in the restaurant industry can be challenging. Restaurant service is, by nature, a high-stress environment due to long hours, strenuous work, and the demand to quickly prepare and serve your customers’ meals without sacrificing quality. Compensation may not even be equated to the hard work that employees are exerting as well. Because of this, restaurants experience a high turnover and face labor shortages. According to what the Department of Labor released last April 2021, 5.6% of restaurant workers quit their job.
With less workforce and the difficulty of replacing resigned employees in restaurants, customer service and experience will surely nosedive. In addition, every turnover is costing the company a considerable amount of money as you need to rehire and train again. Leaders should genuinely make it a priority to exert efforts in keeping their staff.
Here are some tips to reduce staff turnover and retain team members.
Hire the right person
First things first- it is crucial to hire the right person for the job! No matter what interventions you design, this employee is bound to be an additional figure to your turnover rate if there is no job fit. To make sure that you hire the right person, come up with the competencies and skills that you require for each position. Conduct the interview thoroughly so that you can assess the candidate properly. You can use the STAR interview method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to get a good insight into how candidates handled different work scenarios in their previous work experience.
Train and develop staff
Once you hire your staff, continuously train and develop them to help them flourish in their work. For starters, provide them with a good onboarding program wherein they will know the company they are now part of, its rules and regulations, what support they can receive, and what is expected from them in their new role.
Training your staff shows that you care for them and that you are their partner to succeed. It will benefit you as a leader too, since training your team members will let them be confident in doing their job. There will be fewer errors, and you can maximize their productivity.
But don’t think that training ends once they have stayed in the restaurant for a long time. Employee training and development should be done continuously. You may train your staff on new skills or roles, especially if you consider them high-potential and high-performer. Through this, you show your team members that you are considering and preparing them for a higher position in the future. It can motivate them to stay since they can see themselves growing in and with the company.
Plot schedules well
To avoid your team getting overworked, sick, and burned out, make sure that you plot their schedules well. Design their work hours in a way that they wouldn’t need to extend overtime every day. If, after rearranging the team’s schedule and is still problematic, you can consider adding headcount.
Check on your team
It pays to know each of your team members because, as a leader, establishing a relationship with your subordinates will help you understand how to support them. You may build a relationship with them by connecting with your staff regularly to know how they are doing. Encourage open communication with them, and make sure to listen actively and attentively when they open up with you.
Allot time to have a one-on-one session with each member, ask if any concerns need to be addressed, then do the appropriate actions. Share with them your observations on their performance as well. For example, a particular staff member who used to perform well suddenly lacks focus and seems exhausted most of the time. He might be experiencing burnout. Give that person the appropriate feedback, and together ensure to address employee burnout early on. Brainstorm with them on what they think can help them overcome the challenges they face, and then give your ideas also.
Offer a competitive salary
One of the reasons why employees leave is because they found a better-paying job. With all the expenses, especially if they have a family to support, team members will surely choose the greener pasture. Employees will also leave if there is no financial growth for them to save up for retirement.
Avoid this scenario by considering giving your staff higher pay. Check with other restaurants if your salary package is still competitive. Reward employees with a raise, especially if the restaurant was able to hit its targets. Conduct performance appraisals and reward with a salary increase for those who performed well. Even if the additional pay is a minimal amount, it can still increase retention.
Create a positive work environment
Since working in a restaurant is a tiring work environment, unleash your creativity and develop activities that can boost engagement and create a positive work environment! Craft engaging virtual events for the team to enjoy together. It can be a simple wine night over an online game. You can also go out after your duty as a team and have a simple house party. You can even have themed activities for different occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. Through these initiatives, you and your team will not only get to bond but destress as well.
Conduct exit interviews
Lastly, when someone leaves, make sure that they do not go without getting their inputs on how you can improve. Conduct exit interviews with your resigned staff. Through this, you will understand the reasons why employees leave your restaurant. It can even uncover some changes that you need to implement to retain your staff. Thank them also for the service they have shared with you and the restaurant.
Being part of the restaurant industry is a noble job, as challenging as it seems. To avoid high turnover rates, leaders play a crucial role in ensuring that team members stay with the company. Ensure that you remain engaged first to influence your staff to stay engaged with their work. Through this, you can surely improve employee retention.