The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t only change how we work – it changed what we want in a work environment. Millions of employees are quitting their jobs in search of deeper job satisfaction, better work-life balance, and exceptional company culture.
This “Great Resignation” has been especially tough on the restaurant world. In fact, studies show that the “quit rate” among hospitality workers is more than double than that in other industries. This labor shortage puts pressure on restaurant owners to go the extra mile to retain employees as team members.
The upshot to this is the new opportunity for restaurant owners to stand out from the crowd by offering a great employee experience that lets your entire team feel valued. We came up with a few helpful tips to improve your employee retention while building a happier, healthier business.
Show Some Love!
Employee appreciation means more than just the “Employee of the Month” plaque by the staff restrooms. Studiesshow that over 80% of employees do their best work when they feel appreciated. There are plenty of low-cost employee recognition programs to help increase employee satisfaction.
- A little thank you goes a long way. Maybe you had a member of your waitstaff who picked up a double shift when a coworker was out sick. Write them a thank you note or send them a gift card to show them that you recognize their hard work. If you had a particularly busy dinner rush, gather your staff together at the end of the day to offer positive feedback and thanks for great work. These small gestures let your whole crew know that you value their contribution to the restaurant.
- Organize company events. Don’t let the preshift team meeting be the only time your staff gets together. Organize events like happy hour outings to celebrate work anniversaries, birthdays and other important milestones. Plan a “family dinner” at another restaurant or at your home so your staff can enjoy a delicious meal with someone else cooking for a change! Surveys show that employees value “a good working relationship with co-workers.” Getting together outside of the high stress restaurant environment can help your employees bond, and bonus: it gives you an opportunity to show your appreciation for them.
Restaurants can be busy, scattered places. It’s important that front-of-house and back-of-house staff members have clear lines of communication with you and with each other.
- Check in. Many employees don’t feel comfortable coming to their supervisor with challenges in the workplace. Take the time to schedule regular oneon-one check-ins with your employees. Ask how they’re doing and how they’re feeling about their work. These quick, informal chats can help you gauge how your employee feels in their role and extends an invitation for open conversation.
- Offer professional development opportunities. Get to know your employees’ career goals and a clear path for higher level jobs. Set up a mentorship program for younger kitchen staff members to learn from veterans of the industry. This can help more experienced members of your team feel empowered while giving more inexperienced employees the chance to learn new skills and progress toward their professional desires. You can even offer continual onthe-job training; like providing an informational tasting of the new beer you have on tap, or a seminar on how to improve tips to help your staff stay engaged with their job.
- Build a network. Boost employee engagement with one another by creating a social media hub for the restaurant staff. You can use this platform to encourage peer recognition (giving each other shoutouts for a good shift), schedule outings and send out surveys so your staff can tell you what’s on their minds.
Make Health a Priority
Employees want to know that their health and wellness is being taken care of. The COVID-19 pandemic made a stark example of just how important health care is. These benefits are especially important in the fast-moving, physically-demanding restaurant world. A recent survey showed that a stressful environment is the most common cause of turnover in the hospitality industry. Show that you care about your employees’ health, and the health of their families, by setting up reliable health coverage.
The change in attitudes about the workplace has put stress on employers (especially restaurant owners). Think of this paradigm shift as an opportunity to let your restaurant to stand out. Use these simple, low-cost initiatives to show your employees how important they are to you.