You know better than most people that the restaurant industry has one of the highest employee turnover rates. This comes at great cost, with each undesired and unanticipated turnover costing owners an average of $7,000, according to the National Restaurant Association.
Must There Always be High Employee Turnover?
But there are exceptions – and notable ones at that – so it need not be your destiny to experience such high turnover. Let’s look at some best practices that can work in any type of restaurant:
1. Hire smarter: The best employees are those who are willing to do the work, have the ability to perform to your expectations and are manageable. Do you have a hiring process to find these candidates?
2. Pay a competitive wage: Wages demonstrate how much you value your employees, so you’ll want to send them the right message.
3. Offer competitive benefits: Particularly with the national debate about healthcare benefits, employees are more attuned than ever to what they think is fair and just. Families living paycheck to paycheck can’t afford to get ill and need to know their benefits will be there for them. Be sure to at least offer basic supplemental plans.
4. Treat them professionally, and also with dignity, respect and kindness: They are not disposable tools. Your employees’ knowledge, skills and behaviors are the reasons customers return, so treat them with the highest regard.
5. Let them know you value what they contribute to the company’s success: Often, lower wage employees can’t see how their performance makes a difference. Let each of them know how their contributions make the entire restaurant more successful.
6. Ask their opinions and for customer feedback: Many of them are your frontline contact with customers. They see what works and doesn’t work, so ask them how to improve the operations. 7
. Engage them and develop their skills: Even if there aren’t a lot of opportunities for movement up the career ladder, providing cross-training opportunities will help their personal development as well as their performance and productivity.
8. Recognize them for a job well done: Take the time to compliment and encourage them informally, as well as through more formal programs with employee incentives. Too often, we get caught up in the urgent issues of the moment and forget what’s really important – the people who can make or break our business. They deserve our best efforts if we are going to expect the best from them.