Employee turnover has always been a topic of discussion in every industry. But when it comes to restaurants, the number is as high as 75%. That means almost three-quarters of your employees will not stay for a whole year. Businesses like restaurants and hospitality where they need staff in every part of the work, make it even difficult to sustain. So what is the solution?
Well, one of the ways to reduce this number is to engage your employees. Engaged employees help in increasing the company’s brand value and bringing more profits.
Let's make things easy for you. In this article, you’ll learn how you can create a great employee engagement system for your restaurants.
10 Employee Engagement Best Practices for Restaurants
1. Conduct engagement surveys
Surveys are one of the drivers to measure the engagement among the employees. These employee engagement surveys are crucial as it gives them a voice and a venue for open feedback. When they are actively involved in the process, it gives them a sense that they have a stake in the organization and their voices are heard.
Once you have the initial results, you can create a plan and act on it. It will give you a chance to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each person and thus work on them. Some questions you can ask in the survey:
- Do you feel excited about coming to work?
- Would you recommend your friend to be part of the organization?
- Are you satisfied with your current compensation and benefits?
- Do you enjoy working with your team?
- Do you think your professional growth aspirations are met with the organization?
- What practices do you think we need to change at the organization?
Remember, employee engagement is an ongoing process. It never stops but keeps on changing with human behavior and time.
2. Reward your employees
A lot of organizations offer some form of rewards and recognition programs to make their employees feel appreciated. When you show your employees appreciation through gifts, words of appreciation, or career development opportunities, their energy level increases, and they bond well with your organization.
Send employees gifts to show them your appreciation and care. You can do this by writing them a handwritten note, announcing their achievement to the staff, and hanging a picture of them on an employee's wall. Start an “employee of the month” program and reward the best performer based on your criteria.
Decide the criteria on the basis of which the employee should be awarded. Most numbers of sales made in a month, maximum staff attended in a day, the total number of meetings attended on time, etc could be the deciding factors.
3. Open your books and get them involved
Do you know organizations that share their financial status with their employees experienced a 1-2% annual increase in sales growth?
By creating an open-book management system, you embrace a culture of transparency at your organization. The employees are aware of where the company stands in terms of growth and share a vision—when the company grows financially, they grow too.
First, make sure your employees understand business metrics that lead to the growth of the company. Then, create an anchor document of numbers and figures—a one-page income statement document that contains essential numbers like income statement, balance sheet, expenses, loss, and profit of the business.
Teach employees how they can study these figures and improve their performance to achieve the targeted figure. Once done, conduct weekly meetings where each team reviews the financial dashboard and discuss ways to improve the weekly performance.
Rethink Restaurants uses open-book management at their restaurant to have tier profit-loss statements, cost of goods sold, labor calculations, and more.
4. Incentivize the shift pickups
Show your employees you care for them by little gestures. When your employees know you are making efforts to add value to their life, they’ll bond well with you. Ask them about their work timings. Would they want to work in the evening hours? Or would night hours be the best for them? Communicate with them.
Find the most feasible time and schedule your employees accordingly. Employers can also provide them with a work schedule that allows them to manage their work and personal life in the best way. Add more flexibility by offering a rotating shift schedule to your employees. Having rotation shifts allows working on multiple tasks adding up to the variety and bonding with the staff.
5. Reduce staff conflicts
Conflicts in offices could lead to employees turnover and so it's best to resolve them soon. Disheartened staff would influence others and this can create a negative work environment thus creating disengagement among employees.
One of the reasons for these workplace conflicts is the lack of proper communication. So discussing things on time with full disclosure would help a lot. Also, set up a formal process in case of conflicts so that the staff does not feel uncomfortable. A specific committee or the Human resource team would be perfect to resolve and take these complaints.
6. Team outing or retreat
No one wants to be at the same place all the time. There can be numerous activities like paintball, sports like a soccer match, dart shooting, etc encourages staff members to get involved with each other.
Spending time with each other and discussing and doing work only could sometimes become monotonous. Trips and retreats create an environment where the employees can discuss everything other than workplace talks and that brings everyone together.
7. Create a powerful feedback culture
Track the attendance of your employees—who are coming on time, who is coming late, and who is leaving early? And barcode punch clock attendance tracking is just one of many ways to do it. By analyzing the attendance data, you’ll find your most engaged and your disengaged audience. Next? Communicate with your disengaged employees and find the loopholes and for this, encourage two-way feedback.
Organize 1:1 meetings either weekly or monthly. Ask employees about their pain points and how you can improve your processes to simplify their work. Conduct surveys to collect feedback and understand the pain points of your employees. One way to do this is using survey tools like Zonka Feedback to collect the information.
Once you receive the feedback, speak to your employees and consciously listen to them. Based on the feedback, act on it. When you implement the feedback, tell your employees about it. Make your employees involved in the entire process. This makes them feel valued and part of your company.
8. Introduce mentorship programs
Mentors play an important role in the growth of an individual employee. These are the people who are senior employees and have connections with the leadership teams and can open the doors for the development of new employees.
Companies should implement training and programs that help every employee find a mentor who can give them directions to achieve their goals. A mentorship program can help you build stronger relations with your staff and also help them upskill their capabilities.
You can pair new staff members with other experienced colleagues. This would help them get practical and action-packed insights. During the course of the interaction and discussion, employees get to know each other better and that helps in bringing the employee engagement.
9. Encourage learning and growth opportunities
According to a report by Gallup, 87% of millennials consider growth and development as important factors. So employees in recent years have started looking for job opportunities where they see better learning opportunities. One of the reasons for the high turnover rate is that employees do not see any growth in their current role.
As an employer, they can allot a separate budget to learning and skill development that will allow their employees to acquire new skills. Online teaching platforms and video assessments can be of great help here.
10. Implement volunteer programs
Many companies have already started volunteering for different causes and it is a great way to help communities and also bring your employees together. When the entire team is working on a service that they feel strongly about, it will boost their confidence and build strong employee bondings.
Volunteer programs create a healthy and better work environment that makes employees feel that they are making a difference. Documenting and sharing the work on company social media pages creates goodwill for the organization and also helps the local communities.
Infusing best engagement practices in your restaurant is not a month’s battle. It’s a constant process.
Taking their feedback and working on it continuously would help companies to get over the employee turnover.
Initially, you might face challenges, but the key is to take smaller steps. Begin by appreciating employees, fostering teamwork, and geo-way communication. Once you have nailed them, you can scale your process.