Blog5 ways restaurants can retain employees in 2021

April 23, 20210

Is the restaurant industry facing a hiring crisis? From the recent news updates about brands like McDonalds, Taco Bell, and Chipotle are going all out on a hiring spree to fill up available positions. It is clear that finding new employees continues to be the number one challenge for restaurants in 2021. Add to that the rising employee turnover rates, and you now have a serious situation of very high demand and very low supply.

As per a recent survey, 40 percent of restaurants said they find themselves , “severely understaffed”. This means a restaurant could be running at least a dozen employees down during certain hours. Interestingly, sales are bouncing back. It could be the result of relaxations in restrictions and vaccine distribution which has increased the demand. However, without the required restaurant staff, it will become increasingly difficult to operate at a high level and remain profitable.

In a recent article on CNBC, Scott Deviney, president and CEO of Chicken Salad Chick shared, “We can’t find employees to staff restaurants”. More than struggling with hiring new resources, the current situation is forcing restaurants to hold on to a handful of bad employees just to keep the business afloat. This is exactly the predicament almost all restaurants are facing today.

What’s the solution?

Given the current situation and the possible reasons behind high employee turnover in restaurants, the most effective solution is to retain employees. Yes, employee retention is key to restaurant success in 2021. There is no need to settle for less talent and or even low-performing employees. You can create and retain a high performing team that is productive, engaged, and connected with the workplace.

Restaurants only need to ensure proper employee engagement, skill development, training, and assessment to enable employees to perform better and be satisfied with their workplace. Working with traditional methods, which includes using paper documentation, outdated training methods, ineffective performance tracking, and lack of employee engagement activities is the biggest challenge with implementing an effective employee retention strategy.

Here are 5 proven ways that restaurants can foster employee retention and retain exemplary team members.

  • Define employee performance

Employees struggle to deliver the expected performance when they are not aware of the parameters. It is important to define and communicate employee performance to the employees so that they know how their performance will be evaluated. In addition to understanding the parameters, they will be able to replicate exceptional performance. With such clarity, employees are able to identify their own skill gaps and work on their shortcomings to become better at their work. This contributes to employee satisfaction, thereby resulting in reduced turnover.

  • Assign the right person to the right role

One of the reasons behind employee demotivation is that they have to perform in a role that they are not suited for. Being unable to perform as per expectations can cause dissatisfaction and stress, causing the employee to choose quitting over taking the necessary steps to improve. The best way managers can identify the right talent for the right role is with regular performance assessments, supported by custom development plans that can be tracked. This will give employees the opportunity to equip themselves with the required knowledge and skill to be prepared for the roles that they are most suited for as well as for larger roles in the organization.

  • Implement an exceptional onboarding program

The first day on the job should be memorable for all employees who are hired on. First impressions matter and managers need to ensure proper onboarding for all new recruits. With an effective onboarding program, employees will be able to undertake the training and implement it to check their proficiency in operational execution. The most important aspect of onboarding is tracking the progress of each employee to ensure that they are really prepared to perform at their best every day.

  • Provide continual training opportunities

40 percent of frontline employees are only trained once a year or less. Training isn’t supposed to be a one-time activity. Rather, it should be an ongoing process where employees get the opportunity to work on their skill set and learn new ones as well. Managers need to get visibility into skill adoption so that appropriate development plans can be assigned periodically. From a brand standards perspective, properly trained employees actually contribute to the achievement of operational excellence and adherence to the brand promise.

  • Ensure employee engagement, rewarding & recognition

Employee engagement is a powerful strategy to retain employees. This can be done by providing a platform where the entire team can communicate, appreciate achievements, celebrate events like birthdays and anniversaries, recognize team or individual contributions and provide rewards for exceptional performance. Rewards really help to keep the team motivated and drives them to chase achievements.

Help your employees perform better!

Finding new employees and training them is a growing challenge. The most effective strategy is to train and develop the competencies of existing employees to help them perform better and enable them to grow into larger roles in the organization.

Generic and time-consuming performance reviews are a thing of the past. Bring out the best in your employees and make performance assessments easy and hassle free for your employees while providing a transparent evaluation process.

With the Workpulse Performance Management & Training system, you can not only retain your employees, but also help them grow into larger roles in the organization. Schedule a consultation to know how Workpulse can help reduce employee turnover at your restaurant and make your team perform better.


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