While onboarding might seem tedious for both new hires and managers, the process is a vital first experience. It’s a new hire’s first insight into how a restaurant runs its business.
A well-planned onboarding process goes beyond compliance and training. It’s an opportunity to integrate employees into the restaurant’s culture and values, boost their confidence and engagement, and quickly enable them to become a productive part of the team.
Below are tips for increasing employee satisfaction through proper onboarding procedures.
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Do the paperwork
Create a checklist of all new hire documents that need to be filled out on day one. This will include forms such as the offer letter, I-9 Verification of Employment Eligibility, W-4 Tax Withholdings, direct deposit authorization, state tax forms (if necessary for the state), and any additional forms an operator’s city and state may require.
Walk through the employee handbook
While often seen as just a formality, employee handbooks go well beyond providing policies and procedures. They define the business and help ensure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals. It is also a key tool used to protect the business, guests, and employees. A well-written handbook can be the difference between engaged team members and delighted customers, which both lead to growth.
Introduce the culture
A restaurant’s culture defines the environment that the employees and customers experience. Take the time to explain what the brand stands for and how it differentiates the restaurant from competitors. When employees are indoctrinated into the company culture and understand why “what I do matters,” they feel they’re part of the bigger picture and more connected to the company’s goals.
Initiate the training
Every restaurant has different technologies new employees will need to learn to become proficient. In addition to the systems, be sure to train new hires on customer service standards, health and safety protocols, hygiene, and soft skills. Many of these lessons can be provided online through video learning, proving both convenient and cost-effective.
Pair new hires with a mentor
Training new employees on the menu, technology, and how to perform their role is a necessity, but training should go beyond the basic function of the role. The first 30 days are when a new hire is going to pick up good habits. Having new hires shadow top-performing employees is the best form of on-the-job training from an experienced coworker by closely observing them in action. Create coaching guides so every shadowing opportunity provides the same depth and pace of learning experience.
Put some metrics behind it
Poor onboarding is a major cause of low morale and employee turnover. Implementing onboarding metrics helps operators take a data-driven approach to their onboarding process. A major metric to track is how long it takes for new hires to become productive which can be broken into 30-60-90-day learning goals. New hire turnover and retention rates are also vital indicators as to whether a restaurant’s onboarding strategies are effective.
Conduct regular check-ins
When a large amount of information is discussed in training, it’s difficult for employees to remember everything. Check in with new hires often to be sure they feel confident performing their role and ask what else they need to excel.
Conducting open-ended interviews about the employee’s onboarding experience allows operators to gather fresh ideas on how to improve the process. This does not need to be an extensive process, just a quick temperature check to see how things are going. It can be before a shift starts, during a lull, or right before they clock out. These talks should be done in private, so the employee feels safe answering openly without feeling judged.
During the ongoing restaurant labor shortage, it can be easy for operators to want to speed through the onboarding process. However, adopting a solid onboarding program can create a positive work environment, enhance employee satisfaction and attract more talent.
About the Author
Morgan Harris is co-founder and Chief Customer Advocate of Restaurant365.