As an employer in any industry, reducing turnover is key. Building a team of loyal, experienced, and knowledgeable employees is an asset to any organization. Besides having to deal with retraining and other costs that come with restaurant employee turnover, a strong team is essential to running an efficient and profitable business.
And while at times it may feel like you have little insight into your employee’s career decisions, you have more influence than you may think.
When your operations are disrupted by employee turnover, your customers will feel it, with the potential for less-than-perfect experiences with employees who are still in training. Not only is managing turnover key to maintaining operational consistency and ensuring a positive customer experience, but also a high turnover rate can also be financially detrimental. According to Toast, the cost of replacing an hourly employee is about $6,000, which will add up quickly throughout the year.
Also important to keep in mind for optimized franchise management is that restaffing and training requires involvement from top-level management, leading other parts of the business to suffer if managers shift attention to restaffing processes like managing job postings, phone screening, and in-person interviews.
So, how do you avoid all of that to keep a stable, dedicated, and content team of talent? Here are three strategies proven to be successful:
- Focus on culture
From the bottom to the very top of your organization’s leadership, culture has to be key. The first step here is to get a grasp on what exactly the culture of your store is. Although culture permeates the whole team, it starts at the top. Choose your organizational values wisely and then make certain that your management team not only understands these values, but works to foster a culture where they are front and center.
One value which most QSR operations hold to a high standard is teamwork. Every part of your organization should facilitate collaboration, and your employees should feel like part of a team. Although most employees recognize that at the end of the day, this is just a job, it’s important for them to know that although they’re there to make money, they can also have a little fun. “Fun”, especially in a work setting, is not something that is well-defined. Still, as a leader, you need to understand what this means for your team and be sure not to overlook it. Foster a culture of community where employees feel supported, encouraged, and part of a larger team.
Accountability on an individual level inspires confidence, independence, and reliability. Many operations lose employees to a lack of internal accountability. Employees want to know that if they work hard, they will be rewarded. Likewise, they expect that employees who do not perform well will be addressed appropriately and held accountable. Poor performers create challenges to other members of your team, and will leave dependable employees frustrated.
Leadership needs to immediately recognize, identify, and address performance issues that could affect the rest of the operation. Too often managers don’t dig into the root issue, leaving tenured and high-performing employees exasperated. To avoid this, you should empower managers at every level to rectify issues on the spot, provide coaching and feedback when appropriate, and closely monitor changes in employee behavior.
By empowering your managers, you encourage quicker resolution of issues, and a higher level of responsiveness for employees. Your star players will notice when management acts quickly, sustaining a positive and efficient working environment for everyone.
- Process and procedure in operations
A fast-paced environment like a QSR franchise has many moving parts. In order to keep it running smoothly, leadership must be procedure-driven, running mechanically on a day-to-day basis, with repetition and consistency. Your employees should know their daily routine inside and out, and leadership in your restaurant’s management team should be aware of what resources are needed in order for things to stay running efficiently and smoothly.
If your organization has failed to implement standard procedures for things like inventory orders, employee scheduling, etc., you’ll find employees at every level becoming frustrated, and your business running inefficiently. Processes enable smooth transitions from prep to service, service to cleaning, and back around. Operational procedures need to be defined for these transitions to occur smoothly and between shifts of people.
Managing employee turnover in restaurants is and should be a top concern, and following the strategies above can help increase retention.
Finally, keep in mind that hiring the right people is nearly impossible based only on a few interviews, so managers and leaders must do the best they can to facilitate effective performance throughout their team once the hires have been made. Rely on the culture and processes you have built to promote employee success and retention.