The pandemic brought new, unimagined challenges to the restaurant industry, from closures and loss of business to supply chain delays. In the post-pandemic climate, while some of those obstacles still continue to plague the industry, a newly intensified challenge has dominated: labour shortages.
During more than two years of unreliable work, many people quit the industry, leaving restaurants short of the staff they need to stay afloat and the resources to re-hire.
What’s the next step?
The labour shortages and a shrinking workforce pool have made great candidates scarce, so shift your focus to the team you already have, making employee retention top priority. Start by taking a good look at your company culture.
Happy employees are loyal employees. Studies show that happy employees stay at their jobs four times longer, work 12 per cent harder, and have 65 per cent more energy. So, happiness is the way to retention, increased productivity, and better service.
Here are some of the ways to keep your team happy (and productive):
Research shows that the two main reasons staff leave are for better pay and benefits. This does not mean you need to pay above a fair wage (especially in this post-pandemic world) but if your competition looks more appealing, your team may disappear.
Work towards their future
Allow your employees to grow. Encourage training, work on goals, and hire from within whenever you can. Staff who see a future at your restaurant will help themselves get there, and that’s a win-win.
Cheer them on
A boss who celebrates staff successes and appreciates hard work is someone we can all appreciate. In fact, organizations that have a formal appreciation program see 31 per cent less voluntary turnover.
Solicit feedback from your team on what’s working and what’s not – after all, they see things you don’t. But also, learn to give honest, helpful feedback to your employees. They need to know how they’re doing and how best to contribute to your business.
These last few years have been tough on everyone. Your staff has had their own challenges and stresses, occasionally needing a little flexibility. Kindness and compassion go a long way towards earning the long-lasting trust and respect of your team.
Employee retention is the way to stay ahead of the labour shortage and you work your way back to pre-pandemic times. Keeping employees happy will allow you to keep them – and to keep your restaurant getting ahead.