Employee retention is the eternal problem for restaurants. Many workers are part-time and seasonal, and recruiting is difficult. With recruiting difficulty the highest it’s been since 2016, according to the People Report Workforce Index, one of the best ways to mitigate that is to reduce turnover as much as possible.
While turnover is always going to be higher than most other industries, there are things you can do to help improve retention. But surprisingly, pay rate isn’t the biggest factor. Don’t get me wrong. Most of your employees will be happy to get a raise, but some of the things that make a bigger impact are providing opportunity for advancement, being able to respect school or second job schedules, and good onboarding. Luckily a good restaurant management system can help with all three.
1. Internal Opportunities for Advancement
One of the best ways to do this is to first source internally for open positions. When you’re looking for a new manager, open the position up to current employees. Not only do they already know and love your brand, other employees will see their loyalty has been valued and they have the ability to advance within your company. The HR or people management part of your restaurant management solution can help you highlight the best employees and solicit applications for promotion from those who are ready to advance.
2. Respect for Schedules
Many of your employees are working a second job, go to school part time or have family caretaking responsibilities. Being able to respect the jigsaw puzzle that is making a schedule is critical to helping retain employees. When you force a server to choose between failing a class or getting fired, they will quit and get hired at another restaurant the next day.
A good predictive scheduling tool built into your restaurant management system makes this so much easier. Employees can set black out times, so they can always make it to class, and your software will automatically create the schedule for you, taking into account predictive staffing needs.
3. Onboarding That Works
Nobody likes to feel like a failure, but too often we set new employees up to fail by giving them a stack of paperwork and two days of nonstop job shadowing. It’s hard to be a success under those conditions. Instead, put together a mix of methodologies to help employees learn as they go, avoid information overload and know where to find answers when they forget something.
Use training tools from your back-of-house system to set reminders and alerts for employees, text tips and updates, create short reference videos they can go back to after they have finished their job shadowing and more.
While you’re never going to totally solve the turnover problem, focusing on the things you can change will help you increase retention. Your employees, HR team and bottom line will thank you.