Oct. 9, 2017

By John Waldmann/CEO-Homebase

Your employees are your business. They greet and serve your customers, open and close the shop, handle the money and work alongside you in the kitchen. Then they leave at shift's end and you hope they come back. 

A lot of other employers would love to hire your employees. In Houston, for instance, there are around 650 job postings a day just on Craigslist for hourly workers. In Los Angeles, there are 800. Each day! 

To stay successful, you must ensure your employees are happy or they will look elsewhere. So what then, are the driving motivators for employees to change jobs? And how can you prevent them from doing just that? Here are five key actions you can take now to retain those employees well into the future:

1. Create flexible working hours

There’s a lot of chatter about millennials and how to manage them. More than two-thirds of all service industry employees are under 35, and three of every 10 are between 19 and 26 years old. Often, they’re students, balancing inconsistent study schedules, or they are also frequently individuals working multiple jobs.

Millennials value flexibility, so being flexible to your employees’ personal obligations when building work schedules can really boost their overall job satisfaction. Better yet, provide them the ability to give input into their start and end times.

2. Be consistent

Recently, Reuters profiled an employee at McDonald’s whose work hours fluctuate almost weekly. That common practice now getting renewed attention. Last-minute changes can make income and life unpredictable for workers and many politicians in states like Oregon and New York are taking notice of that fact. 

Creating consistent weekly schedules, weeks in advance, is a big win if you’re looking to improve employee retention. Now software enables you to create reusable scheduling templates so you can inform employees of their schedules weeks in advance, then also allow them to submit time-off or shift-switch requests to accommodate each person's needs.

3. Offer training

Professional development is a powerful way of keeping employees happy and productive. Can you offer your employees training in some new skills?  Can they work in another department one day a week or move over to that area of work entirely to see a new part of the business? Think outside the box, and you’ll watch your employees’ contentment and productivity rise. 

4. Incentivize results

Even when times are busy (always), don’t forget to reward your star performers. Results that go unnoticed can be very deflating to employees, giving them a solid reason to look elsewhere for a more appreciative employer.

Look at ways to keep track of employees who consistently perform, like perfect on-time arrivals for work, which can be easily tracked in some software. Then reward them with some sort of appreciative gesture or bonus. This kind of recognition is inspirational and motivational to continue such acknowledged efforts on their part.

5. Communicate!

Last, but definitely not least, always remember that solid, clear and frequent communication is fundamental to any relationship, but particularly in the workplace. Some messages need to be communicated verbally and in-person, like feedback on how an employee is performing on the job. 

Other messages can be delivered electronically. Most small businesses still handle time-off or shift-trade requests verbally or on paper, but this form of communication runs the risk of being misplaced or forgotten. Put systems in place that improve the ability to quickly and clearly communicate with employees because it can have a huge impact on their output.

Employee turnover reduction must be among every restaurant operator's overall business and strategic goals to ensure success and business viability, as well as just make work-life more pleasant. It may take some extra effort on your part, but it will repay you with more business and a better day on the job for all.

John Waldmann is co-founder and CEO of Homebase, providing a free real-time software solution that helps more than 60,000 small businesses manage employees and overtime, while helping to cut absenteeism and turnover. 

Photo: iStock


Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Food Cost Management, Human Resources, Operations Management, Workforce Management


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