Keeping Your Talent and Reducing Turnover: Part 2

As mentioned in the previous article, restaurant turnover is costly in many different ways, but the rate at which employees leave can be reduced. After I cover praise, we will have completed the communication section. Communication and treatment go hand and hand. Of course, treatment extends to reasonable expectations. By reasonable, I refer to asking employees to do something that they can accomplish. You can set out a plan for their work to improve, but this is not a process that happens overnight.

How To Say “You Did a Good Job”?

Although a form of communication, praise, nonetheless, has a special relationship to action. Many managers don’t understand how to give positive feedback that encourages the employee to keep working hard.

Praise can be a powerful de-motivator as it is a motivator.  Bosses, therefore, have to be careful how they acknowledge employees efforts. In particular, effort should be receive praise while just achievement. If the achievement is based primarily on skill, praise is counter-productive.

“You Did a Good Job” doesn’t tell the employee what determined their success. You should not reinforce that the worker is especially talented. Most of the times, you should take it in a matter of fact way. When effort and persistence were key, recognizing their “hard work” will encourage that sort of behavior in the future. Let’s be honest: talent that doesn’t work hard, doesn’t improve after a point, while those who work hard always get better.

You see that some employees do things with ease, and then when they reach a certain level stop trying. If a manager gives out praise to this employee, they see how easy it is to please management. They run on automatic and put on the brakes so to speak.  You see that service and food can always be improved, and it, in fact, increases job satisfaction if employees try to improve it.. It makes sense to reward your highly skilled workers financially (as you need them) you should only dedicate your compliments to those who give it everything they got.

For workers who do work hard, they will benefit more from chances for advancement and tutelage to gain more skills than a pay raise. If possible, their pay raise should be accompanied with a promotion. Still, be careful not to alter the formula if the employee is working hard and getting some pleasure out of it.

How Much and When Pay, Hours, and Benefits Matter?

They started the job with a certain pay rate. Therefore, it’s rarely the reason they leave unless another restaurant offers something substantially better, or their pay decrease. If, of course, you misrepresented the amount of tips, you can definitely turn a new employee against you. Also letting more than 12 months go by without a raise, however small, shows that you aren’t conscious about how long your employee worked at your restaurant.

For restaurants, much more dangerous is the decrease of hours. This actually can lessen the amount of money an employee takes home, and let’s be honest, their rent doesn’t fluctuate based on how much they can afford. Over-hiring can quickly boomerang as experienced staff in mass quit to pay their bills, and you are left with staff members who don’t know the ropes. Therefore, you should inquire with your staff what their desired hours are and how much hours they need to get by. These should always be in the back of your mind when making personnel decisions.

In regards to benefits, only the rare restaurant can pay health insurance and the like. As a general rule, they will have the most loyal and skilled staff, but they are rare so they don’t threaten the rest of the industry. Soon though, as part of the new health care law, restaurants will be expected to contribute to staff’s health care insurance, and the benefit advantage may decrease.

Why You Should Not Take Shortcuts in Training?

Leaving a staff member without the tools to succeed is a quick way to have that employee turn on that job. Training new staff members should be thorough, and when the staff member is ready to work independently, they shouldn’t be overwhelmed.

Starting a new job is nerve-wracking, especially in an economy like we have now. No one wants to be unemployed. A little patience and mentorship (whether by you or a trusted staff member) goes a long way. You should though set benchmarks for when the employee should feel completely able to carry out all the responsibilities of their job effectively. You may set 1 or 2 months to achieve this, but you should ask them if they feel ready at that point and fill in any holes. This is important because it discourages not being prepared as an excuse.

When They Aren’t Getting Along?

Lastly, you have to resolve conflicts between equals. Unless what someone has done is outright disruptive or offensive, this means not taking sides and coming up with an explicit resolution. Sometimes, it involves the two in conflict signing an agreement about their future behavior. Whatever you choose you have to be reasonable while being diplomatic, because a one-sided resolution may not only upset that one employee. Also, it’s important to handle these situations before they get out of control. You should realize that your management of these conflicts will either cause an increase or loss of respect from your staff.

Turnover hurts restaurants. This because quality is intertwined with the quality of food and service along with directly effecting your bottom line. An experienced, skillful staff are the backbone of your restaurant. They are something to be cultivated and not taken for granted.