The service industry has always been infamous for its revolving door.
But in the last year, the restaurant industry has suffered unprecedented turnover rates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employee quit rate has more than doubled since June 2021. Additionally, the results of an August 2021 survey reported record-breaking turnover rates in the fast-food industry.
Researchers and businesses are redefining what it means to be a restaurant worker, implementing modern solutions to an age-old problem. A comprehensive approach can help you to apply meaningful, lasting remedies and maintain a robust and loyal workforce.
Let’s explore in detail how to reduce turnover in restaurants.
Identify the Problem
Before addressing the problem, you will need to clearly define it.
Calculating employee turnover rate
Employee turnover is a national problem; nearly every business and organization has been affected by sky-rocketing quit rates.
First, you can calculate your employee turnover rate. Divide the total voluntary terminations by the average number of employees per month, and multiply the total by 100. This will give you a detailed view of your situation, allowing you to determine the severity of your problem relative to the national numbers.
Calculating employee retention rate
You can also calculate your employee retention rate. Your retention rate is the converse of your turnover rate; it provides insights into your ability to keep employees satisfied and working.
Divide the number of employees remaining at the end of the month or period by the number of employees at the start of the month or period. Multiply that number times 100.
Your employee turnover and retention rates allow you to visualize your situation and also empower you to calculate the financial losses accompanying terminations. For a more profound understanding of the cost of hiring and losing financial workers, you can watch our webinar “How Much Does It Cost To Hire an Essential Worker” on demand.
Deepen your analysis
Practical problem-solving is collaborative problem-solving.
Identify your interest groups: those most affected by the problem. They are your potential partners in devising a solution.
Ask your employees to share their experiences and impressions. Reach out to third-party organizations that can co-create solutions. Talroo offers data-driven hiring solutions to help you assess employee retention and hire effective employees.
Gather Data and Identify Contributing Factors
Before identifying solutions, you will need to hone in on contributing factors. Research suggests that wages, working conditions, and workplace culture directly correlate with turnover.
Wages are an essential priority for employees, with many working to support families, courses of study, and satisfying life experiences.
Ask yourself if you can afford to pay your employees more; research maintains a correlation between higher wages and employment rates.
Humane working conditions and practices
Employees care about feeling safe and valued at work.
Evaluate their working conditions and standard practices for any inefficiencies or violations of personal boundaries. How do you keep your employees safe? Do they have time to practice self-care, or do they burn out quickly?
A hostile or alienating work environment
Recent research suggests that workplace alienation has nothing to do with the nature of restaurant work and everything to do with managerial styles and practices.
Begin to observe manager-employee interactions. Ask your employees how comfortable and content they feel at work. While employee conflicts will inevitably occur, you can minimize the potential for negative workplace culture.
Implement Immediate Solutions
Once you have investigated your contributing factors, you can address the issue head-on. How to reduce turnover in restaurants? We’ll answer this with these quick-fix solutions, which we’ll describe next.
Boost wages and benefits
As discussed, wages and benefits are among the most crucial retention factors. Financial institutions are increasing pay to retain their workers—and you can too.
Ask yourself where you can cut costs and how much you can afford to divert to your employees.
Furthermore, benefits are a crucial contributor to employee success. Can you offer your employees a better health insurance plan? Do you currently provide a dental or vision plan? Life insurance? Retirement plans? What other perks and bonuses can you offer to employees?
Researchers have found, for example, that workplace health initiatives provide significant organizational benefits.
Assess and replace ineffective practices
Ask your employees to relate their favorite (and least favorite) aspects of working for your restaurant. Even the smallest reforms can have a lasting impact on morale.
Re-evaluate all of your essential practices: from dress codes to kitchen procedures. See what you can change immediately and what will require more long-term planning.
Visit the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration website to learn about workplace safety.
Revolutionize workplace culture
Culture is intangible and can prove difficult to assess (and change). But there are numerous minor fixes you can make immediately to boost morale:
- Communicate with your employees frequently. A collaborative culture is positively correlated with employee satisfaction and retention. Other components of a collaborative culture include:
- Physical proximity and opportunities for socializing
- A shared vision and mission
- Collaborative hiring practices
- Leadership opportunities for all
- Provide incentives and rewards. These can include:
- Monetary rewards for excellent service
- An employee of the month
- Exclusive parking spots
- Gift certificates and vouchers
- Consider culture-building events and exercises such as weekly happy hours and team-building games.
- Emotional resilience training has proven effective in improving workplace relationships.
Implement exit interviews
Immediately implement an exit interview policy.
Exit interviews provide a platform for honest discussion without fear of repercussion. Prompt your employees to share the factors that contributed to their decision. Because they are already on their way out, they will be more willing to share with you.
Develop Long-Term Goals
See below some ideas you can implement in your company to hire the best workers and maintain them long-term.
Revolutionize your recruiting practices
Employee retention benefits your business only if you are hiring effective workers.
Assess your current advertising and outreach practices. Talroo can help you identify the best candidates, target your advertising, tap new candidate sources, and scale your hiring efforts.
Implement excellent training procedures
Practical training builds efficacy and loyalty to your company. Employees value training experiences because they promise more leadership opportunities.
According to the Restaurant Success Report, 70% of restaurants offer no training. Comprehensive training allows you to invest in your employees and encourages them to invest in your business. Some strategies for practical training include:
- Briefing new hires on your mission and vision for the future
- Providing an employee handbook or manual
- Offering orientation classes
- Implementing a shadow or mentor program
- Providing online training for ease of access
Prioritize Professional Development
You can boost the benefits of training by providing ongoing professional development opportunities. Recent research confirms the positive correlation between professional development and employee retention.
Ask your employees which skills they would most like to learn. Collaborate with third-party organizations to provide special events and training opportunities. Create partnerships with other businesses or organizations. Offer online classes or fund ongoing education initiatives.
Encourage innovation and introduce new technology
Your employees have undoubtedly thought of ways to improve your business as they navigate the minutiae of daily work. You can implement innovation incentives to capitalize on their knowledge and make them feel heard. You can harness your employees’ creativity by:
- Implement a “free work time” policy once a week or month, during which employees brainstorm new ideas and ground-breaking practices.
- Offer incentives and rewards for innovation.
- Use an old-fashioned comment box.
- Let your employees know you value their opinions and ideas.
This strategy also allows you to maintain open lines of communication with your employees, thus building their investment in your restaurant.
Maintain Sustainable Change
Success must be sustainable.
The changes you make will have the most impact if they are profound and long-lasting.
Here are numerous strategies you can use to ensure the stability of your retention rate.
Maintain strong lines of communication with your employees and customers. Schedule quarterly check-ins or periodic meetings to ensure you stay up-to-date on internal culture.
Establish a consistent feedback system so you can continue to improve your practices.
You can also partner with Talroo to continue leveraging candidate sources and disseminating effective marketing campaigns.
Learn to measure the success of your marketing and hiring strategies.
Periodically analyze data, look for gaps, and ask questions of your employees and customers to gain insight into how your employees interpret these changes.
Plan for periods of high turnover, for instance, before and after the summer season.
Determine how you will strategize to minimize and bear the brunt of these losses.
Invest in a culture of fun and positivity
Fun in the workplace boosts morale and contributes to high retention rates. Plan for monthly events, provide moments of comic relief, plan playful competitions, and continue to invest in incentives to cultivate camaraderie among your employees.
Keep open-minded, and make sure that you are having fun! A personable boss is an integral component of an attractive workplace.
Reduce Turnover to Reduce Stress
We hope that these ideas on how to reduce turnover in restaurants were helpful in your case. Ultimately, reducing your employee turnover rate benefits, all parties involved and reduces your level of stress. Continue to promote innovation and collaboration among your workers and keep your mission at the forefront of your work. Restaurants are not powerless to counteract turnover—and yours will be the proof!