How to Retain Restaurant Staff During a Hiring Crisis

by Sarah Niderost, 3 minutes read
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It’s been a rough year for restaurant owners when it comes to hiring new staff. Jobs in the hospitality industry were some of the hardest hit as closures and safety measures caused an influx of furloughs and layoffs all over the globe.

Since then, hospitality employees everywhere reconsidered their careers, left their jobs for higher-paying ones, and dedicated more time to their personal lives.

These shifts in priorities have all contributed to worldwide staff shortages and high staff turnover. As an employer, being perfectly staffed to meet demand is one of your top priorities. Continue reading for six ways to retain your staff during a hiring crisis.

1. Make the first day on the job memorable

You should always be visibly excited when you welcome new members to your team. Before your new hire’s first day, create an onboarding document to help guide them through their first shift. Ask one of your star players to be their “buddy” during their first week on the job to show how much you value their initial experiences on your team.

2. Keep communication open

If you use a communication platform at your restaurant, make sure to constantly engage with your team. Use it to update them on important workplace news like onboarding new hires or a change in their employee handbooks.

Having great communication across your team is vital to a happy and healthy workplace. The more communication you have, the better you’ll be able to provide what your staff needs to stay at your restaurant.

3. Identify any stressors and eliminate them

Your servers have dealt with impatient diners. Your star sous chef has always worked two jobs. Your newest host juggles being a full-time student while tackling dinner service. Work-life balance is essential for your team. Without having time for their personal lives or time to destress from overwhelming situations, retaining them can get difficult.

If you notice any of your team members falling behind during their shift, or seeming more tired than they usually are at the end of their shift, they could be burning out. Check in with your staff frequently to make sure you’re in the know of any pressing frustrations or setbacks that are affecting their performance and morale. Then you can help work through them with your team, letting them know that they have a voice in their career at your restaurant.

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4. Encourage opportunities for growth

Having no career development is one of the key reasons why many employees quit their jobs. Make sure you can help pave the way for your team to learn and grow at your restaurant. Giving your employees the right tools to progress to their career goals highlights the potential for them to progress at work – which will make them more likely to be retained.

5. Offer special perks

Do you often end dinner service with plenty of food left over in the kitchen? Instead of throwing it away, offer your employees to take any of it home. If they’re a student or working parent, they’ll definitely appreciate this bonus with their busy schedules.

You can also offer to sell all your unusable pantry items and produce to your employees at a highly discounted rate so they can bring home groceries without needing to go to the store on their way home from work. Not only are you saving them money, but you’re saving them time so they can focus more time on their personal lives outside of work.

6. Have “stay” interviews

You’ve heard of exit interviews before. But stay interviews are for an entirely opposite purpose. As turnover is no stranger to the service industry, you want to make sure you can reach out to employees who seem dissatisfied at your restaurant.

If you can sense an employee’s possible resignation on the way, book some time for a 1:1 with them. Ask them how work is going, and what’s going well for them. Then dive deeper into your conversation and ask them what's not going well for them at work.

If you’re willing to receive feedback from unhappy employees, the more they’ll value their relationship with you and feel heard. And, you can put their feedback into action and make your restaurant a better workplace for them.

Make the long term possible

As holiday rushes and private dinners give you an upturned influx of hungry customers, you need to make sure you do everything to support your team, or you’ll risk losing them. Help them work through stressful situations with great communication and you’ll be on your way to retaining them for the long haul.

Want to learn more about how you can help your employees thrive at work? Sign up for a free trial of Deputy and see just how much streamlining your scheduling processes can give you more time to focus on uplifting your staff.

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