5 Ways to Retain Staff in the Hospitality Industry Ways to stabilize employment, improve retention, and increase customer satisfaction and profitability

By Sakshi Sagaraju

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Industries, in general, are suffering from a massive undersupply of a qualified, engaged and motivated workforce. The challenge is and always will start with recruitment. Finding the right person for the right job. Plain and simple.

Employee retention is a critical industry issue. Yet, sadly, most owners and business operators feel powerless to stop the incredible amount of industry turnover.

Some tips on - How to stabilize employment, improve retention, and increase customer satisfaction and profitability.

Recognize People Will Leave

Younger people who are not career-minded are sure to leave. Chances are this is a job they're doing while in college pursuing another career path. Plus, a restaurant job is easily transferable elsewhere. Many jobs are highly substitutable: If one is unhappy at one restaurant, they can get a different job down the street at another. This is particularly true of entry-level jobs that do not carry a lot of benefits with them.

Hence, the key is to sift through their resume and evaluate their commitment before hiring them.

Flexibility Goes a Long Way

This is especially important in the housekeeping department. We all know that this is the roughest job physically, so it's more important to be flexible for the times these folks work. Don't force them to work straight shifts 8 am to 4 pm, for example. If they can't do those hours let them start earlier or later. Chances are it will not affect restaurant operations and they'll be more likely to stick with the job.

Workplace Relationships

Coworkers directly impact turnover and retention. Better relationships in the workplace mean the employee is less susceptible to other jolts or problems. This is because of the interactive nature of restaurant positions where you work alongside people all day long. It becomes impossible to avoid individuals the employee simply doesn't like. That creates a higher likelihood they'll leave. The emotional attachment to the coworker is more than to the company overall, so, underscoring the importance of workplace relationships can also curb turnover rate.

Focus on training

It's not enough to train new employees by having them shadow staff for two days before throwing them in the fire. Training needs to be done on a one-on-one and continual basis. Cross training is equally important for your operations, not only because it can help with succession planning but also because it exposes a team to different areas of the restaurant. It allows employees from different departments to interact, understand each other's jobs, and form a mutual respect.

Fun Matters

We see this in Silicon Valley as companies such as Google or Facebook turn their offices into fun factories with the notion that if work is fun, employees are happy. The big lesson to take away is what type of leader does the restaurant general manager want to be? One that promotes fun and a more laid back workplace environment, or a "hard-nosed taskmaster. In the restaurant business is so based so much on entertainment that your staff needs to also look like they're having a good time! Weaving light humour and keeping a breezy atmosphere translates multifold in staff retention.

Sakshi Sagaraju

Partner and Co-Founder, Bangalore Brew Works

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