Four Ways to Reduce Burnout and Improve Employee Retention | Modern restaurant management


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The high turnover common in the restaurant industry has only accelerated in the past nine months. During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurant chains saw their activity decline and had to lay off or reduce the hours of their employees. Longtime food and hospitality workers left the industry, choosing to seek positions that had more consistent hours or less potential for COVID exposure.

Then demand started to rise again, and customers began to eat more in restaurants and order more take-out. Unfortunately, this has exacerbated a felt labor shortage across many industries. Those who had remained in the restaurant business faced understaffed shifts, training new employees, impatient customers, new security protocols and supply chain issues, and new employees are overwhelmed and confused. Both groups are suffering from burnout and turnover is increasing.

Operators won’t be able to resolve customer impatience or bring back longtime restaurant workers, but there are some things you can do now to help reverse or prevent burnout of your current employees and reduce burnout. the turnover at the same time.

1. Prioritize the well-being of your employees

It can be difficult trying to find room for incentives, power take-off, sick leave and more, but a culture that prioritizes the physical and mental well-being of your employees has its own returns. .

When employees don’t feel punished for taking sick leave, you prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of your workforce. When impatient customers cause problems for employees, make sure your employees know that you are helping them keep away from bad behavior. Recognize that times are tough and consider offering tokens of appreciation like gift cards or a small bonus. Remember how far public and verbal praise goes.

These types of efforts have long been seen as gnawing at bottom line, but employees who know they are valued stay in each shift longer, lowering your costs.

2. Give employees tools to facilitate their daily tasks.

It all adds up in your restaurant. If the inventory is presented in a way that is not intuitive, your employees will take longer to take inventory or do it less often than they should. If they cannot remember the contents of the opening checklist, they may be skipping crucial steps. If your manager continues to compile reports on spreadsheets, he is spending hours every week on something that could easily be automated.

It’s time to invest in the tools that make your employees’ lives easier. It’s too easy to make mistakes or burn yourself out when tasks take longer than they should. You can empower them and give them time to focus on customers by providing them with better tools. Inventory management, automated reporting, one-click shopping and more are all ways to streamline the day-to-day tasks that employees face.

3. Access the planning software

Scheduling software not only makes your manager’s life easier by helping to schedule based on expected sales, it also makes it easier for employees to have their schedules at their fingertips. They can manage the PTO and delete or swap shifts on their phones.

In addition, you benefit from optimized schedules. Instead of going against your manager’s instinct as to what the schedule should look like, your manager saves hours every time the schedule is worked out with clear data on optimal staffing levels.

4. Make training accessible and encouraged

With the influx of new employees entering the industry, training is more important than ever. Traditional job shadowing does not provide a structure for follow-up and reinforcement, and with the departure of many long-term employees, you may not have as many experienced employees for new hires to observe.

Fortunately, you can make the training more effective while also reinforcing some of the institutional knowledge lost when people quit restaurant jobs. Focus on providing small learning opportunities. This can range from alerts on their team app to short videos to flash cards. These moments of micro-learning are a powerful tool for reinforcing learning and ensuring that every employee continues to remember best practices long after the onboarding is complete.

Many companies have also created training libraries that make it easy for employees to find information on anything they may be struggling with. This type of resource helps them find the level of help they need, from cheat sheets to comprehensive troubleshooting guides.

Retaining engaged employees can be difficult, especially in the past year or so, but there are things operators can do to help combat employee burnout and high turnover. Recognize and appreciate employees, ensure they have the tools that make their jobs easier, and give them access to a wider variety of information even after onboarding is complete.

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About Imogene T. Bishop

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