6 Reasons Your Restaurant’s Best Employees Quit

High turnover is an unfortunate reality in the restaurant industry. In the US in 2016, Restaurant.org reported that it was more than 70 percent. While turnover is an inevitability in the business, It doesn’t have to be so high. The first step to decreasing turnover in your restaurant is figuring out why your employees are leaving in the first place. Here are a few reasons they don’t want to stay — and some tips on how to address those reasons.

They don’t feel appreciated

For many employees, getting the recognition they deserve for their hard work is almost as important as the paycheck. In fact, in some cases, it may be even more of a factor in their workplace happiness. According to Gallup, “it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored.” Twenty-eight (28) percent of the employees Gallup polled said their most memorable feedback came from a manager; another 10 percent said it came from a customer.

The solution: Make a conscious decision to let your employees — and their teammates — know when they’ve done good work. If a customer has made a positive comment about an employee, whether through a survey or to the manager directly, tell that employee about it. These gestures cost nothing, but the rewards are great.

They don’t feel their work is meaningful

According to the American Psychologists Association, “finding meaning in one’s work has been shown to increase motivation, engagement, empowerment, career development, job satisfaction, individual performance and personal fulfillment, and to decrease absenteeism and stress.” That’s a lot of benefits! Unfortunately, Fast Company revealed that at least half of employees do not feel their work has meaning. Making work meaningful can be a tall order, as well; after all, meaning means something different to everyone.

The solution: The best way to make work meaningful for your employees is to show them how their performance affects your customers. As this article in Inc magazine points out, employees need to see the payoff of their effort to feel that what they’re doing really matters. If your customers are happy with the service your employees provide, let them know.

There’s no room for growth

As this report on the National Restaurant Association’s website points out, “upward mobility in the restaurant industry often happens when employees move from one restaurant to another.” In a business where front-line staff far outnumber the management team at single location, it stands to reason that not everyone will be able to move up the chain. Most of your employees who strive to transition into management positions will have to seek out opportunities elsewhere. The nature of the industry means this cannot be avoided. However, it is possible to help your employees grow in other ways.

The solution: If they can’t move up at your restaurant, teach them new skills and give them more responsibilities. This will make them feel that they are learning something on the job and that they are valuable to the brand. Harvard Business Review found that Pal’s Sudden Service dedicates countless resources to training and re-training their teams, and as a result, the chain has a turnover rate well below the industry average.

They aren’t being managed well

They say that people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses, and unfortunately, it’s true. According to a Gallup survey, 50 percent of adults have left a job to get away from a manager. Employees will not long abide a managers who do not mentor them, support them, or offer them opportunities for growth.

The solution: Managers should take the time to listen to their team members, offer constructive feedback, and support their workplace development. This is as simple as pulling employees aside to thank them for their hard work, pushing them in areas that are lagging, training them in new skills, and trusting them to take on more responsibility in the workplace.

They don’t have a good relationship with coworkers

Workplace friendships are integral to an employee’s happiness on the job. In fact, Forbes reports that 67 percent of employees say having a friend makes work more fun and 55 percent say it makes their work more fulfilling. It’s easy to see why this is the case; these types of friendships create a more positive work atmosphere. In contrast, employees who do not have workplace friendships may feel isolated and demoralized. This translates into a decrease in productivity and a loss for the business.

The solution: You don’t necessarily need to encourage your employees to be friends, but it’s a good idea to foster positive relationships between them by bringing more team-building exercises and activities into your workplace. One easy way to accomplish this is through gamification, which we’ve mentioned on our blog before. Pitting teams against each other, such as the breakfast shift versus the evening shift, in friendly competition can teach them to work better as a unit and increase their on-the-job satisfaction.

They aren’t empowered

Employees that have no decision-making power or autonomy on the job will feel that they aren’t trusted or valued by management. Studies from the National Center for Biotechnology Information have shown that micromanagement causes “low employee morale, high staff turnover, [and] reduction of productivity.”

The solution: Give your employees the power to resolve minor issues without having to call the manager for backup. This could mean giving them the authority to distribute coupons to or a comp a drink for an upset guest. There are two benefits to this approach: Your employees will be more engaged in their work, and your customers will appreciate that their issue isn’t being passed from one employee to the next.

Find out how Loop Pulse can help you engage your employees, reduce turnover, and increase revenue. Request a free demo today!

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The Benbria Blog offers insights into the latest research in the field of customer engagement technology and best practices, with a focus on real-time messaging and measurement of the experience.

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