How to Improve Restaurants’ Staff Morale and Hire the Best Prospects Now

By August 6, 2021 Blog
Happy waitress making a drink

The restaurant industry is going to remember 2020 and 2021 as the time when everything changed. Not only is the pandemic still a serious concern, but many businesses are struggling to hire and retain enough employees to keep their doors open. In one recent survey, 40% of restauranteurs said they consider their operations to be “severely understaffed.”

While the food service sector has always experienced something of a revolving door with its employees, that business model is no longer viable. You may not have the capital to offer signing bonuses or other incentives to new hires, but there are still steps you can take to streamline your hiring and onboarding processes and improve employee retention. The key? Focus on the things you can control.

Attracting and Hiring the Best Prospects

Attracting new employees is similar to attracting new customers: Get their attention, supply enough information for them to make a decision, and offer the best experience when they come in. Some of this is simple marketing, such as:

  1. Writing a specific job description that includes practical details about qualifications and years of experience, as well as both general and daily responsibilities.
  2. Publicizing your company culture in job ads, social media, the “careers” page on your website, etc. What are your performance and service standards? What are your commitments to increasing your employees’ safety, well-being and career growth? What kinds of personalities and traits will mesh with your existing team? (Example: The ideal hire for Dutch Bros. is likely not the same as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.) For your careers page, consider asking current employees to write or record job testimonials about your corporate culture.
  3. Including compensation ranges in your job postings. Today’s candidates have a lot of options, and if a quick glance doesn’t give them an idea how much your job pays, they’ll move along to the next ad that does. Further, if the pay you’re offering is a dealbreaker for any candidate, it’s better they know that before anyone’s time is wasted.
  4. “Selling” candidates on your on-the-job benefits, such as PTO, flexible or part-time schedules, training or certifications, a casual working environment, etc.

A related tactic is to gear up an employee referral program where your staff can receive a cash bonus for high-quality candidate leads. Since these referrals can bring in hires at a rate 13 times higher than job boards, it’s reasonable to consider funneling the money you would have spent on recruitment back to your team.

When your candidates come in for interviews, put aside time to focus on them not just as employees but as people. Ask about their previous job experience as well as their interests, their personal goals, and what they’re looking for from an employer. Ask for references, and when the interview is over, make time to call them to confirm the facts you’ve been given.

Excellent Onboarding

Your employee retention efforts should start the second any employee signs on. Why?

  • Research by Glassdoor has determined that a great onboarding program can improve employee retention by 82%.
  • However, 58% of organizations say their onboarding program is focused on processes and paperwork.
  • Few organizations continue their onboarding efforts past the first week.

In today’s digital workplace, there’s no reason for these two statistical failures.

A robust digital training and checklist app like MeazureUp can allow your organization to standardize your training modules while also customizing them to specific job descriptions. Training can be completed on any smartphone, from any location, and can include additional formats like animations and videos. When work starts, the app’s reference materials can link directly to each checklist so that no employee is ever without the latest how-to information. And the cloud-based platform keeps the lines of communications open by allowing employees to ask questions of their supervisors and managers, wherever they may be.

Employees can see exactly how their training enables them to do their jobs according to objective specifications, quickly and transparently developing proficiency without the pressure of having to remember every detail during the daily rush. And each employee’s training path and daily performance are documented and easy to build upon as needed. Exceptional performance is easy to recognize and replicate, both by employees and by management; no deficiency is left unnoticed, and cross-training becomes a breeze. This all contributes to increased employee satisfaction, engagement and retention.

Improve Morale, Retain Employees

That’s important to note in today’s restaurant industry: Training is never truly done. Any team may occasionally need a refresher on any topic; new equipment, updated menus, or new branding means new procedures; and continuous improvement of the customer experience is always a goal. In addition, employees will appreciate the chance to develop their skill set, train into a different area, or move up in the organization by taking on new responsibilities.

MeazureUp is designed to keep this sort of training available to all employees at the touch of a screen. Further, your operations team can update any policy, procedure, checklist, etc., just once and the app rolls the update out to all devices in real time. No one is ever left out of the loop or working from outdated information.

Letting an app handle the nuts and bolts of training allows your operations team to focus on the “soft skills” that increase employee retention: Hiring people who want to grow with your company, bolstering employees’ sense of purpose at work, providing feedback and mentoring, developing growth tracks, and communicating openly, even in tough times.

Hire MeazureUp for Better Employee Experiences

It was reported back in 2017 that it can cost a business up to 33% of an employee’s annual salary to replace that employee if they leave – and it’s hard to imagine how that number could be less today. Considering all the effort your team is currently putting into human resources, it’s critical to do everything within your organization’s control to hire the most qualified applicants and retain employees – and Meazureup helps you get the job done for a monthly fee similar to a job placement ad. For more information about how MeazureUp streamlines your onboarding and training to improve the experience for all employees, contact us today.