The Great Resignation, or Big Quit, has resulted in thousands of workers leaving their jobs, and eatery owners have felt some of the most significant impacts. So, how can owners increase their restaurant retention rates? By creating a more engaging environment through performance management software.
Highly engaged employees are known to show a 20% improvement in profitability. A big part of this comes from regular check-ins and feedback requests. However, restaurant retention software can help by better tracking performance management. “Retention software” refers to any software or computer tools that help you keep your best employees.
Below, you will find an overview of performance management software. You will also find five ways to use this retention software to maintain your current restaurant staff.
What is performance management software?
Performance management software is a tool that owners, managers, and employees use to determine company performance. This software creates consistent goals across all employee levels while providing information on training opportunities.
The idea is to place development opportunities in the hands of the employee. Good performance management software is data-driven, judging a person entirely on the numbers they put up. In this way, there is no “employee bias”, as the software focuses entirely on consistent performance.
What should I look for in a performance management software solution?
The ultimate solution to performance management offers a complete employee tracking suite. In a perfect world, you should have integrations with your entire HR platform.
This complete system is known as an HRIS (Human Resources Information System). The best HRIS systems provide the following benefits:
- Human Resources
- Hiring and Onboarding Procedures
- Time Tracking
- Customized Reports and Insights
Ideally, you will want an end-to-end system that handles everything for you. You want to avoid paying for multiple software pieces that only integrate half of the time.
Why performance management software is linked to retention.
Performance management software encourages retention because employees are able to see their growth.
Entry-level restaurant positions attract all sorts of people. However, most of those people like to see how they are doing and how they can improve. Those people receive recognition and get further inspired through consistent performance boosts.
On the other hand, you can also spot employees who don’t respond to feedback. Having a consistent system built on information holds both managers and employees accountable.
As you continue to use performance management software to support your system, you’ll find your employees become more driven and engaged. By providing a great working environment, you’ll find an across-the-board increase in restaurant retention.
Five reasons why people management software is linked to restaurant employee retention.
Still finding it difficult to connect software and restaurant retention? Below, you will see five examples of how this can work in your business.
1 - Improved ability to identify training needs.
If you’ve worked any kind of entry-level job, you’ll know the importance of knowing what it is you’re expected to do. In cases where you don’t, management and senior employees have to step in to fill the knowledge gap.
Where senior employees are unsupportive, you don’t feel very welcome. The frustration of not knowing how to do something will make you leave.
It is much easier for management to identify shortfalls when they can easily track them. Because performance management software gives you a consistent place for notetaking, you’ll find tracking these shortfalls easier.
So the process can go like this:
- One member of management identifies a need for employee training.
- Management inputs this training need into the performance tracking system.
- Other management members are made aware of this shortfall.
- All might come together to assist a willing employee in improvement.
How does this process help retention? Studies have identified two ways training and retention are heavily connected:
- Training develops and solidifies a more substantial employee commitment. Despite general goals, receiving another skill from your organization creates a sense of thankfulness. Employees in this mindset are more willing to give back to the organization,
- Training increases trust levels among employees in the organization. When employees receive further training, they feel that their organization trusts them with additional duties. This provides a greater sense of job security, creating trust by extension.
Your people recognize a willingness to invest in them. Those who work in the service and hospitality industries find this challenging to spot. So when your staff sees this, it is a sign they should stick around.
When management can easily spot these opportunities, more training can occur — so that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with well-trained and well-supported employees is a more consistent experience.
2 - Management and employees are held accountable.
Data is an excellent equalizer across management and employees. Good employee performance tracking needs to work for all levels, not just employees.
You need quantifiable data — meaning you can measure it in numbers. You also need to apply different KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to each employee level.
Comprehensively meeting multiple objectives ensures you have a fully trained employee. For example, here’s what you might track with an entry-level line cook at a fast-food restaurant:
- Time to serve - This is the average time it takes for a line cook to receive an order to it being ready.
- Food safety protocol - A binary “yes” or “no” determines whether the cook follows food safety regulations.
- Food waste - Measures the amount of food wasted, encouraging prep cooks to only prepare what is necessary.
- Customer satisfaction - Measures how good the food tastes on a scale of one to five.
With foodservice teams, it takes a village (or group) to turn raw meat into deliciousness. However, having a consistent system that tracks changes between teams can enable you to better identify critical performers.
Managers will have an entirely different set of requirements. These requirements include revenue earned, customer expectations met, overall positive surveys, and time factors. Of course, you’ll need to account for situational changes (such as what staff they have available).
After accounting for other potential impacts, you can track poor management with greater ease. Ideally, management should be able to navigate these challenges and overcome them.
This process also challenges management to develop ways to solve the problem. Those who respond to poor performance reviews with positivity are people you usually want to keep. Call this “good employee retention”.
3 - Engages employees by encouraging goal-setting and achievement.
Experts say that goal setting and creating a plan for success are paramount to growth. Employees who actively pursue management and back this up by providing excellent results are those you want to keep.
But it isn’t enough to have someone select a generic goal. Typically, plans that are too high and broad are not helpful. Collaboration between managers and employees is a must at this stage.
To make things easier, ask your employees to establish SMART goals from the beginning. If you haven’t heard the acronym, here’s a breakdown:
- Specific - focus on one thing
- Measurable - quantify it
- Achievable - make it something doable
- Relevant - make it applicable to the job
- Time-bound - within a certain period
If your goals don’t meet all of the requirements above, you need to have a deeper discussion. Here’s an example you can use:
“Jimmy, your new front counter person, has a below-average customer response on surveys. To encourage Jimmy to get more positive survey results, he is tasked with asking at least ten times by the end of the day. He is instructed to keep a tally nearby to remind him to do so.”
Being specific enables customer relations personnel to focus on one area of improvement. Why only one? Because despite the chaos the restaurant business sometimes demands, humans are inherently bad at multitasking.
About 2.5% of the world’s population are good multitaskers. So, improve your odds of success by keeping it simple. In this case, the goal is only to plant the idea of asking for customer surveys in their head, as ten surveys out of 300 customers isn't a lot.
When you track this using your performance management software, it allows both employees and managers to see a willingness for growth. The more goals your team accomplishes, the more motivation they feel. It also is a good indicator of management potential.
4 - Improve communication between multiple levels.
Restaurant retention issues often come back to ineffective communication. Restaurants that don’t communicate suffer from the following:
- Staffing and scheduling issues
- Overbooking or understaffing
- Inventory overstock or shortages
- Improper order placement
- Missing special food requests
You might ask how performance management software can help your communication? It enables managers and employees to find a consistent point of improvement.
Going back to our goal setting section, seeing the number of goals someone has gone through is a good sign. Having a manager look over this achievement list avoids repeat conversations.
Employees coming back and reminding management that an employee already had this discussion is excellent. First, it empowers employees to speak back against the leadership in cases where there is a power imbalance. It also avoids needless time spent in meetings.
On the other hand, it also allows leadership to identify problem locations better. Maintaining weak staff is one way that restaurant retention can suffer. After all, nobody wants to work with someone who refuses to improve.
It also provides a better conversation when it comes to career development. Does one of your employees want to become the new kitchen manager? Great! Have them prove their commitment by putting them in the kitchen while other managers watch them.
Set this as a goal for management to recognize improved times or effectiveness under their leadership. Once the following conversation comes up, you’ll have an idea of different areas of improvement with specific steps necessary to become management. Implementing and enforcing a system is much easier when you have a consistent method to confirm employee performance.
5 - Align goals across multiple levels of your organization.
If you are a restaurant owner who manages numerous locations, it can be challenging to maintain consistency. Having a scalable system is essential in this case. This is much easier if you have the technology to back you up.
Taking the stress away from management on how to develop employees can help. Through performance management software, you can provide this at multiple levels.
Scalability relies heavily on a consistent system regarding food quality and culture. Applying this to tech, you send each restaurant a recipe for success following specific guidelines. These include your systems for onboarding, hiring, training, and improvement. A combined approach that simplifies the process will improve kitchen retention.
You might think you could do this without software. However, modern restaurant management requires access to modern technology. Relying on old-fashioned equipment won’t help you remain lightweight and mobile. Investing in the latest technology has proven to be the best-case scenario.
Examples of this come to fruition with the existence of virtual restaurants (or ghost kitchens). By implementing a virtual restaurant, you spread your exposure and generate a new revenue stream. If someone opens a restaurant inside your restaurant, your system works well enough for other people to leverage it.
The right software can make it easier to maintain goals and scale them across a wider food industry. The creation of these systems often stands the test of time, enabling restaurateurs to become the next big name.
Despite the Great Resignation taking a heavy toll on restaurants, it is an opportunity for the dynamic. Prove yourself a passionate owner, stay up-to-date with the latest trends, and start by investing in a good piece of software.
Push offers the best performance management software for an end-to-end solution. So if you want software that manages payroll, HR, onboarding, and scheduling, book a demo today. You’ll find that simplification is the best way to increase your kitchen retention potential.
Looking for more ways to increase employee retention? Download our free retention below!