Employee Retention Guide | Proven Tools To Keep Great People

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October 7, 2022
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Restaurant owners know great talent and experienced workers are hard to retain; and after The Great Resignation, employees are more likely to leave an organization than ever. Employers, by extension, are starting to get nervous, wondering what they can do to keep great talent.  

The Great Resignation has emboldened workers to find new jobs quickly. Because restaurants are high-stress jobs with specialized skills that take time to develop, keeping trained employees is a must. Experienced employees are the foundation of future success for restaurants. 

When team member quits you lose the skill and knowledge that goes with them - and you have to expend time and energy training someone new. This loss stresses your staff more, causing further retention concerns to expand.

If you are struggling with retaining employees in your restaurant, you aren’t alone. In this guide, you’ll find tools and resources to keep your talent and reap the financial benefits of keeping great people at your organization. 

Of course, this all starts with restaurant hiring and onboarding. An excellent way to improve your retention is to start from the beginning. Check out our linked article for a guide on employee onboarding. 

happy employee smiling

What is employee retention?

Employee retention is any activities taken to keep employees and reduce turnover. Retention activities usually take place to retain high performers, so they often guide these retention activities. By extension, employee needs are better met, resulting in a better work environment.

In September of 2021, The Great Resignation resulted in 4.4 million people quitting their jobs. This was more than the prior year’s worth of quits at 3.4 million. The aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic was clear: most people were unhappy with their jobs.  

So, how do you make people happy with their jobs? By meeting their needs. Employees demand flexibility, trust, and personal investment. You’ll find out more about these below. 

What are the benefits of employee retention?

The benefits of employee engagement are keeping great people, maintaining high employee morale, and maintaining your business reputation. A good morale will push your employees to produce quality work. Also, a good reputation attracts other good employees, as quality environments attract quality people.

Ultimately, this leads to a stronger community reception. You get more customers and more employees, which is reflected in your employee morale. This tends to result in more positive customer reviews. The more people you do good for, the more good you create. 

What are the downsides of not retaining your employees?

Aside with the loss of human capital and resources - not retaining your employees is the loss of business reputation. Leading to your business is viewed as a revolving door. It can build on itself, as you’ll lose eventually have no experienced employees to guide your new employees.

Losing experienced employees also sends a message to your current employees. The resulting loss will negatively affect your employee morale. Employees on the way out will have no problems sharing their opinion. 

employee glad to be at work happy

How can I retain great people?

To retain great people, you need to respect them, pay them well,  listen to their challenges and invest in their future.  Make them feel like you want them.

In our article “Five Ways The Great Resignation Will Change Restaurants Forever,” we discuss a lot related to this topic. After all, it was a harsh reminder for many restaurants that they need to step up their game with employees. 

In addition to soft skills, you can also take action by leveraging retention technology to build systems that can help keep great people.

The use of retention tools can help you with that flexibility through scheduling, payment, and opportunity tracking. Below, you’ll see more examples and tools you can use. 

What tools help with employee retention?

Not all great plans to keep your employees require work from scratch. Here’s a quick roundup of tools that help with retaining employees:

  • Onboarding software
  • Training manuals
  • 360 reviews
  • Consistent KPI monitoring
  • Performance review templates
  • Meeting templates
  • An employee app (or dashboard)
  • Instant payment 

Below, you’ll find out more about each tool. 

Use employee onboarding software

Employers with a standardized onboarding process have 50% higher new hire retention rates. Onboarding software can help standardize your process, ensuring that each employee receives a consistent experience. With this, employees will quickly know they are a good fit for your culture.  

Without a good onboarding process, employees have to guess if they are a good fit. Any “guessing” in business is a gamble, which owners don’t want to do. Owners must recognize more information leads to better results. Onboarding software allows you to track these results and consistently apply this information, leading to less confusion on a person-by-person basis. 

Onboarding software also allows you to establish a complete onboarding process. After all, you can establish a digital onboarding checklist. So, instead of being confirmed by error-prone humans, you can get completed steps confirmed digitally, which forces them to acknowledge your policies. This way, you have fewer “I wasn’t trained on that” situations. 

Have an employee training manual

An employee training manual provides managers and trainers with guidance. In applying a consistent approach to training, you ensure all employees get the same experience. This way, you more consistently ensure every employee gets the information they need to be successful. 

Training manuals also allow you to identify shortcomings in your development process. For example, you might take a closer look if your employees are continuously struggling with a process. 

Consistency is often more important than success, as knowing what steps lead to these results lets you take action. Without consistency, your business turns into gambling. 

Perform 360 reviews

A 360 review helps employees understand their strengths and weaknesses. The idea of these reviews is to provide insights to the employees on where they can improve. The idea is to focus on areas of professional development, giving them greater opportunities during their employment.

A 360 review should focus on opportunities over failures. They need to be direct, honest, and constructive when criticizing someone. However, a 360 review considers the other side of the circle: the positive side. Be sure to include areas where they excel, as it is a recognition of their skills. 

Surveys tell us that recognition is most important to 37% of employees. Some employees receive no recognition, which leads to a higher turnover rate. A 360 review is one example of this recognition in action. 

Monitor employee KPIs

KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are the performance metrics of your employees. These data points are quantifiable and measurable, driven by numbers, dashboards, and charts. The right KPIs can give your business and employees deep insights on growth opportunities.

KPIs need to be consistent and measurable, not just general comments. You might use KPIs as part of your 360 reviews alongside general comments. The idea is to provide validity to your comments and avoid the “he said she said” scenarios. 

Monitoring KPIs allows you to recognize your top performers. This way, you know where to focus your employee retention efforts towards. 

Have a performance review template

Performance review templates provide a consistent framework for managers and trainers to follow when measuring success. Templates are a big part of your performance indicators, allowing you to measure the same stats across all your employees. Templates encourage consistency across all levels of your organization.

Here is what to include in a performance review template:

  • Basic information (name, ID, position, etc.)
  • Review period (the time frame you conducted the review)
  • Details on your rating system (the KPIs and how you measure them)
  • Goals
  • Comment boxes
  • Signatures (for both the employee and evaluator)

person who loves his job

Consistent meeting cadence and templates

Having a consistent meeting lets you better get your points across. Meeting templates will provide you and your managers with guidelines on the order of what you need to talk about. Consistent cadence ensures that managers are consistent while delivering the information in the meeting. 

It’s estimated that 24 billion hours are wasted in each meeting. That staggering statistic comes from managers who lack the discipline to stay consistent and control these meetings. A template and consistent cadence help keep meetings on task, ensuring they don’t become out of control. 

Offer an employee app or access 

An employee app (or access to an employee dashboard) lets them track their information. This information can help them check scheduling, payment, and training details. Apps can help save time and effort for leadership, preventing the need for questions on how to access documents or pay stubs. 

The less time you spend on redundant activities, the more you can focus on business success. These redundant activities can fill an entire day if you let them. By leaving them to automated systems, you can avoid this. 

Many employee apps also allow them to swap shifts. Stick with people management solutions that help eliminate confusion. Less confusion will lead to better employee retention. 

Consider instant pay

The gig economy has changed employee expectations on payment. Getting those funds sooner means they can use them, which helps pay the bills and meet financial obligations. You can compete better with the gig economy by providing instant payment options. 

There are several instant payment services available. Make sure those services clarify that those payments will come from hours already worked. You don’t want employees borrowing against hours they haven’t worked. 

What are some other reasons employee retention matters?

Beyond keeping skills and saving reputation, employee retention matters because you can save money and build a culture. The longer you keep those employees, the more they will embody that culture. You might also get a tax break through the employee retention credit. 

What is the employee retention credit?

The employee retention credit is one aspect of the 2020 CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economy Security). This refundable tax credit applies to up to $10,000 in wages paid to employees impacted by COVID-19. Maintaining employees impacted by COVID-19 can result in tax savings. 

How to apply for the employee retention credit

To apply for the Employee Retention Credit, you need to report your total qualified wages and health insurance costs using quarterly employment tax returns (usually Form 941). With this, you can claim federal income tax and the employee and the employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. 

The CARES Act applies to periods from March 12, 2020, to January 1, 2022. You might be able to amend your 2023 tax return if you missed this credit. Consult your tax advisor for further guidance. 

smiles all around

Need software to keep great people?

If you want to keep great people from onboarding onward, you need Push Operations. Push Operations helps you keep great people with applicant tracking, consistent application of KPIs, direct deposit, scheduling, and integration with the latest instant pay tools. To see how it works for your business, book a demo today. 

Want a free checklist to help you retain great people at your restaurant? Download our free checklist now!

Free employee retention checklist

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September 2022


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