How to Boost Morale and Retain Employees

As the hospitality industry continues its revival in 2021, it’s critical to streamline operations. Many restaurants are encountering a hurdle when trying to find and keep employees. Turnover rates are high industry-wide and it’s much easier to keep your current team happy than struggle with finding available talent.

The best way to improve employee retention at your restaurant is to keep morale high. When employees aren’t happy at work, they either quit or don’t perform at their best capacity. This directly affects guest engagement. However, when your team is fulfilled at work, they’ll create positive experiences for guests.

Even with everything going on, working to keep your staff engaged and fulfilled can be enjoyable for all. Here are a few ways restaurants can boost employee morale and why doing so is a win/win for both your team and your brand.

1. Host Team-Building Activities

Team building activities are a great way for your staff to get to know each other in a more casual environment. Designate times for your team members to be together outside of the normal confinements of their work tasks.

For example, wine tastings are a great option. Explore a local company or purveyor that your restaurant supports and have them hold a wine tasting event for the company. This is a great way to allow everyone to hang out in a casual way, enjoy some vino, and learn about a partner in the process.

Similarly, if your restaurant buys from a local bread company, ask if this company offers a lesson in the different breads they offer and the history behind their company. This gives your servers more knowledge when selling these items at their restaurant.

2. Acknowledge Employee Wins

It’s commonplace to address an employee when they do something wrong. It’s far less common to spotlight when they do something right. Public expressions of recognition can go a long way in keeping spirits up.

This can be something as small as thanking an employee for handling a specific situation or explicitly calling someone out for a positive encounter in a meeting. Larger options are also available, like implementing an “Employee of the Month” program.

It’s now common for restaurants to callout specific employees on social media, too. Crafting a post dedicated to someone is an explicit way to show the appreciation. This is a win/win as it helps humanize the brand to customers, too.

3. Provide Discounts/Freebies and Incentives

Offer your team discounts at your restaurant to allow them to better familiarize themselves with your menu. Feeding your staff and allowing them to try new items is an excellent perk. It also allows you to solicit feedback on how to better your offerings.

Another option that’s beneficial to both the employee and management is to provide relevant skills training. Set employees up for success from the beginning by equipping them with the skills they need to do their job well. This conveys you care about your team’s professional development and value their personal growth.

Furthermore, a well-trained employee is an excellent, long-term resource since they can help train others in the future. Connect regularly with standouts to discuss patterns and best practices they can relay to others. This can help boost confidence among new or lower-performing employees, too.

Keep Your Employees Happy

Positive employee morale leads to increased productivity and efficiency for your restaurant. Hosting team-building events, acknowledging employee wins, and providing enticing incentives are just a few of the ways you can keep team members happy and productive. Embrace these tips to keep employee morale high and encourage your team to provide exceptional service to your customers.

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