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3663 on staffing and retention

22 May 2009 by
3663 on staffing and retention

"Retaining staff can be challenging for employers in the hospitality industry," says Lindsay Winser, communications controller at 3663 First for Foodservice.

"Students and transient staff make up a large proportion of the employees in restaurants, bars and hotels around the country and when they move on, outlets are often left with a gap to fill.

"However, there are many highly talented, keen individuals who are dedicated, committed and willing to learn - those who will work hard and, most of all, share the passion to make your business succeed.

"It is these individuals who need to be nurtured, educated and rewarded. Creating job satisfaction and driving belonging and loyalty among staff is key to retention - staff need to feel part of the team and know that their opinions will count.

"It is also important that staff feel like they are contributing towards the business; if there is real enthusiasm and your staff feel strongly about the job they are doing, they are more likely to do it well, and want to remain with the business."

Different factors affect how employees feel at work but by creating the right atmosphere, you can empower staff, making them more likely to stay. Winser outlines how:

Ensure staff opinion counts
Empowering staff and making them feel instrumental to your business is important for morale. Think about holding regular meetings, where staff can feed back ideas, and areas for improvement to the management.

Group tastings of proposed new menu items will also involve staff and give management the opportunity to hear some honest feedback.

Encourage team spirit
The way individuals interact with their colleagues is particularly key in the hospitality industry where antisocial hours and close-knit teams make it important for staff to feel like a community or family.

Team spirit can be encouraged by planning social activities out of work, or giving group incentives - trips to the theatre, cinema or a local restaurant - for consistent teamwork.

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can also be used to create a sense of belonging among staff out of hours.

Create scope for growth
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, one of the main reasons for staff leaving a company is a lack of training or opportunity for development.

Look at implementing a programme of training either on the job - through job swaps, job sharing or shadowing - or externally by funding NVQs, college courses or bringing in a trainer to educate staff on food and wine matching or up-selling.

Create a sense of wellbeing With long and sometimes unsocial hours, working in the hospitality industry can be both physically and mentally demanding so it's essential to maintain a work-life balance to keep staff upbeat and dedicated.

Creating this wellbeing could mean anything from rotating staff members off one Saturday per month, to showing an interest in their families by sending anniversary cards, or letting parents have the day off on their child's birthday.

Give staff a fair deal
This should be about much more than simply paying a fair hourly rate. Look at perks that will make staff want to stay with your business, taking into account formal and more spontaneous reward and recognition as well as incentives related to business growth or length of service.

Long service could be rewarded with an extra day's leave or a case of wine, while spontaneous reward and recognition could be anything from a high-street voucher to a day out. Make sure incentives are not just financial - they could be discounts to local attractions, special offers at local businesses or reduced gym membership.

Just remember, it's important to identify to your staff what success looks like so they have a goal to work towards.

Give strong leadership
It's vital that staff have faith in the owner or management. For example, in a small business, staff may want to see the direction the business is being taken in, and to believe in their manager to get it there ahead of the competition.

Staff need to understand the values of the leadership to be sure it is aligned to their own goals. For example, if their boss passionately believes in scratch cooking, skilled staff will feel safe from the threat of deskilling.

Allow scope to give something back
Altruistic feelings can make a real difference to how an employee feels about their job. Try discussing with staff how they feel; they could make a difference to the local community by giving something back. This could be as simple as donating leftover short life food to a local homeless charity or helping out at the local school.

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