Restaurant Labor Management: Analyzing Turnover

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

When an employee decides to leave on their own merit or they’re intentionally removed from the picture, there’s a routine amount of angst and a collective sigh from an operational standpoint that comes with it. Turnover is a hard-hitting deal for employers – particularly restaurants. It’s disruptive, frustrating, time-consuming and most notably, it’s enormously costly. In “Understanding the True Costs of Employee Turnover,” written by Rick Amero, the total price tag on replacing a hospitality industry manager falls around $35,000 while replacing a non-manager will run you roughly $5,000. This covers the re-hiring, re-training, administrative and scheduling that it takes to fill a vacancy. Talk about a nuisance. Wouldn’t it be much simpler to hire the right fit so you don’t have to worry about the headaches that parallel employee turnover? Easier said than done, I know. In our last blog post, we discussed effective strategies in hiring for the long run and the dynamics behind hiring for the right fit. All useful information, but meaningless if you can’t pinpoint why people are leaving in the first place. If it looks as though more people are leaving than staying, unfortunately, you might be the issue.

Before you can begin to think about re-hiring it’s essential to turn inwards and analyze the turnover within your own operation. Let’s start from the beginning. When you initially brought your team members on board, what expectation of each position did you create? From the get-go it’s up to you to set the tone for what each position entails, what the boundaries are within each position, and lastly, create the passion and excitement within each position. Ask yourself: Why are my people working for me, what are they here for? It is your duty from day one to present positions with the same fervor in which you want them worked; if you don’t have passion, how can you expect your representatives to either? You are the role model who sets the standard before anyone is even hired. Can you say, without fail, that each and every day you take it upon yourself to lead by example? I cannot stress the importance of this concept enough. You simply cannot expect someone to put in 110% when you are only willing to give half that amount. See a trend here? Fundamentally, it’s human nature to follow and there are only a handful of people who truly want to lead. The ball is in your court to be the leader for whom your people want to follow.

How clear have you made the vision of the restaurant as a whole? Are your team members in tune to the long term goals of the restaurant? Hiring people who believe in your vision is a necessity for longevity, and having an understanding of the business is vital as it sets the stage for the future. If you promote a work life balance and intend to get your team fully engaged, then you need to live that credence. More to that point, work should be enjoyable. It’s far too often you hear people complain about work or talk about their hatred for their job; why go to work when you feel like that? The answer is clearly for the paycheck. All the more reason why hiring should not be “all about the bottom line.” Giving back to your team and showing that you recognize and appreciate their hard work will come back ten-fold. Your team will feel just that: like a team, rather than an employee who goes through the motions to make it through the day. Training and proper tools are colossal pieces of giving to your team. Each person needs to know you have their back, they need to feel confident in the direction you’ve given them, and they need to be well equipped to perform their work properly. Finally, and I’m sure you were wondering when I was going to mention it, let’s wrap this up through compensation; it’s quite simple: “you get what you pay for.”