It’s no secret; keeping restaurant employees is not an easy thing to do. For most of your workers it is a transient position. Even your best employees look at restaurant work as a temporary position; something to bring in a little income while they are preparing for a “real job.” It is a business that is staffed by young people working their way through high school and college, and for the most part there is very little loyalty. Some of your employees will be willing to quit for no more reason that that they have a friend working for one of your competitors down the street.
At the same time, you have to realize that your employees can make or break your business from a customer service aspect. They are the front line of making sure your customers are well taken care of, and that they remain happy customers. An employee with a bad attitude can absolutely destroy the customers experience at your restaurant.
When you couple those two things together you can see how important it is to devote some time and effort into keeping your employees happy in their jobs. That is not something that can be accomplished with a single event, but at the same time, a single incident can destroy an employees attitude.
In his “Seven Habits” series of books, Stephen Covey writes about the “emotional bank account.” The concept is that you build up good will by making deposits in this account. When something negative happens you have built up enough good will that your relationship is not destroyed. Deposits are made by doing good things for the person. It happens by taking the time to thank them, to encourage them, and to let them know that they are appreciated.
It is a series of things, both large and small, that will shape your employees attitudes. For instance, last week a snow storm blanketed the Midwest and parts of the east coast forcing many businesses to close early on Friday and Saturday nights. If you were in that situation, did you pay your employees for the hours they were scheduled to work?
While not paying will probably not be something that will cause your employees to walk out on you, seeing a small paycheck will affect their attitude. It is another small withdrawal from the emotional account. On the other hand, paying them for the time they missed will make a deposit in the account by sending the message that you are willing to step up and take care of them.
It doesn’t have to be a large gesture. It doesn’t even have to be something that costs your business money. It is a series of things that over time send an ongoing message to your employees that you value their contribution to your restaurant, and that you appreciate the contributions they have made to your restaurants success.