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10
 min read

Staff retention tips: 7 ways to keep your employees happy

There are many things you can do to satisfy your staff, keep them motivated, and keep them around, and we’re highlighting the 7 most effective ways to do so.

No venue manager or owner wants to see  a high turnover of staff. It means additional manpower — to look for, hire and train new staff — and therefore additional costs to the business. Plus, high turnover is often a reflection of company culture - and no owner wants to run a venue where staff morale is low. 


Management style, team culture and company perks all factor into the retention of staff. What can you do to ensure your employees are happy, want to stick around and actually enjoy their time as front-of-house or back-of-house staff?


There are many things you can do to satisfy your staff and keep them engaged, motivated and hanging around for as long as possible, but we’re highlighting the seven most effective ways to do so.


Be transparent and communicate


How many times have we heard communication is key? Well, for staff retention, it really does prove true. Honesty goes a long way and, paired with clear communication, shows your staff they can trust you which, by default, increases morale. 


Are you having a hard time because you’re low on staff? Are you struggling to meet sales? Do you need to be careful due to noise complaints? Being open, honest and transparent with your staff can go a long way and is more appreciated than you may realise. 


So next time, drop the excuses and tell them what’s really going on.


Show your appreciation


Appreciation is priceless. Showing your staff you appreciate them is underrated, yet can work wonders. It shows your employees they are seen, heard and not taken for granted. A simple thank you or an acknowledgement of their hard work will never go unnoticed; rather the reverse. If you never show appreciation, employees may resent the job  and lose motivation to work hard.


As a manager, showing your staff you are grateful will keep them engaged and enjoying working for you. Respect their breaks, their time off and their sick leave, because physical and mental wellness is critical.


Alternatively, you can show your appreciation via actions. Offer your employees complimentary lunch with a friend, or comp a few drinks at the bar on their night off. It shows gratitude and communicates to them that they are a valued part of the business.


Mr Yum venues can offer staff discount codes for % off or $ value discounts with our Boomerang system. This creates an automated, trackable way to show staff appreciation through your visual menu. Read more about the powerful uses of boomerang here and contact your Account Manager to get set up.  


Create a culture they want to be a part of


This is one of the most important factors of any workplace. By creating an environment and  culture that your staff enjoy, you’re inevitably enticing them to be a part of it for as long as they can. Company culture is really anything from the rapport with your employees and the treatment of them to hiring decisions, benefits and out-of-hours activities. 


A strong company culture is often a big factor of a company or venue’s success, but it incorporates many things, so where should you start?

Define values

Defining the values that you want your business to be known for — and therefore reflected in your staff — is a great way to begin shaping the culture you want to represent. Whether a corporate or hospitality business, your company and employees can benefit greatly from well-defined values — and these values can be anything from “get shit done” to “everyone is well-intentioned” or “diversity and inclusion”.


One way to create your business values is to think about your ideal employee: what do they like? How do they behave? What are their characteristics? Define those and you’ll be well on your way to creating solid company values.


Tip: Chances are you’ve already hired some staff before you focus on defining your venue or business values. Ask them what they think. What do they value? What don’t they value? And after you’ve come up with your core values, run it by them and see if it accurately reflects the establishment and the people that work there. After all, they’d know best.

Hire people that reflect those values

Sure, defining your values is all well and good, but acting upon them is what really matters - and leading by example is key. One of the most critical ways to do this is to hire employees that embody these values or reflect what your business is about. 


If one of your values is “diversity and inclusion,” does your staff accurately reflect that? Take a look around the room. Are your staff diverse? Are they mixed gendered and from all different walks of life? If you’re trying to push your values onto your employees, you need to ensure you reflect them as well. This way, you can be sure it’ll underpin the actions, behaviour, purpose and meaning of your employees.

Focus on team activities and bonding

Hospitality is almost entirely built on relationships: relationships with customers, relationships with suppliers and of course relationships with your employees, managers and fellow co-workers. 


Once you have hired the employees you believe reflect your values, it’s important everyone builds a rapport, which will further strengthen the culture. Monthly staff events — such as a team lunch or dinner, or activities such as bowling — is a great way for your staff to bond. Furthermore, post-work drinks with your staff after a busy shift (perhaps a Friday or Saturday) not only allows for bonding, but also shows your gratitude and appreciation for their hard work.


In short, if they’re having a good time and enjoy the people they work with, you can bet they’ll want to hang around. Using Mr Yum’s Tab feature while dining at a Mr Yum venue is an easy way to take care of the bill at a team outing. If you’ve hired a few lanes at Strike bowling for instance, your employees simply scan the QR from your phone to begin purchases through your tab, which you settle at the end of the event. You also have full control and visibility of all orders via the Manage Your Tab button.

Seek and action feedback

Sure, you might think you’re doing everything right, but is that what your employees think? Do they think: you’re working them too hard? Their tips aren’t fair? There’s someone toxic in the employee group that is affecting others? That some processes could be streamlined? There are a million things that could be going on that you aren’t expected to know - so you have to ask and you have to listen.


Having regular one-on-one’s with each employee is effective in finding out anything that might be hindering their work efficiency or overall happiness. Ask them questions, hear them out, and provide a platform for them to tell you how they feel. Not only will they feel heard and valued, they could also help you become a more effective hospitality owner or manager. Because they are on the floor (or back-of-house) day in, day out, they are closer to your employees, your processes and the values you want your staff to embody. Their feedback is invaluable.

Be trusting

If you show your employees you trust them, they’ll instinctively respect you more and want to work harder for you. This is true in all businesses, but in hospitality it is easier to show them that you trust them.


How? By giving them control and responsibility over small things. Trust them to cash up at the end of the night, offer them the opportunity to create music playlists for the venue or for different nights of the week, or take a break and leave them in charge. Providing staff members  with small responsibilities shows you respect them as workers, value their abilities and trust them to get it right.


Show them they’re valued

Many managers believe showing appreciation instinctively means you are telling your employees that you value them. However, there are many ways to show your staff they are valued. 


Of course, there are things you can do. Things like complimentary staff lunches or meals will show you value their time and their hard work; but in this case, words can speak louder than actions. Hospitality work is mentally and physically tiring. Telling them how much you appreciate them and value their time, hard work and effort is something that might take you one minute to do, but will be appreciated by your employees. 


Furthermore, asking your employees their opinions and advice on things like processes or managerial responsibilities, shows you value their work ability, which can go a long way. 


Invest in their training

Providing your novice staff with the appropriate training will give them the ability to handle new situations  and help them to be more productive at work. Giving staff a chance to learn and to grow will show that you trust their abilities and are willing to spend your time and money on making them the best they can be. Plus, if they feel they are doing a good job, they’ll enjoy work more. 


Training can mean anything from opening a bottle of wine and carrying three plates at a time, to efficiently using the POS system and cashing up at the end of the day or the week.


Implementing Mr Yum in your venue frees staff up from the more administrative service tasks, such as order taking and organising payment at the end of a meal. This allows experienced staff to focus on what they do best - provide great hospitality experiences to guests - which results in greater job satisfaction, and thus higher retention. It also allows new staff to hit the ground running on their first day on the job, allowing you to train them up to quickly become a valued member of the team.


Tip: Being supportive and understanding when mistakes are made is just as important as commending them when they nail it.

As you can see, there are many factors that affect the happiness of your employees and therefore the retention of your staff. Start with these seven tips to keep your staff happy and you’ll be well on your way to decreasing turnover and building a happy company culture that your employees are proud to be a part of.