When you think about the worst job you’ve ever had, what was the atmosphere like? For many of you, it was probably an environment in which everyone was miserable, lazy, incapable, or some combination of the three.
Situations like that aren’t fun for anyone, whether you’re an entry-level employee, manager, or business owner. Businesses like that tend not to last, and this is especially true for restaurants.
So how do you keep employees positive and productive in your restaurant? There are many different ways and schools of thought. Here are a few of our favorites that we’ve found to be tried and true.
- Create games and contests to make your restaurant a fun place to work.
- Follow the rules. Remember, your employees are watching everything you do. They're not going to maintain a positive attitude if they feel like you're asking them to do things that you wouldn’t do yourself.
- Help them feel like they belong. Encourage friendships with company outings and bonding activities. One of the ways that many restaurants do a good job of creating these bonds is getting involved in local service projects that help them feel part of the community and part of something bigger than themselves.
- Let them know that what they’re doing matters. Everything you’re tasking them with fits into the bigger picture of customer experience and restaurant success.
- Relax. Not everything is urgent in your restaurant and your employees don't have to be running around like crazy. Sometimes employees want to sit and breathe for a few minutes after a rush of customers, and that’s okay. Let them relax, too.
- Remember, you're the person of authority in this restaurant and your employees will follow what you say. They're paying attention. So don't say things you don't mean, and follow through with things that you say. This fits right in with #2.
- Don’t keep score. Now, this is different from games and contests. Don't say, “Gee, I gave Jake the day off when he forgot to ask ahead of time. He owes me.” You don't do it with your kids. Don't do it with your employees. You can't keep score every time.
- Be transparent. Open and honest communication with your employees goes a long way. Treat them like adults and let them know what’s going on.
- Be a good listener. When your employees want to speak with you, stop what you're doing. Give them your attention. Repeat back and confirm what they said. If they want to engage with you, stop and make sure they know you're listening.
- Have good manners. “Please.” “Thank you.” “Yes, sir.” “No, sir.” You want to have happy, positive, productive employees. Use good manners. They'll do it for you, then that will be passed along to your customers.
- And finally, find out what they want and give it to them. Every employee has the job for one reason or another. Learn what those are and find a way to give it to them.
When you make a habit of doing all of these things every day, you’ll start seeing your employees be more positive and productive than ever before. It’s not easy--in fact, it’s a ton of work--but the returns are astronomical and your restaurant will thrive because of it.
Are you struggling with employee turnover? You're not alone! That's why we put together a FREE resource just for you, 6 Ways to Decrease Employee Turnover at Your Restaurant! Check it out!