As of 2022, according to IBIS World, the fast-food industry employs around 5,058,748 American workers. But, in the face of the “Great Resignation,” for an industry whose pre-pandemic turnover rate was already over 100% reducing QSR turnover becomes critical. In November of last year, the National Restaurant Association reported that 78% of restaurant operators feel that they don’t have enough employees to meet customer demand. With so much upheaval in the industry, we’re weighing in today with some helpful strategies to retain the valuable staff you already have.
What is Employee Turnover?
Employee turnover is generally recognized as the loss of talent in the workforce over a given time period. Turnover can be counted by month, quarter, or year and your numbers should include resignations, layoffs, terminations, retirements, location transfers, or any employee departure in which the lost talent must be replaced. To learn more about the difference between turnover and attrition, see the related article below.
Your retention strategy should begin before an applicant even applies. With a strong strategy in place, you can begin to reduce your turnover rate as early as the awareness, consideration, and interest stages of the recruitment funnel.
If you are noticing that your turnover rate is highest among new hires, it’s time to go back to the beginning and re-evaluate your job descriptions. A high turnover rate among your newest staff members may indicate that the position doesn’t match the candidate’s initial expectations. Make
The quality of the candidates that enter your recruitment funnel will ultimately determine the quality of the talent you hire. Particularly in the QSR sector, hiring the best talent often comes down to speed. Can you reach the best candidates faster than your competitors can? With automation, the answer is yes. Automation can be used to streamline employer branding, job posting, candidate nurturing, text recruiting, interview scheduling, and more to help you snag top talent quickly and efficiently.
Leverage the Power of Referrals
Don’t overlook the recruiting power of your existing employees. Studies show that employee voice is 3x more credible than corporate messaging when it comes to recruiting. Plus, data from Undercover Recruiter suggests that referral hires have greater job satisfaction and a longer employment span with 46% staying over 1 year, 45% over 2 years, and 47% over 3 years. At Work4 we have a tool that allows recruiters to automatically share your company’s jobs on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn allowing you to leverage your workforce while keeping your messaging consistent across the board for your recruiters and your team.
During the Hiring Process
A strong retention strategy should include every aspect of the hiring process from the very first interview all the way through to making an offer to a candidate.
Interview and Educate
During initial interviews, employers need to make sure they are educating prospective hires about any aspects of the job that may be perceived as arduous. Prospects should see what the workload looks like, and just how busy high volume times get. This is also the time when recruiters should share their employee value proposition and what rewards or benefits employees receive beyond compensation as well as any other factors that separate your organization from your competitors.
Prompt and consistent follow-up is one of the best ways to stand out from your competitors as the top choice. 70% percent of job seekers say they lose interest in a job if they don’t hear back from the employer within a week of the initial interview. Making sure you have a consistent candidate follow-up strategy in place can make a huge difference in your ability to claim top talent. If you want to dig deeper into how to improve candidate follow-up in your organization check out this related article.
Coming in, new hires often have less investment in your organization, making it easier for them to jump ship. To retain them, invest in an onboarding strategy that encourages them to make connections as quickly as possible.
Use the Buddy System
Partner each new hire with one of your star players for their first week on the job. It will not only help new crew members to adjust quicker, but it will also get them started right by learning best practices directly from your best performers ensuring that they feel confident in their ability to do their job.
Step Up Your Training
Training and onboarding are two faces of the same coin, and they go hand in hand. If your goal is to seamlessly integrate new employees into your stores, they need to be equipped with the tools and knowledge to succeed in the role. Employees who feel they’ve been equipped with proper training feel less frustration in completing expected tasks. This also makes them feel more capable of handling the type of difficult situations that may otherwise cause someone to decide they aren’t cable of doing the role.
Now that the employee is onboarded, it is important to work towards keeping them on the team. Factors that can lead to employee departure include burnout, feeling undervalued, and not seeing advancement possibilities. The first key to retention is removing these factors.
Many QSRs these days are operating with less staff, which means employees are working more hours than ever before, resulting in unprecedented numbers of burnout and fatigue. Monitor your team member’s workloads and take a proactive approach. If it looks like a team member is facing burnout help them feel supported by advocating for a solution. Don’t wait until the exit interview to discover how workload stress is impacting morale and job satisfaction.
Make Communication Easy
Communicate with your team frequently and make sure that your management teams are easy to communicate with. Having solid communication across your team is vital to a happy and healthy workplace. The more communication you have, the better you can understand what factors lead employees to stay and what factors make them leave. Communication is key to helping you provide what your staff needs to stay at your restaurant and reduce your turnover.
Conduct “Stay” Interviews
While we’re on the subject of communication, let’s talk about the “stay” interview. A close relation to the exit interview, but with the opposite goal. Exit interviews provide insights into why employees are leaving. Stay interviews can provide insights on how you can get an employee to stay. Keep your interview informal and conversational and take the time to learn what each employee is happy with as well as what thinking could be improved to make them happier.
Make the Long-Term Possible
Having no career development path is one of the main reasons employees decide to quit their jobs. Present employees with a defined development plan and clear growth indicators. Make sure you can help pave the way for your team member to learn and grow within your organization so they don’t feel the need to leave in order to advance.
When deciding how to proceed during The Great Resignation, making the most of your existing employees is paramount to success. At the end of the day, the best thing operators can do to retain valuable staff is to make them feel appreciated and supported. Understanding their perspective, and connecting with their needs is an important first step.
Last November, the National Restaurant Association reported that 75% of operators listed recruitment as their top challenge. Here at Work4, we’ve helped organizations around the globe to create efficient volume hiring processes to hire and retain top talent. From employer branding to automated SMS messaging, social job advertising, and quality lead sourcing at scale, we have a product that’s right for your QSR company. Contact the experts at Work4 to develop a custom solution for your restaurant today!