izikmd | Adobe Stock

izikmd | Adobe Stock

By Lindsay Danis

EXCERPT: How Culture Affects Turnover and What You Can Do About It

Your efforts to earn staff loyalty and build teamwork not only improve morale in the short term, they can reduce turnover and help you attract and keep skilled employees over the long haul.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics November 2021 “Employment Situation Summary” released in January of this year, confirms a dismal statistic of which you are more than likely aware: employees are walking away from foodservice and hospitality jobs in record numbers. In 2021, the quit rate in these industries jumped from 4.8% to 6.9%. The over-2% increase was the largest in any industry.

To stem turnover, independent operators have tried hiring bonuses, referral bonuses, wage increases, and other financial incentives. These most certainly help; however, money alone is not going to solve your staffing problems.

In this market, if your team is not happy, they can likely find another employer who will match or exceed your wages. The so-called “Great Resignation” is not only about workers seeking livable wages. It is also about workers seeking quality of life.

Culture, teamwork and morale are “so intertwined together, when there is poor morale, you get very little done and the work you get done is substandard,” says restaurant consultant Mark Moeller, owner of The Recipe of Success. Employee disinterest reverberates through the restaurant in different ways.

If you don’t turn it around, it not only creates turnover, but poor performance among employees who stay. Employees who are unmotivated aren’t working with the usual level of attention to detail. In a business that is won and lost in terms of pennies each day, this can be a disaster leading to waste, improper recipe adherence, and elevated food costs.

Food that is sloppily made creates “a poor guest experience which leads to complaints which leads to lower top-line revenue,” Moeller says.

When employees feel valued and part of a team, they have higher motivation, more cohesion, and a (more) positive attitude at work. While a higher wage is sometimes the right solution to cultivate value (for tips on how to tell when to offer more, keep reading), Moeller says there’s more to the equation than cash.

Employees are “looking for employers who generally care about them, care about the work and the input they provide,” he says, adding “they know the higher-ups are seeing them as a person and not a number.”