50 Ways Restaurants Engage Their Employees

Posted by Administrator on Jul 13, 2018

50 Ways Restaurants Engage Their Employees

Restaurants often have a wide mix of employees, from managers to bus boys (and bus girls), from full-time salaried employees to part-time hourly staff who may work a regular 20 hours a week or a minimum of one weekend a month.  It’s a challenge to keep the creative executive chef in the back and the outgoing host staff in the front and everyone in between feeling like they are all part of the same team.  That’s why I’ve compiled a list of tips from a variety of HR professionals in the field on how you can successfully engage your employees.  Every role is important, and your staff need to feel appreciated and like they belong.  Whether you have your own HR Department or rely on a third party HR consultant, your restaurant can effectively manage your people with some or all of these 50 tips and ideas:

1. Well written and executed HR policies that follow the brand culture and mission statement
2. Referral program to motivate existing staff to help recruit new staff
3. Staff recruitment strategies that are welcoming for prospects and new hires
4. Establish a “first 30” program to identify ways to make a new hire feel important in the first 30 seconds, the first 30 minutes, the first 30 days, and the first 30 shifts
5. Formal and in-depth training programs
6. Formalized career paths
7. Honest and transparent status of job growth and promotions opportunities
8. Staff who are coaches or mentors to their co-workers who can foster growth
9. Ongoing and new training for staff trainers
10. Engaging managers who in turn will engage their employees
11. Clear organizational charts so every employee knows who their direct supervisor is (i.e., too many bosses makes it confusing for everyone)
12. Implement annual certifications that require additional training before being earned
13. Regular safety training
14. Recognize accident-free staff members in a positive and ‘public’ manner in front of their peers
15. Develop a points system for staff rewards (e.g., staff can accrue points for gift card sales, dessert up sells, or number of hours of training in order to earn prizes or perks)
16. Regular employee surveys
17. Employee feedback forums or programs
18. Reward employees who make suggestions that are implemented (e.g., cost-savings, menu changes, sustainability practices)
19. Open door policy to encourage communication and freedom of voicing opinions and concerns (and ACT on any concerns brought to your attention)
20. Social media policy that promotes positive participation and engagement on social networks
21. Social media groups or pages set up for employee interaction (e.g., a closed Facebook group)
22. Intranet or forum to post company news, welcome new hires, and congratulate staff on milestone anniversaries or awards, which will help bridge any communication gaps among all levels and departments
23. Employee retreats, workshops, and team-building exercises
24. Quality circle meetings with staff
25. Regular one-on-one meetings between staff and supervisor to address personal goals both in and outside of work
26. Open and frequent communication, regular manager-to-staff interaction, and stay interviews
27. Arrange job shadowing between departments to help everyone understand their co-workers’ roles and responsibilities (and in turn how they fit into the big picture)
28. Encourage managers/supervisors to perform all tasks in their department occasionally in order to be a team player, assist staff as needed, and earn respect of subordinates
29. Reward staff who are recognized in guest feedback, including in online spaces (it’s nice to copy the staff in a reply, so the guest knows their feedback was heard and shared)
30. Offer fun employee contests, either random or pre-planned (e.g., top seller of the day)
31. Turn menu training into an ongoing interactive trivia game with small rewards for correct answers
32. Hold an employee and family day on-site
33. Host an employee picnic or party off-site
34. Offer employees a discount and reach out to neighboring stores to designate a co-promotional discount program for employees
35. Find creative (even if random) perks to offer (e.g., employee parking spots, free bag of coffee to take home after your 50th shift, monthly t-shirt days, etc.)
36. Give meaningful and individualized staff anniversary gifts based on tenure (e.g., 5 year gift, 10 year gift, etc.)
37. Offer the opportunity to earn a sabbatical after a set number of years, allowing a long-term staff to take a one-time extended vacation within a certain time frame
38. Promote the brand’s social responsibility to the employees and encourage participation in volunteer or fundraising activities
39. Encourage staff to bond together to volunteer on a community project or participate in a fundraising activity
40. Offer staff a couple days off each year to do charity work of their choosing
41. Celebrate your anniversary date by driving employee engagement (e.g., 15 employee projects for the 15th anniversary year)
42. Allow staff to vote on the music station one day out of the week
43. Keep the employee break room clean and comfortable
44. Provide secure lockers or cabinets for personal belongings of staff
45. Post the employee schedule promptly and be as flexible as possible with requests and shift changes
46. Implement a voluntary wellness, smoking cessation, or fitness program
47. Encourage staff to attend free or local trainings, support staff who are in school, or offer tuition reimbursement where applicable
48. Empower supervisors to instantly reward staff who do a great job, handle a customer concern effectively, or master a task or new technique
49. Include retention and succession planning in your HR policies
50. Treat employees with dignity and respect while showing them that you care about them as people, not just revenue-makers

It really boils down to that last point. If you genuinely care about your staff, get to know them on a somewhat personal (but not-too-personal) level, help them achieve their goals both professional and otherwise, and create a happy environment for them to report to each day, you’ll be well on your way to engaging your employees who will want to, in return, help you find success for a long time to come!

Some of these great ideas were borrowed from these HR professionals:

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