Hiring Employees Part 2: How To Reduce Staff Turnover

Blog > Coffee Shop & Restaurant Operations > Staff Management

With an estimated 74% annual turnover rate in the foodservice industry, it can sometimes feel like you're constantly hiring and training new employees. But you can reduce staff turnover with a few proactive measures:

Thank yous go a long way. This one should be obvious, but it's good to remember that people would rather be a bit stressed and appreciated, than unstressed and taken for granted. Your staff will step up when the going gets tough if they are acknowledged for their efforts. They’ll also be less likely to look for another job. Thank them in person, with handwritten cards, or with an employee-of-the month program. And be consistent.

Consider awarding bonuses. It doesn’t have to be written into your company policies, but give star employees some extra love if they go way out of their way for a customer, or consistently set a great example. Maybe in the form of a few hours of paid time off, or a gift certificate to a favorite local retailer that suits. To help cover the cost of bonuses, you could trade goods or services with another local store, and bonus your employees with the trade.

Stave off boredom. If your employees aren’t learning, they'll disengage from helping you run your business. Talk with them individually and help them set goals that motivate them. Maybe they want to improve their latte art, remember customers’ names, learn to manage inventory, train new-hires, or be put in charge of displays or décor, like artwork, outdoor spaces, etc.

Build continuing education into your schedule. Many employees will need refreshers on basic skills, and they all need opportunities to develop new ones. Even better, cross training widens your talent pool so more folks can fill in when someone is sick or on vacation. Cross training also leads to greater appreciation and cooperation among coworkers, since they’ll be learning first hand just how important each role is to the whole operation.

Give them context. Employees appreciate knowing what they're working for (beyond a paycheck). Share your business goals and your core mission, and make sure they have corresponding individual goals. It will increase their performance, and make them more vested in your operation.

Encourage friendships. According to a Gallup pole, people are more likely to stay at a job if they have friends who work there. Arranging staff appreciation and bonding events (throw pizza parties, organize a softball or kickball team, etc.) will foster closer relationships among staff, and give you yet another opportunity to make them feel appreciated.

Create traditions, and celebrate. Have a costume party on Halloween. Run a food-collection drive during the holidays. Pick a charity to volunteer at or give proceeds to each quarter. All of these things bring your staff together, and expand the context of their relationships with each other, and you.

If you implement at least some of these retention tips, you won’t see as many well-trained, star employees come and go. Just as importantly, you won’t spend as much time and money interviewing and training new employees. And at the same time, you’ll give more consistent customer service from day to day.


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Related posts:

Hiring Employees Part 1: Do It Right So You Can Do It Less 

Tips for building your staff