How to attract, recruit and retain great staff
And it’s not just about pay and hours…
You and I both know the quality of your team have a direct impact on your customers’ experience. But there’s also no getting away from the fact that many businesses are struggling with attracting and/or retaining good quality people.
This was certainly a common theme in the seminars at last week’s Restaurant Show. I can’t say I get very excited about heavy duty kitchen equipment or the latest design in tableware. But I always make a B line for the seminars as I love to listen and learn from others.
Here are some of my takeaways from the seminars, plus a few of my own.
And it’s not just about pay and hours…
1. Bolting the Stable Door
Identify the real cause of people leaving. Sit down with leavers to find out as much as possible about their motives for leaving.
Prevention is better than cure. Although it might be too late to change the mind of this employee, it might allow you time to address any problems to prevent the same thing happening again and again.
They say that people don’t quit jobs they quit bosses, so if this is the case the interview is best conducted by someone other than the employee’s line manager; it is unlikely that you’re going to learn the truth if the line manager is asking the question.
Look for the tell-tale signs that could lead to future employee turnover: lack of job satisfaction, poor team dynamics, inflexibility to meet personal needs (e.g. flexibility on working hours), cultural mismatch.
Ask for regular feedback from your team (see www.naturallyloyal.com/em).
2. The Grass is Greener
Keep your talent in-house. Promote from within wherever possible. A perceived lack of career progression or obvious career path can be a key contributor to staff turnover.
Look for internal opportunities – either in your own establishment, or if you’re part of a group in other sites.
Always let your existing team members know when a position is available. Even if this is not a step up, it may present a new challenge to keep someone motivated. If internal candidates do not get the job ensure you give feedback to help with their development and to encourage them to apply for future positions.
Put processes in place to identify potential, develop people and encourage internal promotion, such as regular1:1’s to talk about aspirations, strengths and opportunities.
Support people’s development to minimise the risk of them leaving to take on more senior roles for which they may not yet be ready and may be out of their depth.
3. Build your Network
Develop relationships with recruitment officers from local colleges and universities, get involved with schools to help raise the profile of the industry, network with other local businesses.
Allow your existing team to participate in professional associations and training where they’re likely to be in contact with potential candidates.
People know people like themselves, so ask your team to help in your recruitment efforts.
When there are so many retail businesses closing, what can you do to attract the ‘fall out’ from these businesses?
4. Become an employer of choice
Create a culture where the best employees will want to work, and build a reputation as a good employer so you attract the best people.
A prerequisite is looking after your existing staff; they are far more likely to recommend you to others and spread the word that it’s a great place to work.
Monitor the reputation of your business; listen to what your staff say, especially those who leave. It’s not just about pay and hours. People won’t want to work for you if they don’t see any development opportunities, if their contribution isn’t recognised or if they’ve no sense of purpose.
Keep an eye on sites such as Glassdoor, pick up any clues or comments that could impact on how you’re perceived in the job market, and what steps you might need to take to make any changes. Comments from disgruntled employees will do you no favours whether their gripes are valid or not.
Shout about what’s good about working there. What’s the culture? What development opportunities? How do others feel about working there? What are your values?
5. First Impressions Count
Your recruitment and onboarding process needs to be professional, fair and welcoming for applicants; it’s as much about them finding out about you, and if they think they’d be happy working there.
Use communication channels and language to suit your audience, e.g. using text rather than email.
Involve your team in the recruitment process so you can create a buzz about what it’s like to work there. This demonstrates your belief in them and strengthens their commitment to helping the new employee succeed.
If you’ve more than one vacancy to fill consider recruitment days.
Engage and involve new starters as early as possible, to avoid second thoughts before their first day. Let them know you’re looking forward to them starting and what is mapped out for their first day.
Ensure a well-planned induction programme so they aren’t left wondering what’s expected of them. There was a lot of talk about gamification in the seminars, but at the very least, add some fun to help starters relax and build confidence. See Induction Guide here
Help them to make a meaningful contribution early on, so they have a sense of achievement. Set a mini project for them or allocate a small area of responsibility.
How well you demonstrate you care for them from day one will influence how much they care about you, your business and your customers!
If you only do one thing – on the basis that prevention is better than cure, spend some time this week with each of your team and discuss their aspirations and development needs, so they recognise they have a future with you.
p.s. If you’d like a head start designing your induction programme I’ve done the hard work for you with my Guide to On-boarding available here