How to Retain Your Key Staff During this Crisis, and Reduce Turnover

Turnover in retail and the hospitality industry is also on the rise, especially during this challenging time of uncertainty and closures.  Keeping key staff, whether your business is open or not is a challenge for many small business owners.  We also know that the cost of re-training and impact of turnover is hard on the bottom line. 

It is critical for you to adapt and adjust and create a connection and bond with your employees through open and transparent communication.  Keep great staff connected to you and your brand by reaching out and connecting often. 

You must create the right strategy now to reduce employee exit rates, which will significantly increase your profits, and help your business survive (and thrive) throughout and after this pandemic.

Implementing the following can save you time and money, while creating a great place to work, with happy employees, and ultimately create lifelong, loyal customers.

Increase Employee Pay

One of the top five reasons employees leave their job is for a better paying position somewhere else.  Stay competitive and keep the best talent by offering competitive wages.  Even more, paying them a bit more during this crisis, can show employees that you value them and respect their efforts during this more challenging time.  Reward your excellent employees with a raise.  Check in with them often and ensure their pay and hours meet their needs, as well as your current business needs.  Even small amounts can increase your retention rates.

Start an Employee Loyalty Program

Everyone likes to be recognized for hard work.  Therefore, one great way is to show your genuine appreciation to recognize and reward your employees.  You will decrease your turnover rate by offering a positive work environment.  Creating a loyalty program can also help build a great work environment.  Something like ‘An Employee of the Month’ program is a great way to incentivize your employees.  Consider involving them in the decision-making process.   Collaborate on what will be the goals of this new program, and plan together as a team, the incentives.

Train and Cross Train

Now more than ever is a time to value your employees and teach them the right skills across your business.  Having one person that can multi-task and fill roles will save you time and wages, now and in the future.  As a small business owner you cannot do everything, so find someone you trust and ensure to provide them with the right hands-on training in the key roles you need them.  Providing good training shows your employees you care about them.  Your employees will work harder for you if they feel important.  You will also have a more efficient work force when they are cross trained.  Training helps them feel valued while knowing that you trust them to do a multitude of tasks.  When you teach new skills and bolster old ones, you’ll boost your restaurant employees’ confidence, making them feel more invested in their jobs and less likely to leave.

Be a Compassionate Leader

Everyone is suffering during this pandemic in their own way.  Anxiety, uncertainty, stress, etc…. are filling not only business owners, but employees’ minds.  By providing a safe place for them to vent frustrations, combined with an open-door policy for support and leadership can mean the world to your team and build a strong bond for years to come.  Having compassion as your team navigates this crisis, will ensure they are safe and have the right support.  Meet your team and each individual where they are at and offer professional services for support when and if possible.  

Create the Best Place to Work

Periodically survey your staff anonymously to get a pulse-check on company culture.  Allowing them to answer some key questions and listening to them can unlock a great connection between leadership and hourly workers.  Listen to and communicate with your staff for increased employee retention.  Take the time each week to ask questions and show you value your staff not just inside work, but their passions outside of work too.  Take their input and make small changes.  Implement some of their suggestions, and they’ll have more “ownership” in your business and be less likely to leave.

Conduct Exit Interviews

Unfortunately, some of your employees will leave and during this crisis may not return. It is very important to find out why.  Having exit interview when team members leave your business can be the key to implementing changes to decrease turnover.  Ask for feedback and genuinely listen.  Ensure you create a safe space and re-iterate you really want honest feedback to improve.  Most employees at this point will be more open to share what went wrong or the real reason why they are leaving.  You may uncover some changes you need to make to retain your other staff and or have them return.

Navigating through this new economy and landscape for any retail or hospitality business is very challenging.  Those businesses that can create a great environment for customers and for their team will be the most likely to not only just survive but thrive this pandemic.  Reducing turnover can save you thousands of dollars in training and retention.  Why not start now and hire only the best, train them well, treat them like gold, so that your business will hit the ground running when the COVID-19 crisis is over!

In an effort to help out our industry friends, clients and valued colleagues we are offering our highly regarded consulting services and expertise at a significantly discounted rate to help operators get through these challenging times.  We are also providing the industry with complimentary advice, so contact us today to schedule a time to speak.  Our team will listen to your challenges, whether it is dealing with the current crisis or planning to improve operations during this forced downtime.  We can work to create a plan for remote consulting to give you the extra support you need to take your business to the next level or to ride out this crisis and plan to Re-open with excellence!

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