4 Ways to Keep Employees Long Term

Employee longevity is important. It makes it possible to focus less energy on training and more energy on working. It increases productivity. It improves customer experience by providing a “where everybody knows your name” atmosphere. The list goes on and on, but the reasons why aren’t as important as the ways to.

4 ways to keep your employees around:

-Provide Good Communication

Communication is important as it creates better motivation, engagement, morale, efficiency and productivity; which coincidently promotes happiness. Try to stay engaged with your employees by providing more often training sessions, memos, newsletters and meetings.

Remember that communication is a two way street and to truly communicate one must listen. Its surprising to discover that sometimes the only thing keeping someone from being happy is the ability to be heard. During meetings encourage feedback. When people engage and interact they become more committed long term.

Provide Incentive 

It takes more than a steady paycheck to keep employees. They need additional incentive. One way to improve incentive is by providing bonuses. If an employee sells one of everything on the menu that night, $100 bonus. If they go a week without a comped order $100. its important to make bonuses obtainable, yet sustainable. As an owner you need to protect yourself too.

In addition to providing bonuses, consider making healthcare an option for full-time employees who have been with you for more than one year. Knowing that healthcare is on the horizon may be the additional incentive some need to stick around. I for one, am disgusted at how few restaurants make health insurance an options for their employees. If you want professionals working for you, you need to first treat them as professionals.

“Restaurants have to start behaving like modern companies with career focus and incentives rather than treating staff as an expendable commodity,”

-Neil Rankin

-Provide Acknowledgement and Praise

When you are training a puppy you reinforce positive behavior by acknowledging the behavior and then praising the puppy. Humans too often forget that they’re still animals and function just the same. When your staff is doing good work acknowledge the good work by praising them. You’ll be amazed at how fast good work will become habitual. Also, when people are receiving acknowledgment for their work they also develop pride in what they are doing. People are less incline to leave work they’re proud of.

Provide a Flexible Schedule

Because many restaurant positions require little education and are often part-time, those positions attract young people. Young people, especially full-time students, benefit from flexible schedules. When staffing, try to keep a bull-pen mentality; have a few relief workers in the event someone needs a night covered or can not make it in. Always schedule one extra staff member than whats needed. Odds are someone is willing to leave early to be with friends/family or to work on a class assignment.

The cold truth is, in this industry many of the people you employ do not treat work as their #1 priority. I suggest you accept this and make it easier on yourself and your employees by providing a flexible work schedule. The less “shackled” young people feel the more willing they are to stick around.

Offer shift priority to more senior and high potential staff first. There is nothing wrong with this. They have earned it.

Please, I encourage participation! Tell me about a way you provide incentive to your employees or strategies you use in making your employee schedule. What tools do you use to communicate to your staff? Let me know!



Craemer, Mark. “10 Tips to Improve Workplace Communication.” Seattle PI. 12/29/1.http://blog.seattlepi.com. 7/15/2013

Mesure, Susie. “Why can’t restaurateurs hire enough kitchen and waiting staff to keep up with the foodie boom?” The Independent. 7/14/2013. http://www.independent.co.uk. 7/15/2013