5 Tips For Better Restaurant Employee Engagement

Easy tips with great results:

It’s no secret that staff shortages have hit the restaurant industry hard. Many restaurants are looking for ways to retain staff as they’re struggling to hold on to their best team members.

While pay and benefits are obvious attractors and fostering a welcoming environment is important to keep employees happy, there’s another piece of the puzzle that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Employees who aren’t motivated by their work can result in boredom. This is especially true of your more talented workers. If they’re not focused or excited by the job at hand, they are going to become distracted and look elsewhere. 

The first step to keeping hold of your best people is to keep them engaged–keep them focused, interested, and passionate about doing the best job they can. A report by Gallup found that highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability.

Another Gallup report from 2021 shows that employee engagement decreased globally between 2019 and 2020, after an upward trend for the previous decade. So now is the perfect time to boost your engagement to get ahead of the competition.

5 Tips to Boost Employee Engagement

These steps will lay the foundations for improved restaurant employee buy-in across the business for the long term. If all goes well, they’ll also improve your organizational procedures and boost team morale. Here are our top tips to boost engagement at your restaurant.

1. Develop repeatable onboarding processes

Building employee engagement starts before they even step foot on the premises. You can set employees up for success at all levels by ensuring the onboarding process is giving them everything they need to make a positive start.

That means it should be well-structured, proven, and repeatable across locations, departments, employees, and different managers.

Lay out a clear framework so that whoever is implementing the process follows the same steps. You can use organizational tech tools to build designated lists of training activities, attach onboarding documents to be completed such as Serve Safe and W2s,  and make sure they are completed consistently by new hires across the business. 

2. Set clear expectations

Don’t be afraid to set boundaries. People want to know where they stand. Make sure employees know what they are working towards to keep them focused and aiming at the same target as the broader team and leadership.

A clearly laid out set of expectations and goals allows managers to easily review and measure restaurant employee performance. Once you are measuring performance, you can see where things are going well and where improvements need to be made. Then keep team members motivated with regular performance reviews to discuss strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Implementing a task management and reporting tool can help employees understand their expectations and managers track performance, making for a streamlined relationship on both sides.

3. Make collaboration easy

Communication is a vital component in any organization. You can have every other piece of the puzzle in place, but if the comms aren’t there, nothing functions as it should.

That means clear communication not just from the top down, but between all levels of the company. If an employee has an issue or a question, make sure they know how to raise it to a manager. And managers at all levels should be able to easily communicate with and set expectations for their teams.

Making communication transparent and collaboration easy helps to nip problems in the bud and keep colleagues focused. If they know they can raise issues and managers will listen, they will be more engaged and less distracted in their work.

4. Don’t be a wet blanket

No one likes to be micro-managed. One sure-fire way to boost engagement is to give your employees the freedom to manage their own time. And the autonomy to carry out tasks in the way they think is best – as long as everything is done properly.

But how can managers be sure employees can be trusted to carry out work on their own terms? 

A smart task management system is your digital assistant manager. Checklists of tasks to be completed set clear expectations. Employees can add photos to show that the task has been completed properly, while they get the satisfaction of working autonomously and checking off tasks as they go.

This means the employee doesn’t feel like someone is always looking over their shoulder. And managers can focus on their own responsibilities, knowing that frontline employees are clear on what they need to do. 

Managers can check that tasks are being carried out correctly without making the employee feel like they’re being constantly monitored. Ensuring that teams members stay engaged and perform at the highest level even when you’re not around.

5. Make it fun!

Above all, boosting engagement should be fun and a motivating factor for managers and hourly employees.

Gamification is a powerful tool to boost engagement by making it into a competitive game. It works in video games and loyalty programs, and gamification for restaurant staff can work for employees too. Setting goals to be completed for rewards or badges is a strong motivator.

Implementing a tool that fosters gamification allows you to easily create healthy competition between employees or whole teams. Set up leaderboards for a variety of performance metrics either locations vs. location, employee vs. employee. Then reward the highest performers with badges, gift cards, or special discounts. 

You might Change to "set up a competition to see who can complete the most cleaning projects., for example. Then track the competition on a leaderboard that everyone can see. Whoever sells the most at the end of the week gets a free meal.

Not only are you getting the most productive work out of your employees, but you're also setting the business up for a successful Health Inspector Visit!

Fun and healthy competition can have a huge impact on performance levels. And the public recognition it provides is a sure-fire way to keep your best workers engaged and fulfilling their potential.

Boost engagement for a happier, more productive workforce

Keeping employees consistently engaged in their work is a tricky undertaking. But with the right foundation set in place with a structured onboarding process, followed by clear expectations being set, you are on the road to success. 

From there, rewards, gamification, and easy collaboration can be leveraged to keep focus high, motivation strong, and above all, to make doing well at work more fun for everyone.

To boost your chance of success, it pays to invest in technology that automates much of the legwork for you. Blanket helps you engage your employees by fostering seamless onboarding, facilitating easy communication, and providing gamification and reward features.

To see how Blanket could help you keep your best staff more engaged to boost productivity, request a free demo today.

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