How to Reduce Scary Staff Turnover Costs

July 6, 2017 Chris de Jong


Staff turnover is a universal restaurant pain. Replacing staff means you have to go through another round of hiring and vetting, then you need onboard your new team member and train them for their new role – all of which takes considerable time and effort.


But have you ever stopped to think about the costs of staff turnover? If not, you might want to take a seat.


According to The Rail, the average cost of replacing an employee in the restaurant industry is $5,864. Yup, you read that right: nearly $6,000 to replace each staff member who leaves your business. Think of how many staff you’ve have had to replace in the past year alone and I’m sure you can see why this is cause for concern.


So what’s the successful restaurateur to do? Answer: be proactive. There are countless strategies to reduce your turnover costs without relying solely on raising wages or bestowing fluffy job titles.


Here are three research-backed strategies that you can implement right now to reduce your turnover rates and have a happier staff.



Staff Engagement

As Custom Insight defines it, employee engagement is “the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.” Studies have shown that engaged employees are more loyal and have better levels of productivity compared to staff who are less engaged.


A Gallup poll found that engaged employees are 41% less likely to be absent from work and had increased productivity of 22%. Just think of how much time you can save in finding shift replacements!


Consider organizing a regular team social activity, such as a staff meal, or even better, a group charity that your staff can support together. Another easy idea is to have your team collectively come up with its own set of shared company values. When teams create a shared culture based on two to three commonly agreed values or ground rules, it can help nurture engagement.



Staff Communication

“Does anyone know what tonight’s special is?”


“Can anyone pick up my shift next week?”


“When did we run out of tuna?!”


If any of those lines sound familiar, you know the importance of communication in a restaurant. Research from Gallup found that 62% of people who quit their jobs cite communication issues as a major factor in their decision. This includes a lack of direction from management, poor one-on-one communication, and the subpar communication of operational changes.


Don’t let this happen in your restaurant. Improving staff communication is as easy as implementing an employee chat system, through which staff can quickly get the answers they need, from the people they need then from, without extra effort. A chat system is also crucial for any restaurant manager who wants to quickly share information with their staff, from tonight’s special to next week’s staff meeting.



Staff Empowerment

While not as cut-and-dry a concept as communication, employee empowerment is nevertheless an important concept to master to reduce turnover costs. In simple terms, ‘empowerment’ is the practice of sharing information and power with employees so that they can take initiative to solve problems and improve service.


Empowering staff means giving them the tools to go the extra mile for customers, such as doing something extra for a guest’s birthday. Staff must feel comfortable deviating from your defined processes to get the job done right or take on responsibilities that are normally outside of a staff member’s duties to help the business at large.


Increasing staff empowerment can be as simple as making an effort to crosstrain your staff. When you train your staff to do a variety of positions, they feel they have the skills necessary to tackle problems outside of their job description.


Another option is to give staff more direct control over their shifts. Implementing a restaurant employee scheduling app lets staff members update their availability as needed, helping them feel in control of their own schedules. This is increasingly important in a new ‘gig economy’, in which hourly workers are swayed by the promise of jobs where they can set their own hours.



Now It’s Your Turn

When you have a plan of action, it’s easy to tackle staff turnover. The key to reducing soaring costs is to figure out how you can further engage, communicate, and empower your staff so they want to stick with you. Once you’ve nailed these concepts, you will start to see longer tenures and more productive staff!




About the Author

Chris  de Jong

Chris de Jong is the Marketing Lead for 7shifts, an employee scheduling app designed for restaurant based in beautiful Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He works with the rest of the 7shifts team to help their customers all over the world save time scheduling, reduce labor costs and improve communication in their businesses.

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