Strategies for Managing, Retaining & Motivating Restaurant Staff

Strategies for Managing, Retaining & Motivating Restaurant Staff

Hospitality is a taxing industry to work in, which is currently being compounded by short staffing issues that have yet to resolve.

 For management, strategies that can help keep staff motivated include forging strong relationships and driving morale to reduce staff turnover. The below four strategies well help ensure your venue and team will shine despite hospitality staffing shortages. 

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1) Strong relationships between management and staff

People learn in different ways and respond to different methods. As such, it’s unlikely that there will be an effective one-size-fits-all approach to motivating staff members. In order to know what will/won’t work, it’s important that management build strong, professional relationships with staff, and create a setting where forthright, two-way communication is possible. Part of this process might also be checking in with staff on a regular basis to discuss how they are feeling, and where their mental health space is at. 

There’s also the challenge of balancing relationships between management and full time/casual staff members. Both parties share different requirements and motivations, may be balancing other commitments –  such as studying, providing care or holding another job – and thus require different strategies from management to ensure they coexist, are up to date with all protocols (despite working different time slots) and are able to balance other responsibilities while remaining satisfied in their role.

If management and staff are effectively strangers to one-another, it will make it more difficult for staff to discuss the reasons why they are feeling lethargic or uninspired. And, if an environment isn’t created where staff feel comfortable sharing their concerns, management won’t be in a position to address them.

2) Encourage collaborative problem solving

Communication is only part of the solution. It should also be accompanied by a genuine intent from management to fix the underlying issues related to poor motivation.

If management are serious about boosting morale, a collaborative approach with relevant staff members is needed in addressing their concerns. Involving staff in the decision-making process shows that the changes made by management aren’t empty gestures, or removed from staff-interests. Rather, they are being done with them, in line with their needs and interests.

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3) Identify what will make your venue a great place to work?

It’s also important that management take initiative, and are proactive in creating an environment where high morale is maintained. This might involve exploring what attracted staff to the venue, and addressing the ways in which the workplace can be a satisfying and fulfilling environment.

It’s worth investigating how the venue operates, whether it does so efficiently and how different elements of the business – such as technological infrastructure, systems and management styles – can be upgraded or improved. This might help to minimise disorganisation, and remove superfluous staff responsibilities. Where possible, it might also be a good idea to discuss with staff where their skills and passions lie, and where they see themselves in the future. Developing plans for upskilling and pay-rises may help staff realise certain goals, which might be the thing that reignites their passion.

4) Deliver your team work/life balance

Even if staff are enthused about their work – and have strong relationships with other staff members, customers and management – their mental health will dip if they are overworked, and under-rested.

Care should be taken to ensure that staff are rotated frequently, have sufficient rest between shifts and their unavailability is respected. Again, relationships with management are critical, and it’s important that personal lives are respected. Otherwise, the risk of burnout is high.

Motivation levels are likely to waver in any workplace. But, remaining motivated can be more challenging in an environment where concerns aren’t heard or acted upon, and procedures are not established (and regularly updated) to ensure that staff remain satisfied. There are a number of strategies that can be adopted, but they should be tailored according to individual needs and interests. Addressing motivation levels before they are depleted may be key to keeping staff motivated over the long run.

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Disclaimer: This guide is general in nature and does not take into account your individual circumstances. Before acting on any information, you should consider whether this is right for your business.