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Every business suffers when turnover is high, but the restaurant industry may feel the pain more than any others. Constant employee churn wreaks havoc on customer service, food quality, budgets, morale, and even the overall reputation of your business. And here’s the frightening reality: studies show turnover rates in the industry are higher than they’ve been in the last ten years as voluntary turnover has soared to over 70% for hourly and management employees.
Nearly half of restauranteurs say hiring, training, and retaining employees are their biggest hurdles; meanwhile, experts are predicting continued job growth in the industry, which means there will be a lot of open positions to fill. Turnover is not only bad for business because it’s costly to continually hire and train new employees, but it also negatively impacts your customers. In fact, 22% of customers report that “quality service” is the number one factor that will make or break their dining experience.
How do you fight turnover rates?
Hire the right employees—those who add immediate value to your customers and your business—from day one.
According to Patrick Lencioni, best-selling author and CEO of the Table Group, the interview process is step one to finding what he calls “ideal team players.” These individuals possess virtues that help facilitate collaborative teams, so they manage the restaurant workload more efficiently and effectively. Specifically, ideal team players:
- Tap into one another’s skills and experiences
- Make higher-quality decisions
- Ask for help when needed
- Admit mistakes and limitations
- Accomplish more in less time and with fewer resources
- Show loyalty in their workplace
How can you identify the right people?
Ideal candidates can easily get lost in a sea of applicants, but according to Lencioni, there are strategies a hiring manager can employ during the interview process to help distinguish them from the rest.
Be specific. Focus your interview around understanding whether the candidate is an ideal team player.
Make it a team effort. Have multiple team members interview a candidate and then have everyone debrief after the interview.
Make interviews non-traditional. The ideal interview should incorporate interaction with diverse groups of people in everyday situations.
Ask questions more than once. Asking questions over and over in different ways may gain insights that you won’t get from asking a question once.
Ask what others would say. Instead of asking candidates to self-assess a given behavior, ask what others would say about them.
Don’t ignore hunches. If you have doubts about a candidate’s humility, hunger, or people-smarts, don’t ignore it. Keep probing.
Scare people with sincerity. As the interview process is winding down, tell people you are looking for people who are humble, hungry, and smart and that all employees are held accountable to this standard.
For more interviewing tips and strategies, check out our free interview guide before you make your next hire. Also, learn more about Lencioni and how his concept of “ideal team players” can assist you during and after the interview process.