Why do staff leave? (Or how to get the most out of your staff).

Why do people leave?

Hospitality traditionally has a high level of staff turnover. Why is this? In part it is inherent in the job. Hospitality has a lower average wage then most professions, has longer working hours, is stressful and has hot and difficult working conditions.  If you can create loyalty by looking after your staff, motivate them and give them good job satisfaction you can minimize it.  

It makes sense to hire the right people and try to hold onto them as long as you can. The hiring process costs money and training staff takes time and money.  The recruitment process can cost a lot of money and if you hire the wrong person it can end up costing your business big time, especially if you decide later on that they need to go. Identifying candidates who share the same core values as yourself and are going to work well within the culture of your business is of the utmost importance.

 

Why do people work?

To get money…? Because they have to…? It is true that we all have bills to pay and we all have to work but a lot of people work because they want to. The trick is to finding out what it is that people want and how the needs of the individual and the business can combine for mutual benefit.

 

What motivates people?

When I first stepped into a management position it was “my way or the highway”.  I have since learned that there is not one management style that works for everyone or will get the most out of every employee. Your management style needs to be flexible and change according to the situation and the people you are managing. There is a book called “The Human Side of Enterprise,” published in 1960 by Douglas McGregor. It takes the assumption that people inherently do not want to work and will avoid doing so at all times so one must maintain a system of control to force people to do that which they dislike or understand. So the solution to this is to impose rules and regulations to force people to work and to punish any deviation. But like Princess Leia says: “The more you tighten your gripTarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” To get the most out of your staff you need to find ways to make them WANT to work. You can’t play prison warden all of the time.

 In my experience the best solutions are pro-active. Stop a problem before it becomes one by identifying the root cause. Problems at work and staff dissatisfaction are like a creeper. First the seed is sewn then it grows one shoot, then from that first shoot it begins to branch out, each new growing creating more branches. The stem becomes strong and the foundation of all the other branches and they start taking over other plants. People want to feel wanted, feel important, needed. If you can give someone a sense of worth and responsibility they will often rise to the challenge.

 

So, how do you get the most out of your staff?

Being autocratic? Sometimes in a kitchen this is the only way forward but one needs to be flexible and there is a time and a place. When in service and the shit’s hitting the fan you need a strong leader who is going to make decisive decisions and lead from the front. During the battle of service is not the time for consultations. Overall the effects of this style of management is lack of motivation as staff aren’t involved in the decision making process. It promotes a lack of initiative because they are deterred from making independent decisions. Another likely result is lowered productivity because staff are dependent on the manager to make any decision for fear of being wrong. A management style that dissuades input from staff is ignoring a business’s most valuable resource: its employees.

 

It is important to have clearly defined rules and boundaries and to give people freedom to make decisions within these boundaries. But there has to be follow up and give good feedback. If you have your line in the sand which can’t be crossed, it often helps if people know WHYPeople have to be made accountable for not just things they do wrong but for the things they do right. Maybe this being recognized for doing tasks beyond and above the call of duty or even just doing everything perfect day in day out. Maybe even recognize people for giving it their 100% even if not perfect. What can be very frustrating and demoralizing is working extra hours, trying your best and not only not being recognized but still told off. This is very counter-productive.

 

Some people refuse to be managed or motivated. Maybe they never developed a good work ethic, are in the wrong job or have some other personal problem that stops them from performing at work. If you have to stand over someone and constantly bully them into doing their job then sometime it’s best for everyone to be honest and go your separate ways.

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