How to hold on to your hospitality staff

Shot of a waitress serving a couple in a restaurant


Whether you’re a restaurant owner in Mayfair, or the general manager of a boutique hotel in Shoreditch, you’ll know retention statistics for the hospitality industry can be dire. The industry’s staff retention rate is just 70%, 15% less than the average in the UK.[1] This is likely due to the fact that 40% of permanent hospitality staff in our restaurants, bars and hotels took the job because it was “the only one available at the time”[2], rather than a true career calling.

So, how do you prevent your establishment’s turnover from being so high? We’ve put together a few ways to help you prevent your staff jumping ship.

Recognise and empower staff

As a hospitality hiring agency, we know chefs, waiters and bar staff often work late, long hours. This unavoidable aspect of working in hospitality, however, can be counteracted by a positive working environment where employees are valued – believe it or not, this can make the 3am finishes bearable. This could include offering great benefits like above statutory annual leave, service charge system, social events and flexible hours, or an incentive as simple as an ‘employee of the month’, treated with a bottle of champagne and a workplace-wide shout out.

Training

It’s important to encourage training for employees past their initial trial shifts. For example, if a waiter has an ambition to learn how to become a bar tender, make it a priority to encourage them, through time behind the bar after closing time, or an opportunity to shadow a more experienced employee. As most establishments have different areas like the kitchen, restaurant floor, bar, reception etc., there are great opportunities for staff to train with experts across teams and, in turn, moving forward in their career.

Two women talk over a table at a cafe

Communication

A workplace that has an open communication policy will foster longevity for its employees. When employees feel valued and understood, they know they can share their feedback on improvements in the workplace. This moves away from the traditional, hierarchical structure of a hospitality workplace. This could mean a five or 10 minute meeting before shifts or an open-door policy in the back office.

Ask the right questions at interview stage

When it comes to hospitality staff recruitment, the types of questions you ask at interview stage can give you an accurate picture of the candidate’s motivations in wanting to work with you. Questions like ‘what are your career goals?’, ‘why do you like working in the hospitality industry?’ and ‘how do you stay motivated in your current role?’ all speak to the employee’s understanding of the difficult side of the industry, and their passion for this new opportunity. Don’t just listen to their answers; have a look out for positive body language and energy when they speak about the role. An employee who loves working in hospitality is one who will most likely stay the course for the long term.

Tiger Hospitality is one of London’s leading hospitality and catering agencies. If you need help hiring permanent staff, please get in touch today!

[1] https://www.deputy.com/lp/uk-retention-report

[2] https://www.deputy.com/lp/uk-retention-report

Author Tiger Contributor Tiger Recruitment Team

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