Column | Engaging and Retaining Your Team

We are in the tightest hospitality labour market we have ever seen. As business owners, we need to ensure that we are putting time and effort into retaining our team. They are our highest cost, and we can't be profitable or live up to customer expectations if the team is constantly turning over.

What would your team say about working for you and your business? Some would say that their team reviews on their working experience are just as/if not more important than customer reviews.

Here are five things you can focus on to help you retain your team and make them more engaged and connected to you and your business, resulting in better service and profitability.

  • Engage with them - ensure you engage with your team in a personalised, genuine, and helpful manner. Chat with them regularly, not just about their working life but about their non-working life as well.
  • Listen to them - listen to your team to know what is going on for them. They are the ones who are running the floor, empathize with them, and act.
  • Empower them- give them opportunities to make decisions and have responsibility. These can be small daily wins for them, either having the ability to solve customer problems without checking with a manager or even small responsibilities within the day-to-day running of the business.
  • Delight them - just like our customers surprise and delight your team and exceed their expectations, it may be recognition in front of others, a thank you card, or a meal on the house.
  • Know them - taking the time to know your team and remember small details helps build relationships and trust.

Making sure you are making time to sit down with each team member and see how their working experience is going is the most important. Ask them a few simple questions to gain insight into how they are, how their work life is going, and how we can improve it. If you are not doing this already, you need to do it asap. Not only does it help build a stronger relationship with your team, but it will also provide insight into how you can run a better business. A great addition to this is sending an anonymous survey to your team to better understand how things are going in your business.

Raise engagement, get the team together and ask, What’s going well? What’s not going so well? What can we do to improve things? This helps the team get more connected, gets them engaged on understanding that their input is valid, and they have a direct impact on the business. This will result in them having more “skin in the game” regarding service delivery.

Put these five elements on the wall in your office and ask yourself regularly if you are following through with delivering them to help retain your team and have a great relationship with them.

Finding new team members is challenging at the moment. Applicants have so many options it is up to us to stand out from the crowd and get people in for an interview. We need to make our business attractive, so applicants are inspired to apply.

In the past giving a clear outline of the job, expectations of the role, and an overview of the company was enough. Now you need to dive into what your business is all about and what your values are, especially regarding your employee experience. What’s the experience they are going to have working for you? What’s going to make someone want to apply for a role with you over others? You can outline it, but you need to deliver it.

Hospitality is about relationships, when you get applicants in, if they seem like the right fit, start building a connection with them right away, get a rapport going, and get them inspired about working for such a great place.

By Richie Walshe, The Growth Coach

Helping driven and passionate people run better businesses, be more profitable, and lead better lives.