3 Ways to Lose High-Quality Employees

By Andrew Carlson, Foodable Industry Expert

The hospitality industry has a high turnover rate. According to the National Restaurant Association, the turnover rate in 2015 was at 70 percent across the industry.

Seven out of every 10 people that you hired decided to walk away from your restaurant. Was it the culture? Was it your communication style? No matter the reason why they left, they didn't want to stick around.

Here are three ways you will lose high-quality employees if you aren't careful.

1. Poor Leadership

When I was managing a restaurant in Los Angeles, I remember hiring people one day, training them, and then in a couple weeks, they'd leave. I would get frustrated, upset, and then I became tired.

The next round of new hires stuck around for a little bit and they were high-quality employees. They worked well together, they were efficient, they were everything you wanted in an employee.

So, why did they end up leaving? In their case, they left after I was transferred due to the leadership in the restaurant.

The truth is that people don't quit jobs, they quit bosses. They leave because there's little communication. They leave because they are being thrown under the bus. They leave because their direct supervisor doesn't support them in their growth or even just on a day-to-day basis.

High-quality employees want to make an impact on the daily operations and want to know that they make an impact. They have the self-awareness to know that what they do matters and understand when they make mistakes. They'll even own up to their mistakes, but poor leadership within your restaurant is the No. 1 reason why you are losing these high-quality employees.

2. Toxic Work Environment

I'm sure we've all had those jobs where we just absolutely dreaded going to them. Everyone was miserable, nothing anyone did was right in the eyes of the management team, and the management team was getting yelled at on a daily basis.

It's that job where you can't fall asleep at night because you know when you wake up, you'll have to go back into an environment that just feels bad.

Toxic work environments are another reason why your high-quality employees are leaving. Whether it's toxic due to the management team, a disgruntled employee who is harassing their coworkers, or the lack of leadership, it all ties into how someone feels coming into work.

No one is inspired by being constantly told how much they are failing. No one is inspired when their supervisor is always crabby and can't even say one compliment. No one is inspired by a toxic work environment. Ever. That's why it is crucial to your success to constantly be re-evaluating your employees to ensure no one is toxic and bringing the team down.

3. No Growth Opportunities

The last reason why you are losing high-quality employees is because your restaurant is perceived to be a “dead-end job.” There is little-to-no growth opportunities for them currently available in the restaurant and they don’t see you putting any investment towards their personal growth.

Well, how are you supposed to create growth opportunities when there aren’t positions available to be able to grow into?

There are a number of ways that you can create growth opportunities for your employees, even if there aren’t any positions available in higher-level positions.

Management Qualifications

You can interview them for a management position and discuss why they think they are qualified to move up into a position. Even if you don’t have a position available right now, at least it shows them that you are interested in their longevity within the restaurant.

If they seem to have an understanding of what you expect from management, you can begin training them slowly. It doesn’t need to be all at once. Then, this will allow you to have coverage in case a manager wants to take a vacation or needs to take a personal leave for a period of time.

It also means that you won’t have to scramble to find qualified employees and then throw them into the full-blown management training and hope they are trained within the two-week notice.

Leadership Courses, Seminars, and Books

Another way to provide growth opportunities is to send some employees to a leadership seminar or allow them to take a course in something that the restaurant needs. Then, you can have them put together a presentation on what they learned and how we can start to implement that into your restaurant.

Just because there aren’t any positions available for growth doesn’t mean that you cannot focus on the growth of your high-quality employees. Keep them invested in you, your mission, and let them know that you CARE.

Employees leave because they don’t feel appreciated. Managers make them feel that they are dispensable and you can feel when management feels that way.

Take the time to let people know you appreciate them and you will get so much more out of them. Plus, training new employees and going through the turnover cycle is much more expensive than investing in your high-quality employees to ensure they’re happy and remain productive.