How to Keep Your Best Employees Working Hard – For You

Staff turnover is not only time-consuming; it can also be costly. That's why it's important to retain your best employees. The key is to keep them motivated and engaged – here are a few tips on how to do just that.

Hire great people.

If you hire properly then developing, motivating and retaining staff is a less complex process. Once you have hired a great employee, developing his or her skills can only make them better.

Find out what motivates your staff.

Different people are motivated by different things. Some are motivated by dollars and cents, some by recognition, some by constant challenges and some by feeling that they are part of a team. Learn to recognize these "hot buttons," and push them to get the best out of each employee.

Always look inside your organization.

Employees who observe promoting from within will likely be more motivated; knowing they have an opportunity for advancement will inspire a good work ethic. Find the natural leaders within and ask them to train new employees. If you can't find them, ask your employees whom they respect most and assign them the training task.

Develop incentive programs.

Don't make it a contest - make everyone a winner. Set a target (i.e. sell a bottle of wine to 75% of your tables) and then reward everyone who achieves that target. Make the target easily achievable and measured.

Ensure your employees have all the necessary tools to do their jobs brilliantly.

This means not only the physical tools, but the intellectual tools as well. A well-trained employee with excellent product knowledge and confidence in his or her ability will be more productive.

Make sure your employees understand your vision and business philosophy.

Then train them in how to execute that vision. Your staff takes its lead from you. If you convey a positive and truly hospitable attitude, so will your staff. Someone who really enjoys their job will be more likely to stick around and that enjoyment will rub off onto others.

Constant feedback is essential in motivating employees.

Provide the staff with frequent performance reviews, both formal and informal. Most people in the hospitality industry are "people pleasers." Let that work to your advantage by providing feedback (both positive and negative) on a regular basis.

Remember that star employees need new challenges regularly.

Create a cross-training program, so that every employee is capable of jumping into any position at a moment's notice. A little variety from the daily routine can go a long way towards keeping the job interesting.

Create a team atmosphere.

Make everyone from the dishwasher to the general manager responsible for customer satisfaction and profitability. Let everyone share in the benefits of being part of a great team by creating bonus programs that are achievable, easy to understand and easy to measure. They should be paid out in a timely fashion, so that they do not lose their impact.

Treat all your employees with the dignity and respect.

There is no better employee than one who has a sense of worth and believes that he or she is doing a fantastic job.