In an industry where the hours are often long and the pressure intense, whether front of house, management, or in the kitchen, it’s all too easy for engagement to wane and drift off. How do you stop that from happening?
Make communication a priority
Staff who feel included in the business – and understand what is required of them – are considerably more engaged . It’s tempting to shut down communications when things aren’t going well, but in fact that’s one time when communication is particularly important to keep staff engaged. Make sure that staff are regularly updated on your vision for the organisation, the steps you’re going to take to get there, any issues that might be occurring, future changes to conditions or ownership, what the company’s values are and how you define success, and so on.
Ensure staff have what they need to do their jobs
There is probably nothing more demotivating than an inadequate working environment, poor equipment, a lack of training and demands that aren’t reasonable in terms of time. Particularly important is providing adequate training, to both new staff and those looking to move up through the ranks. If staff feel that they are on an upward trajectory then they’re much more likely to stay put and stay engaged.
Offer credit where credit is due
Recognise the little things, from a great service, to working extra hours, with thanks and praise. Offer more substantial reward for the achievements that involve greater effort, such as creating a new dish or taking on extra responsibility without being asked. Consider contests and targets to create an atmosphere of healthy competition and to keep everyone focused on the task in hand.
Ask for feedback
An awareness of what it’s like to be in the shoes of your staff, especially the juniors, is crucial to staying connected with them and giving them what they need to remain engaged. Regularly ask for feedback, from whether they have what they need to do their jobs, to what they feel about the management style and what they want from the business in the long haul. Make it anonymous if necessary.
Work on creating a great enterprise
The simplest way to keep staff engaged is to be genuinely passionate and authentic yourself about what you do. Motivation starts at the top and filters down through the ranks so make it the responsibility of everyone in the business to keep those below them engaged – and set a great example yourself.