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2 methods to attract and retain employees

John Brandt Jr. is president of The Brandt Group, a consulting firm specializing in business profit enhancement through mystery shopping and dining, training and operational development. Brandt has more than 30 years in training and management experience.

I frequently hear from restaurants whose No. 1 problem is retaining and attracting employees. Yet, they never seem to have a solid plan for retaining good employees and attracting recruits. Let’s discuss some ideas about a strategic plan for retaining current employees. Here are two strategies that I have found successful: confidential employee surveys and employee evaluations.

Confidential employee surveys

Employees have great ideas. Usually managers and owners fall short and just never ask. Or, they might cordially ask, “How is it going?” But are they really getting honest, candid answers? The answer is no. Employees will not “be honest” unless they can remain anonymous with their suggestions and opinions.

Employees need to have a safe environment to deliver feedback through a confidential survey. After the survey is compiled, owners and managers have to be willing to “look in the mirror” and see what the employees see and be mature enough to make the necessary changes to move forward.

Sometimes the news is grand, and sometimes it’s like a kick in the teeth. But by taking employees’ input, and by applying small yet meaningful changes, you instantly receive employees’ attention, and productivity and retention soar.

Employee evaluations

In my many discussions with management, I always ask them how often they conduct employee evaluations. Answers usually vary from “we’re working on that” to “what am I recommending?”

The No. 1 reason an employee works for your business is to feel their efforts are of importance. So why not give them constant feedback and coaching? There is nothing an employee despises more than having an annual evaluation where a manager brings up an incident from eight months ago. The employee is helpless to correct and feels beat up after it is all over.

Employees must be evaluated formally after 30, 60 and 90 days on the job. Then they need to be evaluated every six months.

One effective method is to have the employee fill out their evaluation scoring their own performance then submit it to their supervisor prior to the evaluation. Using that approach, the supervisor can compare their own observations with the employee’s perceived performance prior to the meeting.

Your employees are your most valuable assets. And how you treat your employees will be reflected in how they treat your customers.

Resolve in 2012 to make confidential employee surveys and employee evaluations a part of your overall strategic employee plan, and watch your business grow.

Share your experiences in the comments.