Retaining talent is vital to the success of just about any business. However, in some industries like foodservice, this is much easier said than done. According to an article by AZ Central, employee turnover rates in the fast food industry are commonly as high as 150 percent. If a business can retain employees at a higher rate than what is typical for the industry, it stands a far greater chance of success in the market.
Case in point: Chick-fil-A (CFA)
The Atlanta-based company has been the number one chain in sales per unit volume for the last several years. There are a number of reasons that contributed to this, but one certainly not to overlook is their 55 percent turnover rate. We spoke with Mike Walpole, CFA’s international supply chain director, to get a better understanding of what principles the QSR chain holds closely to retain talent so well.
According to Walpole, the process begins with recognizing the reasons for retaining talent, which go well beyond the inevitable incurred costs of hiring and training new employees. Atop this list are food safety, producing consistent quality and leadership development.
Upon understanding why talent retention is so important, you can then go about implementing a strategy for minimizing turnover, which will address why team members are leaving. Typically, this is because:
- They find the environment of their current situation unsuitable or unsafe.
- They find a better opportunity.
- They find their current role too stressful.
To overcome these challenges, CFA focuses on four areas of their own business.
Environment: By creating the best environment for people to work, you increase your opportunity for retention. This means creating a clean work place, a place that feels safe to employees, and a place that is friendly and supportive. CFA focuses on treating their team members like valuable contributors and creating an environment where team members feel like they are working with good people.
Empowerment: Every team member wants to succeed. “Success” may look different to everyone — maybe it’s becoming employee of the month; maybe it’s holding a job for six months or maybe it’s moving up the ladder of leadership one rung at a time. Regardless, encouraging your employees and empowering them with the tools and opportunities necessary to reach those goals doesn’t go unnoticed.
If an owner/operator can allow employees to make their own decisions, albeit with guard rails, and expect that they live up to the standards of the environment, more employees will feel they are succeeding and reaching their goals — because they are.
Cater to the Employee: Long gone are the days of training textbooks and VHS tapes. Sit a 17- or 18-year old down in front of a TV to watch a 45-minute on-boarding video and you’ve already begun to lose engagement. It’s important to consider how to make training effective for younger generations and embrace their needs. If they’re attached to their cell phones, then find a way to make training available to them there. Catering to particular learning styles will not only show that new hires are valued, but it will also result in better retention of the information — a win for the business.
Equip your Employee: Old, dysfunctional equipment leads to stressed, angry employees and eventually, employees who are just so fed up with nothing working that they move on. Investing in premium equipment can play a huge role in making the lives of your team members easier. High-quality equipment will allow your team to work more efficiently, which again only benefits the business as a whole. If an employee can recognize the ease of their job against comparable alternative positions, they’ll recognize their current opportunity as the best available.
These are not novel, or all together unique strategies for retaining talent, but when you consider the success that CFA has had relative to their industry peers, its obvious that these tactics work when they are made a priority. We’re honored that CFA recognizes our premium equipment as a contributor to their low turnover. To find out how our equipment can add simplicity to your operation and help you retain your valued talent, visit our complete lineup at https://www.hennypenny.com/products/.