By Ryan Ashton
Successful companies don’t happen by accident, especially in the service industry. They are the result of strong teams who aren’t just good at their jobs, but invested and engaged at work and in the brands they work for.
And that doesn’t apply just to the C-suite. Servers, cashiers – everyone in your frontline service team is critical to the success of your business. But how do you build up a strong frontline in an industry where turnover upward of 70% is an unfortunate reality?
The short answer: invest in your team members. Appreciate them. Empower them. Work as hard for them as you expect them to work for you. And the good news is that you don’t have to spend years or thousands of dollars to see significant ROI.
In fact, here are just a few unique ways employee investment can help you transform your business.
Create a buddy system
Every new employee needs proper training. But it turns out, they might need a friend even more. According to research conducted by Urband Bound, 70% of employees say friends are “crucial” to a happy work experience. What’s more, 50% of employees with a close friend at work reported having a stronger connection with their company. Setting up new hires with a “work buddy” might not always result in lasting friendships, but having a familiar face around who can help answer questions is an easy way to make the onboarding process less intimidating for new employees.
Provide educational opportunities
In an industry where frontline staff outnumber management in high volume, not every employee is going to have an opportunity to move up the chain of command at your company. Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t help your staff grow in other ways. If offering tuition reimbursement is too costly, consider extending your team a membership to online learning communities like Lynda.com, Skillshare or Udemy. Here, they can take free courses in everything from photography to writing to business branding, which can help them build their resume even if they eventually move on to work for someone else.
Ask for their opinion
Employees who have no autonomy at work can easily end up feeling mistrusted and devalued – both of which aren’t great motivators. Studies from the National Center for Biotechnology Information show that employees who aren’t empowered to make their own decisions often result in “low employee morale, high staff turnover [and] low productivity.”
Asking your employees to weigh in on simple things is a small gesture that can go a long way. Wine and spirits retailer Total Wine & More, for example, encourages its staff to share their wine knowledge with customers, even displaying “Staff Recommendations” all over their stores.
You can empower your own staff to share their product knowledge by creating a regular “Staff Favorites” list and share it on your restaurant menus, company newsletter, website or social media profiles.
Celebrate your staff
Believe it or not, employees don’t always leave because of the money. One major reason team members jump ship is because they don’t feel respected and valued. According to Forbes, 66% of employees said they would “likely quit their jobs if they felt unappreciated.”
The solution: make a conscious effort to show your staff when they’ve done a good job. Profile top performers in your company newsletter, reward dedicated staff with gift cards or paid time off. You can even have your company CEO give employees a call to let them know they’re doing a good job.
Give them benefits they want
Not every company can offer their employees health benefits and a 401K. Still, there are a slew of untraditional perks you can offer your employees. Things like a monthly gym membership discount, instant pay or allowing your team members to pick their own shifts once a month, are affordable ways to show you care.
You want your business to stand out from the hundreds of others you’re competing with. To do that, you have to motivate your employees to do a standout job. Your team members really are your most valuable asset, and the more you grow employee investment, the stronger your returns will be.