There are many factors that modern-day restauranteurs must take into consideration, but staff turnover and falling retention rates continue to be core issues across the industry. Even though these problems have not been unique to the restaurant and hospitality space in recent years, the nature of the industry means that it’s particularly reliant on its staff.
The last thing restaurant owners want is to end up in an endless cycle of recruiting, hiring, and training. So, how can these businesses keep employees engaged in the mission of the business, continue learning new skills, and stay satisfied enough to remain with the restaurant?
One solution for restaurant owners as the business landscape continues to be transformed and face unprecedented challenges is to upskill current employees.
So what does it mean to upskill employees, and how can this help solve the turnover problem restaurants are facing today?
What is Upskilling?
Let’s begin by providing a quick definition of what upskilling means. In simple terms, upskilling is when a company takes efforts to expand their current workers’ skill sets.
Among other benefits, giving employees new and additional skills can help them feel more engaged and productive in their positions, and less inclined to search for new roles with better opportunities. Therefore, helping employees feel like they’re learning and growing in their role is a key aspect to retention today, especially in a job market where the job seekers and employees hold all the power.
In a recent study published by Gartner, 58% of the workforce now require new skill sets in order to do their jobs successfully, so this is a widespread issue today that spans across industries.
Why is Upskilling Important in Today’s Business Environment?
The World Economic Forum has stated that a reskilling of the global workforce could bring about trillions of dollars worth of value into the economy. Thus, early movers who upskill their employees before competitors can gain an edge in their industry.
In restaurants specifically, upskilling current employees can play a key role in how they are able to retain staff and keep their day-to-day operations running smoothly. Otherwise, they could continue to spend their valuable resources attracting and training new hires without end. But why is employee turnover so costly for restaurants?
An unstable workforce can easily become a distraction for management and other employees, bringing them to focus on recruitment and training rather than improving strategy. High retention rates can also create a customer experience that ranges widely from day to day, and can cause the restaurant to lose long-standing institutional knowledge that comes from tenured workers.
On the other hand, having a steady and stable workforce that is knowledgeable about the business, the menu, and the mission of the restaurant can provide a positive customer experience and promote a better reputation.
Thus, upskilling current employees not only helps restaurants keep staff trained for the needs of today–but also for the needs of tomorrow. Especially with the disruptions caused by the pandemic, many frontline workers like restaurant employees had to learn new processes and skills very quickly. From integrating and managing third-party food delivery apps, to QR menus and more, a massive wave of upskilling was required to help restaurants and workers adapt to the changing times, and continue making money despite the overall economic conditions.
Upskilling Employees with an LMS
With all this in mind, it’s clear to see that continued on-the-job training can be very beneficial for restaurants and their employees. Of course, getting employees well-trained from the start is a major element here, though this isn’t all the training and attention that employees should receive throughout their tenure.
A simple and straightforward way that restaurants can re-train and upskill current employees is to use an online learning management system (LMS). These are software applications that give organizations the structure and ability to execute training plans from start to finish, including progress tracking, reporting, and analysis.
Especially for franchises, an LMS can ensure that employees at all locations are on the same page when it comes to workplace duties, menu updates, corporate values, and more. So what are some of the benefits of using a learning management systems for restaurants?
Custom Learning Plans
Restaurants utilizing an LMS can easily deliver different training courses simultaneously based on an employee’s role. Bartenders, servers, line cooks, and front of house staff will all require customized training and skills that are relevant to their positions, so you’ll want to provide them with specialized courses that will keep them engaged and can help them sharpen their skills. Plus, employees who have been at the restaurant for six months may need trained on different skills than someone who’s been there for six years.
Whether management wants to focus on customer service, training for a new technology, introducing a new menu item, or a number of other training items, an LMS makes it possible to assign the relevant training courses to the right people for maximum impact.
As we mentioned before, restaurant management teams have too much on their plate to take on one more task–and re-training and upskilling current employees isn’t something that should be done in a rushed manner.
Therefore, management can remove themselves from the upskilling process when utilizing a good LMS in their organization. With a digital LMS that employees can access from anywhere, management can set learning goals and deadlines and allow employees to complete the training on their own time.
In-person instruction and training is a thing of the past. In today’s digital age, an online LMS can help restaurant management be more efficient with their time, while still providing consistent and valuable knowledge and training to their employees.
Final Thoughts on Upskilling Employees
While the initial training for restaurant employees is highly valuable and necessary, the continued upskilling and re-training of current employees is also a crucial aspect of workforce management that should not be overlooked.
Employee retention rates are something that restaurants of all sizes struggle with, though keeping employees engaged in their roles through upskilling efforts can help restaurants retain their talent and improve their productivity. With an LMS, management can easily administer continued training courses that are relevant to their employees, and promote a more cohesive work environment.
Retention360’s Retention360 HQ platform is a leading learning management system for restaurants, helping management become more efficient with their time and impactful with their training.