Cutting Staff Turnover for a Better Guest Experience

Understood in business is the axiom that happy staff translates to happy customers. A derivative of this axiom is unhappy workers will quit. Brendan B. Read’s article from focuses on retaining labor and reducing staff turnover. While the article focuses primarily on contact centers, his investigation is relevant to the hospitality industry because not only do segments of the hospitality industry rely on call centers, but as a whole it has a remarkably high rate of staff turnover.

Mr. Read notes that Nina Kawalek, CEO, RCCSP, states there is a direct correlation between employee and customer satisfaction. Studies have proven that environments with happy staff result in higher customer satisfaction. The quality of the work environment and the lack of upward mobility can outweigh the duress of tough economic times, so if your operation doesn’t offer a pleasant atmosphere for staff, workers are bound to leave. This, of course, is problematic as Read cites because guest loyalty generally suffers from the “inevitable slowness and errors” from new staff. Take note that bringing new staff up to speed accounts for “up to 50 percent of their annual wages.”

Here are some proposed methods to curb staff turnover:

  • Create awards and recognition programs. Recognize achievements among your staff. (e.g. “Employee of the Month,” “Server of the Year,” etc.)
  • Provide graduated advancements in position and rank in a respective field. If a busboy knows he will move up to become a server and then assistant manager and so on, there is more incentive for him to stay…and stay loyal to the company and its vision.
  • Provide performance-based incentives (e.g. cash/gift card awards for meeting preset service/sales goals)
  • Don’t forget additional training and mentoring will keep staff committed.

Sure it seems obvious that staff satisfaction results in customer satisfaction, but in industries where staff turnover is high even in times of economic distress, preventing attrition is vital for the guest experience.

Read the article here.

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