Employee engagement and retention are two of the most pressing issues in the restaurant industry. Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report)’s 2015 Restaurant Industry Recruitment & Turnover Report gives us interesting insights. The data shows that in 2014:

  • 3 out of 4 employees voluntarily resigned
  • 27% of employees left within their first 90 days of employment
  • It costs $1,157 to replace an hourly team member
  • It costs $13,947 to replace a manager

Turnover is expensive and disruptive. Engaging and exciting employees at all levels of your organization will help your retention efforts.

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I recently met with leaders from Chili’s Bar & Grill and K&N Management (Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Que/Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries & Shakes) to learn more about how Summer Brand Camp has enhanced their employee engagement strategies.

Gini Quiroz is our 2015 Summer Brand Camp Conference Chair and is the Director of Team Member Engagement at K&N Management. She explained that Summer Brand Camp helped her understand the importance of transparency – especially with a millennial employee population.

“Employees want a clear understanding of what they need to do to get to the next level. Millennials in particular want transparency in all interactions with their employer.”

Gini further explained that at K&N Management, candidates are engaged from the moment they apply for a position. The company presents candidates with a career path on their application page. From there, employees are introduced to the “lifecycle of an employee” that explains exactly what training, objectives and leadership expectations are minimum requirements for each position. The company takes transparency seriously and makes it clear that even though an employee may meet the prerequisites for a promotion that there are no guarantees along the career path. The company even outlines the total compensation package, including benefits, for each role.

K&N Management is clearly doing something right. 63% of their GMs are promoted from within. Many of their GMs started their careers as hourly cashiers, so employees have role models within their restaurants.

But Gini learned more than engagement at Summer Brand Camp. She also learned from speaker Amanda Hite how to tackle her goals in 30-day increments. As Gini says, “You can’t eat an elephant in one bite. You have to break it down into small bites over time.”

Gini establishes goals every month and identifies behaviors that she can modify over 30 days. This has helped her personally on her weight loss journey. On a professional level, she’s incorporated this technique into K&N Management’s culture by creating the KNChallenge.

Like Gini, Dom Perry of Chili’s Bar and Grill is also a Summer Brand Camp “repeat offender.” He’s also one of our speakers at this year’s Brand Camp. Dom agreed with Gini that it’s imperative to understand and relate to millennials and provide them with the transparency that they demand. Dom said, “I am fortunate to directly manage a team of millennials. We measure leadership and engagement at Chili’s. We work hard on engagement, and our score has improved. It’s a tribute to the infusion of passion that I get every year from Summer Brand Camp.”

One thing is for sure: Summer Brand Camp attendees take away lessons in employee engagement, retention, and leadership. Come camping with us!

HR Virtuoso is a proud sponsor of the 2015 Summer Brand Camp. Join us @hrvirtuoso and share in this life changing experience! Click here for more information about Summer Brand Camp.