In the past we’ve talked about how loyal employees create loyal customers for your food truck. Now we want to get into how to create those loyal employees and show you how reducing turnover of these rock stars is invaluable to your mobile food business.
With people in the food service industry switching jobs like they are changing clothes these days, attracting and retaining talent should be one of the most important goals of your business. The rest will come if the foundation is solid. How do you do this?
Reducing Turnover In Your Food Truck
Make it difficult
The first step in reducing turnover in your food truck is to make it more difficult to get a job in your truck. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a job at the best companies? Rounds and rounds of interviews.
This seems counter-intuitive on its surface, but so do many things that actually work. Your hiring process should be several steps, with time in between. Quick hiring leads to high turnover almost every time. Do 2-3 interviews with each candidate, with increasingly pertinent questions each time. Ask them open-ended questions that allow for detailed and expansive answers. “Yes or no” questions should be essentially eliminated. Have more than one manager or leader involved with each interview to get different views.
Focus more on whether or not they fit into the culture you want to build than their skill set and resume. These are still important, but you can have the best [fill in position here] in the world, and if their attitude stinks or they don’t get along with others – they are a liability, not an asset.
If your attitude is “here’s the job description, now go do it”, you probably don’t have the crew you want. There are two things that you should do with every employee on a regular basis, and the first is training.
If the position is so basic that new training is all but pointless, then cross-train them on other positions and responsibilities. Always find some way to build their skill set, to allow them to learn new things and expand their knowledge and experiences, and do it on a regular basis.
The assessment portion is where most managers fail in reducing turnover. Observation and the recording of performance is only the first step, and most end with simply presenting this to the employee with a grade of some kind. You have to lose the manager mindset and become a coach. Read a book on coaching – actually, read all that you can on the subject.
A weekly or monthly performance review should involve asking more questions than it does presenting your opinions. Learn to approach a situation with “I noticed that you are struggling with…, how do you think you could improve in that area?” Let them use their brains, and beware – they will not be used to this at first, and it will take some time to get them used to it.
Always be constructive, and let them make their own decisions, even if that decision is that they need to leave the company. When you are transparent and up-front about your expectations and about their performance, you never have to fire anyone. They always make the decision on their own to improve or move on.
Set goals with them, not just for them
This is another step in the assessment process, but one that deserves special attention in the process of reducing turnover in your mobile food business. Everyone has an internal desire to be something more, to do something better, even if they aren’t aware of it all of the time.
If there are paths for promotion in your organization, let them know what they are and what they require. If they are interested, work with them to set up a plan to make it happen, over a planned period of time. Succession planning is a very overlooked part of most businesses, but it is extremely important.
Share your dreams for expansion, and get input from them. Even if you don’t have many promotion paths right now, your vision of the future might. Get your staff involved in this process.
Always set some kind of goals with them. Ask them what they want in the future, and help them get it. The rewards here can go well beyond the walls of your food truck and return in ways you never imagined.
The Bottom Line
High employee turnover not only impacts workplace morale, it also hurts a company’s bottom line. It can cost your mobile food business more than twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement. The process requires valuable time and staff resources that can result in lost productivity and revenue.
Use these strategies for keeping employees happy and reducing turnover in your small business.