After years of speaking with food truck owners across the nation, one takeaway I seem to always find is that employee retention and turnover is a major concern for vendors. In fact, after speaking with vendors at the recent Capital City Food Truck Conference in Washington DC, employee retention and turnover may be the number one workplace challenge facing food truck owners today.

Employee turnover can be a business killer for vendors. Because of this, food trucks owners are putting unprecedented investments into their branding and talent acquisition strategies. But as it turns out, that money is completely wasted if you can’t keep your best people on your team.

Why Employee Retention In Your Food Truck Matters

So why are your best employees leaving your food truck? One reason that always tops the list is the lack of appreciation and recognition from owners. People want to be treated like they matter. People want to know their work is appreciated. If they don’t get it from you, they’ll move on to another truck or restaurant owner who understands this basic need.

Many vendors throw up their hands and say one of two things:

“I pay them. Isn’t that enough?”

“I recognize my staff all the time.”

If you fall into the first category, shame on you. No, it’s not enough. You’re required to pay someone for their work. Anyone can sign a paycheck, but only a leader will say, “thank you”.

If number two is a better description, you might want to think again. A 2015 study found that while 90% of managers say their company does a fantastic job with employee recognition, only 30% of workers agree.

So when looking at preventing turnover in your food truck, consider your employee recognition program as an essential part of your retention strategy. The investment you put into an employee recognition system represents only a fraction of what you would invest into repeatedly advertising for new food truck employees, interviewing countless applicants, hiring a few who don’t feel appreciated either, and then starting over after they leave.

3 Simple Steps To Employee Retention Through Recognition

  • Set Performance Goals: Rewarding your food truck employees for a good job is the only way to see a true difference in their performance.
  • Monitor and Track Performance: Update the scores at least one time each week so everyone can see where they rank and where they can improve. Use this as a teaching moment for your team to share knowledge and improve together.
  • Celebrate: It seems like a simple thing, but don’t forget to recognize your best employees. After taking time to build confidence in your team, make sure that you recognize their achievements. The success of your retention program can be won or lost with this step, and as I explained earlier, you want to make sure that you’re successful.

RELATED: The Complete Human Resources Guide For Food Trucks

The Bottom Line

The key to employee retention is  about creating an environment that people want to be a part of. When future candidates realize that your best employees have been with you for years, and see how much they love working for you, your success as a vendor is all but guaranteed.

Do you have any additional tips for food truck employee retention? Share your thoughts on social media. Facebook | Twitter