How to attract staff to pot washing - and keep them

High staff turnover in the hospitality and commercial kitchen industry is a common problem. So, wouldn’t it be great if there was a secret formula to keep skilled personnel and avoid expensive and time-consuming recruitment and retraining?

A lot of pots and utensils needs to be washed

High staff turnover a global trend

According to data and public opinion company YouGov and software company Deputy's Retaining Britain’s Hospitality Workers report, the hospitality industry in the UK has an employee turnover rate of 30% (meaning 3 out of 10 workers leave their role within a year). In the US it’s even worse, with a staff turnover of 73,8% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately, the trend is similar in a lot of countries around the globe.

So, is there a secret formula to reduce staff turnover?
Probably not, but we have identified a series of problem areas and things you can do to make your staff more likely to stay on for longer.

1. Proper training and instructions

If you don’t train your staff well, they won’t work well either. Make sure that you give your staff proper training and instructions, and re-runs every now and then, so that they feel comfortable with their tasks and can work as efficient as possible.

Another good idea is to make sure that relevant pictograms and other instruction materials, that is often available from the suppliers of equipment, is placed clearly visible, so that staff can educate themselves when in doubt.

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2. Rotation and cross-training

High turnover of employees or even the occasional sick day can really turn the work environment in a kitchen chaotic. Rotation is a good way to avoid this, as it ensures that more staff have similar or the same skills, and can easily cover for each other in case of sick-leave, transitions, or vacancies. It also makes your employees’ day more varied and fun, which in turn makes them more likely to stick around for longer.

Cross-training and rotation also help build the team spirit, with a stronger sense of ‘we’ and an understanding and respect of each other’s tasks. In the long run, a strong, happy team will have positive effects on your entire service.

3. Create opportunities for growth and advancement

Providing employees with advancement opportunities in the pot washing area isn’t always easy, but if your pot washing staff have no indication from you that they will have the chance to try another role in the future, they might choose to move on to a company where they are more likely to succeed. Therefore, when possible, try to promote staff within your organization to send the signal that the pot washing area can be a way in, and a platform for personal growth. Don’t forget that pot washing staff often have a great understanding of what it takes to keep a kitchen running; a great foundation and experience for any future assistant or chef, for example.

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4. Teamwork, respect, and recognition

Three strong words that are in fact crucial for your staff to stick around in the long run. Create a work environment where everybody works together for a common goal, and teamwork is rewarded. Recognize each member of your team as an individual with their own personal needs, wants, and challenges – and be attentive to and act on their need from you as a manager.

A good piece of advice when it comes to respecting is to join in and work shoulder to shoulder with your employees. This will build their respect for you as someone in the team and your respect for the challenges they face every day.

5. Make work pleasant and flexible but also predictable

Take a look around; is there anything you could do to make your company an even more pleasant place to work? Maybe benefits and privileges that you could give your staff to make them more happy, loyal and more likely to stick around? Proper breaks and food are very important for your staff being able to feel good and recharge during breaks. When it comes to predictability, we all have to accept that things will happen, and stepping up will be required from time to time – but by planning ahead and always releasing schedules on time, it will simply be easier and more pleasant to work for you and loyalty towards you as an employer as a welcomed kickback.

Every now and then it’s a good idea to do something fun, outside of work. Be it pure teambuilding activities or just a fun few hours in each other’s company, your workers will get to know each other on a more personal level. Involve the staff and ask them if they have any ideas.

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6. Healthy environment and focus on ergonomics

One of the biggest causes that might push your pot washing staff to quit, is a toxic or unhealthy work environment that causes strain or even illness that affects your staffs’ life, even outside of work. Manual pot washing in the sink involves a lot of chemicals, often very harsh. Handling those without protective gear can lead to allergies and skin diseases - often both painful and embarrassing. To make matters even worse, it’s actually very common that it’s the use of protective gloves that causes skin problems and irritations. By investing in a solution that eliminates the need for harsh chemicals, your staff can toss the gloves aside too.

Creating a work environment that is as healthy and safe as possible will help to avoid unnecessary sick leave, workplace-related injuries and reduce overall staff turnover. Best of all – happy and healthy staff will help make your business flourish.

7. Hire employees carefully and be clear about expectations

Unclear job expectations and mismatch between jobs and employees are common reasons for staff leaving. Be sure to hire your staff carefully and be clear about your expectations so that nothing is unclear or left unsaid. Misunderstandings can easily occur in a busy restaurant environment.

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8. Give your employees a decent wage

Be fair. Following above bullet points is not enough if you don’t give your employees a decent salary. Look for ways to compensate for the extra cost, like solutions that are more efficient and gives you a high ROI. Cross training your staff to be more flexible and less vulnerable. With more staff able to work in different places, and with smart and efficient equipment at their hands, you might be able to pay them a higher wage since you won’t need as many on your payroll. Fewer people leaving, fewer people need to be hired, and in turn, you will enjoy lower recruitment costs.

Last but not least – be honest with your staff about when and how they have chances to grow and earn a pay increase. Most important (obviously): always follow through with what you promise.


Build a better working environment with Granuldisk

Creating the best possible working environment will make your staff feel prioritized, happy, and looked after - and more inclined to stay with you for longer. If you're curious about how Granule Technology could integrate and benefit your pot washing operation, contact us to organize a demo - via live stream, or in a kitchen or showroom near you.

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