worst staff turnover rate we have ever had!

Not sure if it is nation wide or just locally. The work ethic is TERRIBLE lately. Age bracket mostly 20-30, enthusiastic at interview, tells everything we want to hear. Drivers are at $5.50-6.00 per hour, plus $1 per delivery plus tips. Insiders at $8.50 plus tips. Why do they suddenly develop car trouble, phone trouble, illness or just disappear and no longer want the job, without 2 weeks notice. For those of you with good staff retention, what’s your secret? Is it better pay for better workers?

Better pay is certainly part of it. Pay $1 per hour better than other comparable employers and you will attract and keep the best employees in the group you are trying to recruit from. Without question better employees are WORTH another dollar an hour or more.

Stay respectful in all your communication with employees and insist on the same from your managers. Make it clear that you expect the same in return from staff including notice when they want to leave. Be clear in your expectations and in setting goals.

All wage discussions are really local, but I will tell you that I have not been able to hire an insider for $8.50 in over 10 years.

I have felt that our turn over has been really bad this year. I just added it up and we have lost 11 people ( about 15%) On top of that we had to hire 20 new people to take on the extra business we’ve been doing, and 20 more to fill the spots at our new location. All in all we have hired 50 people this year. We didn’t hire more than 12 from 2009 all the way to 2013. We were totally un-prepared to do this. I didn’t realized how good we had it with all these long term people who knew their stuff. We can usually find good part time insiders at around $9 and hour. If they need full time or we need them to work during the day it usually takes more $10 to $11.

Hiring and keeping drivers has always been a puzzle to me. These guys and gals make the most money for the least amount of work. I don’t think we have any driver that makes less that $17 an hour and I know some make closer to $25. Sometimes when things get out of control I’ll take 5 to 10 deliveries and when I’m done its like I have so much cash I don’t know what to do with it all, and I feel like I barely did any work. I just drove around a listened to the radio.

Anyway, what we do to keep people around is just follow the golden rule. We say please and thank you and we do everything possible to work around their schedule.

I blame it on their first 18 years of life, Them being told that they did an excellent job by their teachers and coaches when their performance is/was total crap, them getting trophies for just showing up, all these alleged “self-Esteem boosting” exercises like not keeping score in sports games, there is no winner or loser, the mercy rule, everyone plays no matter how much they suck and continually being told how special they are, especially when they aren’t!

They get this for the first 2 decades of their life, and all of a sudden they get tossed into an environment where everything is opposite, where quality does matter, where you need to work hard to get ahead. They don’t understand why they are not told how excellent and special that they are even though they did crappy work. They don’t know how to handle it.

Or, my other theory, It is made way to comfortable for them to not work!
Name one other country where their poor people are obese!! How in the hell can the guy in front of me in line at the grocery store have a brand new iPhone, gold chains, tattoo’s, piercings, yet pay for his food with an EBT card. I wish I could afford all that.

I had a 30 something whose application for employment listed that he had a “Dipma” for degree earned in high school.
He did not know how to tie his shoes, read an analog clock, or add and subtract single digit numbers, yet the high school confirmed that he graduated! And he got his “Dipma”

I have 2 key people here that have been with us for 18+ months, I went through over 2 dozen others between May and August this last summer. They No-Show for a week, then suddenly show up sometime later expecting that they still have a job!.
If I want these other idiots here by 4:00 PM, I schedule them for 2:45, and they still don’t make it in by 4:00. I cant pay on a Friday, I pay end of shift on Sunday, because if I paid on Friday I wouldn’t see half these bungholes until they ran out of money on drinking, gambling, and drugs on Monday. So they get paid Sunday, by Wednesday when they are scheduled they may show up because they are out of money.
Nobody under 30 yrs old seems to give a flying “F” about anything, Why, because they know they don’t need to, because the government will take care of them!

OMFG, I could go on for hours, but I won’t, My blood is boiling already.

I saw someone post here once “If you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys”
And someone else reply “Sometimes when you pay bigger peanuts, you just get bigger monkeys”
I start people above what is the norm for this area because we need good people! I know that I am only as good as my crew! BUT! their truly are people out there that are absolutely useless! So higher pay is not always the answer.

We look for good attitudes only. I don’t care if they have any brains at all. We can teach them how to make a pizza. They have to be reliable, honest and friendly. That’s it. We have this young kid that worked for a year or so and my daughter found out that he didn’t know how to spell “Pirate” He thought it was “Pyrate” She was a new manager at the time and was a bit flabbergasted about this, especially being that the word “Pirate” was printed all over the store including the shirt he wore everyday. So I asked her:

  1. Does he show up every day? = Yes
  2. Is he honest? = Yes
  3. Is he good with customers and other co-workers? = Yes
  4. Does he work hard? = Yes

Then he’s a keeper. Let him spell “Pyrate” however he wants.

I don’t think there are any secrets to speak of. I have been open 9 months and I have had the challenges of course as well. Currently a delco, but I have considered going carry out only, simply for the fact that it would reduce my dependency on employees. I recently made a statement that I would never start another business that required me to employ anyone and I believe this is probably true, but this business doesn’t really afford such a thing, so I am doing the best I can.

Pizza “Pyrate” makes a great point in that you have to decide what is important to you as a business owner and then look for these characteristics in your employees. I require all applicants to fill out their applications online and there is a short ten questions, but these questions are intended not only to find out information from the applicant’s but also to communicate to applicants what we are all about. We ask for permission to run background checks, tell applicants that we wear uniforms, show up (on time), etc. About 70% of applicants that start the process, do not complete the applications and about 80% of those who do complete the application do not show up when invited for a phone interview. Of those hired about 1 in 4 did not last a week and another 1 in 4 was no longer with us after 6 months…finally the 5 who are still with me do a solid job, show up and are almost always on time, but there are still frustrations in their work ethic, ability or attitudes at times. However, I think we are far above the average and we focus on the similar check points that Pizza Pirate outlined - particularly #1 & #2.

As for pay - I don’t think you have to and I don’t think you should go crazy and pay WAY above the market, but you should pay somewhat above market rate. If you pay too far above, you will spoil your employees and set unrealistic and likely unsustainable environment. It isn’t the amount of money that you pay someone that spoils them it is how it is given…which is to say rewarding employees when hitting milestones, or meeting goals or profit sharing are wonderful ways to pay employees. In addition to paying the bonuses, make sure it is communicated WHY they are receiving the money and how the business is able to share that with them. We raised sales, we kept costs under control, we raised average ticket, etc. whatever is important to you and your business. You want to fight the entitlement every day and teach every day…customers pay us, you get paid! That is how it works and so you better go serve some customers if you want to get paid more. These lessons are not being taught often enough and it is a gap that we as business owners can fill. Lastly, on the pay issue, it never hurts to know what makes your employees tick and give a bonus consistent with that…I have had an employee who was into poetry and I knew they wanted to purchase some books, so I gave her a gift certificate as a bonus and so go buy your books. I have employees who are into sports, so giving some baseball game tickets in the summer was huge for a few of the guys working for me. I had another who was big into a charity, so we had a fund raiser where I donated 6 hours of my time and made pizzas all day and he was able to raise the first decent money towards his fund raising goal…these examples all went much further than their monetary value.

So don’t be afraid to turn people away who are not good fits for your business, hiring VERY cautiously (yes, even if it means turning down or losing business in the short term), pay well, but not over pay, reward based on business success, communicate that success, teach and train, and if you want them to take interest in what means something to you (your business) take an interest in what matters to them…and last but not least, never stop trying to build up the staff, you have to work as hard at that as anything else - there will be ups and downs! These are not secrets, they are simply sound practices. Good luck - it is an outgoing challenge.

i pray for God to send me the right person …have a fairly green crew right now doing 500 dollar days, in 2 weeks we’ll be doing 5 k days , they have no idea why i’m trying to speed them up !

Good lord! What a staffing challenge John! I don’t envy you at all.

John, sounds like my world… where are you located again?

Our sales will double next week and then double again the week after that. We have more than the usual amount of new hires this year too but we do have a core of about 7-8 long term people and another 4-5 that have been with us several months. Every year in the Fall we go from 10-12 employees to 16-20 employees. Typically, some are returning seasonal employees. Having a reputation as a good place to works helps a lot. Having a general manager that stays cool helps too.

We raised wages this season for the first time in quite a while. Like PP said, from the downturn in 2009 we had no problem finding people who wanted work and would stick around for a while. I have been through a few of these cycles and my guess is that we will see wage pressure competing with other kinds of work in the coming year. A solid part time pizza cooks makes $11 per hour in our kitchen. I guess we will end up giving the savings from lower cheese prices to the employees…

Incline Village , north shore Lake Tahoe , fortunately my lead cook of 22 years ( fastest spinner west of the Pecos ) will return just for the holidays, servers and hosts returning from schools too , looking forward to huge crush ! last year we ran out of dough one night with a packed house and full wheel - cooks didn’t tell me in time , worst nightmare !!!

I really think the most important thing in retaining employees is the work environment. My basic philosophy is: No amount of money will make you happy in a job you hate. Conversely, if you love your job, the money is secondary.

True as long as the money is covering all their needs. If they can’t make it they will move on.

I have some great kids that do really good work but some just can’t be relied upon. I provide them with good pay, good work environment, and quite frankly, an easy job… the big problem with that is they don’t know that yet. I know it, I’ve been through enough jobs to know which ones are the good ones, these kids have not. I ask them if I am working them too much, if they want less hours, I do what I can to make sure our situation is a win-win (assuming they are even worth keeping, that is), but sometimes all of that stuff doesn’t matter. They’ll just get sick, have a car breakdown, etc etc, and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s being lied to. Just because you throw an excuse at me, doesn’t mean i’m obligated to believe it.

We had a new hire recently that was put on the schedule… She said she wanted regular part time which, for us means 4-5 evening shifts for a total of 15-20 hours. Called in the day she was supposed to be training that she had forgotten another commitment… OK, rescheduled… worked one shift, traded the next one to someone and then called in to say she could not cover that one and did not “have time” to call other employees to get it covered … terminated.

What you tolerate you will get more of.

When I hire I look for ones that have worked for the likes of McDonalds or some of the other fast food chains. If they have been ther a while I know that they will appreciate the pay rates we have, they will work hard because that is what they had to do with the chains and they will be reliable because the chains get rid of them very quickly if they stuff around their shifts.
Also high on the list is kids who parents own their own retail business. They know what sh1t their parents go through with staffing.
Desn’t always work out but the majority do.

Awesome replies, especially Got Rocks - you nailed it. Always amazes me when we take a $60 delivery to the worst run down trailer you could ever imagine. Do you know how far $60 can get you at the grocery store? Most retail jobs/fast food around here pay minimum wage so my $8.50 an hour is not too far off though we should go $1/hour higher. The other night, my husband (the bossman) had to drive (again, a no show) and in 3 hours he made $47 in tips alone. These knuckleheads are told all the dang time to keep a tip log so they can see the bigger picture of their wages. I am starting to think delivery drivers tend to be the bottom feeders who no one else will bother hiring and it will be a constant ongoing headache. One kid called out the other night because his pregnant wife was hormonal!!! We try really hard to have a good work environment. We give everyone a holiday gift card, accommodate their schedule requests, we feed them during their shifts, we randomly give out bonuses for good performances. Hell, we even bought all the birthday gifts for one of our employee’s children as they were going through rough times. Hands down, the most frustrating part of being an employer. Did I mention we are actively seeking to sell our shops?

Selling seems like the prudent plan on my end too. I have the ability to expand, but I cannot due to the quality of available labor in my area. I have looked into importing people from major cities, but then housing them here is a huge problem. (big vacation destination area)
Next year, we will open in May, then close at the end of September, reopen again for the winter holidays and snowmobile season, and close mid March until May.
We left a ton of money on the table this last summer by not being able to cater events due to labor not being available, and we are feeling that pinch right now in our slow months with higher operating costs.
I had to pull the plug on catering because the previous summer I had 3 different events where my catering team either showed up late, treated clients and their guests poorly, or could not adhere to safe operating standards.
I am not going to be the guy responsible for a brides wedding not being perfect, so we instead declined nearly $100K in catering sales over summer because of it.
This is also the same reason that I am more active in this forum lately, I see us shifting gears away from our core BBQ model and wanting to dominate this area in pizza instead. Less talented labor needed, and so much easier all the way around. I’m not saying operating as an independent pizza operator is easy, so don’t get me wrong there. I’m just saying it is easier than what our core business has been.

I’ve had troubles staffing like everyone else here.
I work 60+ hrs every week.
A few things I’ve realized espcially with the young crowd(16-24) is pay isn’t as important as I thought. Neither is giving free meals.
I asked a customer of mine he owns 5 5 guys locations, I asked him way his employees stay for a long time. He said he asks his employees why they stay working so long for the company. The number 1 answer every year, year after year is that they get to work with their friends- that’s it.
An extra dollar an hour is 20-25 bucks more a week big deal that will be gone in 5 mins after their shift is over and they call whoever they’re drinking/smoking with that night. Don’t go crazy with overpaying is my point anyway

I had this problem years ago, and I had to look at the situation as to what was I doing wrong?
On a another message board I received little bits of gold information, that I continue to follow.

  1. Hire for attitude, train for success. I went back to training new employees, rather than them working with others, that way I know for sure they know what is expected and acceptable.
  2. I have to say 2 good things to an employee is doing before I can scold for one, (If you can’t come up with 2, there is no use investing anymore time in them) and also they are told this privately not in front of any other employee. (Unless they do something that risks the health or life of a customer, fellow employee, or themselves (but they know from day one that they will be yelled at for that))
  3. Thank them for doing a good job, compliment them for food that looks picture perfect, acknowledge that they are improving on something they got scolded for.
  4. Treat them all the same, it doesn’t matter if they are new or there for 10 years. (one of my employees told me that is why they stayed so long because they always felt they were treated equal from day one)
  5. At the end of the day your employees can be your biggest asset or your biggest liability, my goal is to make them the biggest asset the company possesses.

after typing this, I realized I have been lacking to do #3 :frowning: as I have nothing to b**ch about today I will have to give them a group hug and let them know I appreciate them.

Great tips,
But what myself and most other employers in my area have been seeing is people applying, interviewing, hiring them out of desperation, then they never show up for their first day of work, so we cant even get to the parts that you outlined.

I just visited a brand new retail business in my area yesterday, I walk in the door and the owner says he hopes that I am there to apply for a job! He see’s my biz name on my jacket, and asks me what the trick is to get employees to work in this area, my simple answer was; “good luck, if you do figure it out, please fill me in on your secret.”

If I need to improve someones productivity, I tell them straight out that I am trying to groom them for a management position, so they can take my place in the operation (That is my honest goal)
When there is a major screw up, I do not yell. they already know they screwed up. I nicely request that they try harder so it does not happen again. I’ve only ever fired one person here in the last 4 years. She was a busser/server who was parked at a table doing nothing, I came out of the kitchen to clean tables (the job she was supposed to be doing) and as I was hauling a bus pan to the dish area, she pointed out that i had dropped a soiled napkin.
So, I asked her to come over to the POS, clocked her out, handed her the time sheet print out, and explained that her services are no longer needed and asked her to leave. I then told her that her lest check would be mailed, and if I saw her here again, or got any lip about it, I will take the entire 30 days allowed by law to mail her last check. This was an employee getting paid above the non-tipped minimum wage, who also got tips. So she was averaging well over $15/hour here.