It’s a major challenge to attract and keep employees these days.
Providing benefits such as medical and dental plans are great to offer and give employers a competitive edge when competing for talent. What benefits to you currently offer?
Medical and dental benefits packages can be considerably less expensive than you might imagine and cost nothing to ask for a quote. We encourage you to find out if there is a package for your business by calling the BCRFA head office at 604 669 2239.
We understand until a restaurant starts to turn a decent profit, providing these benefits may be more than your budget can handle. Even without traditional medical and dental benefits, there are ways to be innovative that help to provide the competitive edge and offer unique benefits to your employees.
Here are some suggestions for perks and benefits that will improve your bottom line – without taking a bite out of it!
- Compressed workweeks
Employees can agree to work longer daily hours without overtime in exchange for more time off. For example, three twelve-hour days followed by four days off or four ten-hour days followed by three days off. This is legal in BC if it’s set up properly. Contact the BCRFA for help setting up these schedules.
- Predictive scheduling
Simply put, this means scheduling employees well in advance so they know when they will be working and when they will be off. This is very important to your employees. An employer who uses predictive scheduling is more attractive to applicants and allows employees to schedule second jobs or personal commitments.
- Give to charity
Ask employees what charities they like and support. Support and like the charity too. Have a day every month when you honour an employee’s charity by donating a percentage of sale of salads or deserts to the charity they support. Make charity and giving a part of your company’s culture. Make sure your customers know about your charity work. Customers like to think they are making a difference while having a good time.
- Love their children
Many of your employees have children of their own or kids in their life. If you are a family style restaurant, you will please your employees and your customers by creating a feature wall displaying employees’ children’s’ artwork. Pick up some inexpensive frames at the thrift store to frame kids’ art. Have an after school event so employees and kids can see their art displayed. Free ice cream for all. You may spend $75 but the employees and their children will think it worth a million bucks.
- Spa day
Restaurant work is hard on the body. Make a deal with a local spa so employees can have massages, steam treatments, manicures and pedicures at a reduced rate. Most spas will be thrilled to negotiate a great deal for your employees. If your budget can be stretched just a bit, pay a bit for employees’ spa treatments or trade meals for the spa staff in exchange for spa treatments. Everyone will be healthier and happier.
Find out about important events and create for joy in your employees lives. Find a way to celebrate accomplishments. Graduation, a child’s graduation, birthdays, marriages etc. are all cause for a cake and a card or a small gift, some flowers or a bottle of bubbly. It’s the thought that counts. It is also important to support employees who have had sorrow. Allow time and space for grieving. To be aware of your employees’ lives, however, you need to talk to them to know them. Try, at least once a week to invite an employee to coffee and engage with them like you would a friend.
- Field trips
Most of your farm suppliers, local wineries and breweries are proud of their products and want to show off. Rent a mini van and send some employees off regularly to places where good food and drink are grown, distilled and brewed. The employees will come back refreshed and knowledgeable about items you serve. If you can offer them a nice lunch out, even better.
- Safe rides home
Many restaurants offer a staff drink at the end of a shift. This practice can be a problem if it leads to drinking and driving. It is a much cheaper and safer option to let employees leave in time to catch their bus or train home. If that isn’t possible, make sure every worker has a safe way home, even if you have to pay a bit for it.
- Reward creativity
Let your cooks create new menu items. If it ends up on your menu permanently, name the dish after the employee. “Brad’s beet salad” ”Kulwinder’s butter chicken”. Give the creator a bonus if the dish is popular. Find out what your staffs’ other talents are. They all have them. Sally likes flowers. Put her in charge of flower arrangements and caring for any plants you have. Manny is a computer geek. Let him help you set up more efficient systems. Ping is addicted to social media. She can be valuable getting your restaurant and your values buzzed about on social media sites. Your employees get a break from their routine, you get access to skills that help make your restaurant stand out.
- Staff appreciation
You can’t operate without them. They are your team. Paycheques pay their bills, but appreciation feeds their souls. This can be as simple as a comment from the heart at the start of a shift when you tell them collectively how grateful you are that they are on your team. Any expression of gratitude from you for a job well done, a customer well served, a hectic evening in the kitchen handled with grace and efficiency is going to make your employees feel good about their job and themselves.
Make sure all your employees have access to training to enhance and improve their skills. An employer who is willing to help their employees progress and learn in our industry is an employer of choice. For information about training programs you can afford and access, such as Red Seal Chef, contact Gillian at the BCRFA, 604 505 2374
- Keep your door open.
When an employee leaves to go backpacking in Asia or surfing in Australia, many businesses consider these people quit and gone. But eventually they come home. If they were good workers, wouldn’t you rather they come back to work for you instead of going to work for your competitor? Make sure employees who leave you to pursue other interests are welcome back. This bit of understanding costs you nothing.