Secret Solutions to Filling Open Positions

Business is booming! Sales are up double digits, not over just last year, but the year before that. Great, right? Well, maybe, if it is sustainable. Many businesses are experiencing historically high sales, and many of those same businesses are struggling to attract and retain employees. There have been plenty of news stories, articles, and no lack of opinions about why there are so many open positions in the workforce. Many news articles point to external factors that are contributing to this problem; things like generous unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, workers choosing new types of work-from-home jobs. But here is the disconnect: if all of these external factors are taking place, then all businesses would be on the same level playing field. If that is so, why is it then that some businesses are able to attract and retain employees and they do not have a problem with staffing, while others do? What is their secret?

Let’s look at an industry we can all relate to, restaurants. Many restaurants have had to reduce their hours of operation, or even days of operation, because they are struggling to staff their positions. Yet there are other restaurants that have had absolutely no problem filling positions. These businesses are fully staffed and have not had to reduce their hours or days of operation. What is their secret? After weeks of research, visiting restaurants, and interviewing current and past employees, two consistent themes emerged.  There are two key factors contributing to success of the restaurants that are attracting and retaining full staffs.

Consistent Business Processes The restaurants that have consistently full staffs have established consistent business processes. They have identified the steps that the organization must do every day and every week in order to be successful. They have made sure that those processes are trainable, repeatable, sustainable, and scalable. They have clearly communicated these processes to the entire staff and established these processes as standard operating procedures, or “this is the way we do things here.” They constantly make sure that every employee understands their role, their responsibilities, and how they fit into the processes. The have made the expectation clear that the processes are executed consistently. Having clear and consistent business processes is a sign of an effective and efficiently run organization.

Employee Appreciation The second key factor is that the restaurant owners, leaders, and managers treat their employees with respect. This respect is demonstrated in how they motivate their teams, in how they provide the training, feedback, and guidance to help their employees do their jobs well. They give recognition and they demonstrate genuine appreciation. The bottom line is they create an environment that feels good. Anyone who has worked in a restaurant knows that it is hard work, but when the employees feel good about themselves, when they are appreciated, when they feel good about the people with whom they work, and for whom they work, it makes work so much easier and more enjoyable. Having a fun workplace where employees feel appreciated and valued is a significant contributor to these restaurants’ success.

Can it really be just that simple? These two factors of having clearly defined business processes, executed on a consistent basis, and treating employees with respect are what is needed in filling open positions? The factors are simple, but that does not mean that they are easy to maintain. But the leaders who do follow these two secret steps of identifying their business processes, setting the expectations to follow them consistently, and respecting their employees by showing how much they value and appreciate them, are the ones that are winning. They are the restaurants that are fully staffed and are enjoying the benefits of being so by realizing significant profits.

So instead of pointing to all of the external factors that may be impacting your ability to attract and retain employees, take a look at your business processes and how you show your employees respect and appreciation. The solutions are simple, but the key is in the execution.

Retail Level Up provides coaching, training, and consulting services to individuals and teams. Visit to learn more and to schedule a free consultation.

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