Many people believe jobs in the retail or quick-service restaurant industries are meant to be short-term. This leads to high turnover rates in both industries, which in turn makes promoting from within difficult. Hiring managers in these industries may wish to institute certain programs to help them retain their best employees and groom them for management roles. With some inspiration from leadership, star workers can be long-term staff members.
Develop a Promote-From-Within Program
According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, external management hires are more expensive for companies, and generally do not perform as well. In fact, their salaries are about 20 percent higher than those from internal promotion, but their approval ratings are lower.1
So how can companies encourage employees to stay long enough to be promoted? Consider creating an internal promotion program like Chipotle did. The restaurant chain has initiated a "restaurateur" program that puts in-store managers on the path for senior management. Putting a structure in place to facilitate these transitions into management and promoting the program to employees encourages them to stay on the path.
If you have employees who aren't eligible for promotion because they lack a high school diploma, consider offering a high school completion program. Doing so can increase worker loyalty and engagement and reduces turnover rates — and it also makes otherwise-qualified workers eligible to fill vital management roles.
Have Honest Conversations About Salary & Progression
There's a widespread belief that those working in retail or quick-service restaurants cannot make a good salary, and this may hold employees back from continuing in the industry. Discuss the available paths, and employees will probably be surprised to learn they could earn upward of $70,000 in retail management2 and $100,000 at some quick-service Restaurants.1
Open conversation builds trust and rapport. Combat the myths by discussing realistic salaries and timelines. Go through the ranks of each position and how much the worker can earn in it — doing so is motivational and makes them want to reach the next steps in their career. Dispel the belief that they will not be rewarded for continuing in the field.
Offer Tuition Reimbursement
Take a cue from companies like Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler and offer tuition reimbursement to your employees. Programs like these attract motivated, entrepreneurial-minded workers who are looking for long-term career opportunities. Companies may wish to provide reimbursement only for courses that have relevance to their industry, such as hospitality or business management.
As employees continue to work while also learning about the industry, they become better prepared and knowledgeable about career options in their future following their current path. This can lead to more long-term workers who are appreciative and respect their workplace, and therefore want to stay and grow with the company.
Take a Tour of Corporate Headquarters
Sometimes just seeing the possibilities can be the best motivator for success. Arrange a tour of your company's headquarters for a select group of top-performing employees. While hourly workers are a large part of the workforce in the retail and quick-service industries, they are by no means the only positions. Visiting headquarters can expand employees' thinking.
Jobs at a company’s corporate headquarters can range from those in marketing and communications to finance and human resources, so there is a path of interest for most people. After working on the front lines and moving their way up, these employees are more likely to have a passion for the company and succeed. Plus, being chosen to visit the headquarters already shows that the company has faith in their abilities, providing some further encouragement.
Hiring managers in quick-service and retail locations should have a plan of action in place to keep their top-performing employees with the company. High turnover is prevalent, but can be prevented by offering encouragement and support to workers.
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