One of a company’s main goals for employees should be productivity, not only how employees do the job but also being able to do it in an efficient and proper manner. Going through hiring processes, training, and having a high turnaround rate is a complicated issue that directly influences this. Another large goal for a company is revenue. Being cost effective and taking care of your employees can be a struggle but there are a few things you can do to increase productivity and maintain desired profits.
In fast food, there are three main categories that determine the productivity of employees. First, being training level which determines how well employees can develop their skills further. Another strong factor is having balanced leadership, which increases individual productivity and encourages proper teamwork. One of the biggest determinants of productivity both influence employees and customers: outreach. Having your employees contribute new ideas, promotions and community events will affect how the business can better impact the customer base. Following outreach is how corporate and management decide to both mentally and physically support employees. Investing properly into employees will keep them determined for success and keep them invested in the company. Thus, keeping employees productive, positive, and more permanent.
The first barrier for finding a productive employee is trying to hire one. Online applications, resumes and interview can be tricky to maneuver; especially when so many attributes can be exaggerated. Once you find a candidate that seems to fit the bill you commence the training process. The first day usually consists of two hours of interactive training videos. Second day being shadowing an already employed worker, and the last day throwing them into the fire with their own shadow to make sure they stay on target. In theory this is an effective strategy for those who have different styles of learning, but in actual practice things are not what they should be. Acknowledging that this is not true for every store is important. However, things slip through the cracks that owners do not realize, or that they do realize and fail to take action. Which consequences could affect the entire restaurant and even lead to it shutting down.
After you select who you are going to hire, the training process begins, and so does the first setback. This part of the training is usually unsupervised, you are shown to the crew room where the computer is and given a list of videos and told to watch and answer all the questions. Several things are crossed out on this list, some titles are in handwriting and while you make the way down the list you realize some of those videos are not even available to watch. So, you watch what is available, find trying to keep up with this list. Some questions on the interactive part you get wrong but having an unlimited number of tries, you can just click until you get the correct one. Afterward you get up and find the manager who sent you back, tell them you are finished and that concludes the first day. Coming in early your second day you find out you will be shadowing someone else. You remember some things from all those videos, but believe this will help you remember, right? In most cases, no. Upon now having someone personally explaining how to do the work you find out that those videos are extremely outdated, or in some cases just outright ignored. Whether by the entire staff or singularly by who you are shadowing, it doesn’t matter at this point because this the new way you are told to do the work. You get the hang of sorting out which rules to keep and which to ignore. Eventually you start doing some light work as things get busier: making coffee, making the order of fries, and weighing them till you get the hang of how it should look etc. once it is slower you start learning the register, where to find objects and how much they are, and how to translate what customers say from what they mean without correcting them. However, after you finish taking an order a manager approaches you and explains how you shouldn’t be holding up the line by repeating everything in a customer’s order. They say to list a few items and anything special then move on, so you make that note to fix how you repeat things. Second days’ shift is over and you are onto the third, today no shadowing necessary, you are put straight on a register. This time you are approached by a different manager who say that how you are repeating the order is wrong. How so, you through you remember what the other one said yesterday? Well, apparently, you need to list every single item in an order to make sure it is all correct- no matter how the line is. Okay. So now you switch to this and continue likewise, when the second day manager is there you repeat some things, when the third is present you repeat everything. On top of trying to remember which parts of your training were null and which things you were supposed to do instead since the videos were outdated. Having this kind of confusing and improper training can lead to several things that can either get your employee fired- for lack of knowing any better- or get your whole restaurant in the spotlight. Once a customer, or mystery shopper picks up on that kind of improper training they will start to focus on procedure and make sure that everything is done up to code how it should be. But the problem is, many employees and managers disagree on what proper procedure and health codes are. Eventually the telephone game of training will lead to a whole crew that violates something, which could lead to the restaurant getting shut down in now caught and dealt with.
When management is not properly informed about how things should be done it ends up confusing employees. Which is why having authentic leadership is also key when increasing employee’s productivity. High job insecurity and lower safety motivation regarding regulation (which leads to higher frequency of workplace accidents and injuries) is directly influenced with leadership that is regarded as authentic (Olaniyan). You want managers who are on the same page on everything and who are also properly trained on how to do their jobs. Missing this mark can not only lead to the above but also shortages on stock, lost promotions and even cash flow. Employees are more likely to follow a leader if they feel they are competent. But being able to do the job, and do it properly is not the only thing required, you also need to think about how your management is handling customers and employees. Get someone too strict and employees will be too intimidated to bring anything up to them. This could create a lack of proper injury handlement, loss of cashflow, unreported broken machinery, or stock items, etc. Also, employees will adapt a harder demeanor that will unconsciously affect the customers, giving them unsatisfactory service. On the other side, getting a manager who is too soft also comes at a drastic price. Employees will feel like they can slack off or ignore the manager, having little regard for policy. They won’t keep up with machinery maintenance, cleanliness, and will degrade the store.
This moves us to the idea about what actually makes an authentic leader. While everyone has bad days, as an employer you want to teach your management the difference between different varieties of work. For example, employee A can do as much work on a good day as employee B on a bad day. If management can’t factor in motivation or status of the employees then they can potentially fire the employee the company could have gotten the most out of. Which is why it is also important for the management to keep some degree of relationship with the employees to be able to determine these behavioral differences. When employees can both respect and share concerns with their leaders it is easier to spot warning signs of both physical and mental health issues; which if caught early can be properly handled before the company must handle worker’s compensation for the more serious stages. This is important because the cost of preventing things like job burnout or depression is cheaper for the company to maintain than the cases of injury or turnaround. Having management that is well informed and capable is one of the strongest ways to make sure the employees are operating at their peak levels.
How can you invest in employees, or what do you already do? The approach matters just as much as the intentions. First topic being incentives. Some companies try to positively influence their employees by giving out prizes for certain actions. One example being that if the restaurant gets a five-star review, and mentions an employee in a positive way, then that employee will receive an extra five dollars on their paycheck. This idea in theory is a great motivator, after all who doesn’t want more in their bank? However, this solution can fail in two main ways. Employees can falsify reviews from multiple devices and mention their own names or trade off to a collective system thus taking advantage of the incentive. Or, another unintentional consequence of this type of incentive is that employees will take extra time chatting up one customer and neglecting the others. Thus, leaving one customer extremely satisfied, and a line out your door of are extremely dissatisfied customers. A proven better incentive is also cheaper, and in some cases cost free.
Supporting your employees is an additional way to raise their productivity. Making sure that their anxieties in the workplace are noticed and properly handled and being able to notice the warning signs before things elevate is key to reducing costs for treatment and keeping them motivated. Keeping your employees both mentally and physically healthy is important because it directly influences how your customers are treated. Some employee stresses naturally occur with the job, especially with the percentage of customers who can never be satisfied. Making sure that your employee knows how to properly revive customer satisfaction, and how to effectively handle the outcomes if recovery cannot happen is also key for making sure that employees are staying satisfied in their job (McCune). This being said, when you do make sure that the employees are properly trained and taken care of, they are not only more productive, but also increase customer satisfaction with better-and more genuine- service. “…the dynamics between service providers and customers are critical for determining the success of organizations that rely on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Service performance is tied to employees’ behaviour during the service encounter, examples of which may range from greeting customers in a friendly and warm way to going out of the way to assist customers.” (Jixia). Thus, when your employees are preforming productively it creates a positive cycle for their behavior and the outcome of the customers.
Providing both support and an optional outreach program can also influence how employees and customers perceive the company. The better you support the community the better outlooks will become on the company thus increasing morale and revenue.
Starting a mandatory meeting with optional activities for your employees and looking out more over their general health can not only help keep them informed but also improve their productivity. Mandatory meetings should involve and changes that have occurred and that are going to occur. Such as policy updates in procedure, uniform, health guidelines etc. It should also maintain a safe environment for employees to speak out on their ideas or discomforts in work, to better adjust these policies to practicality. An optional grouping should also be available for the companies outreach. Volunteer work, decoration for holidays or special promotions, anything extracurricular that can both positively impact your employees and the view of the company should also be available. Giving them a reason to be excited and to positively impact the community around them will boost the company’s morale and productivity. Things would include planning holidays or promotions together, volunteer work, etc. This way you know your employees are keeping up to date with policies and also giving them an option to make an impact around them; while establishing deeper connections with both their coworkers and customers. This kind of interaction will also promote efficient teamwork, which can become critical during rush hours and the overall productivity of the store. Encouraging positive teamwork, also discourages negative behavior “…explained that lesser forms of mistreatment, characterized by rudeness and disregard for others, can transform into more aggressive actions, in the form of physical violence within organizations. This spiraling circle of incivility and coercion stems from social interactions between instigators and targets.” (Jixia). A stronger team, also allocates less room for such misconduct.
The second categories of outreach are more focused on the employees you hire. Having a more aggressive perception on your employees for symptoms of depression, burnout, and dissatisfaction will also save the company in the long run. “…that the workplace benefits from improved functioning are substantial and may in fact exceed the usual costs of depression treatment. Thus, purely on economic rather than clinical or quality-of-life grounds, this argues in favour of more aggressive outreach to employees with symptomatic disease that results in initiation of treatment before their symptoms are allowed to persist and result in a disability claim” (Birnbaum). Avoiding workers comp, lawsuits, employee, and machinery breakdown along with the cost that follow. This will be easy to enact with proper training, leadership, and outreach for the employees. Keeping employee health a priority keeps them satisfied and motivated in their job, thus encouraging productivity, and reducing the turnaround rate with associated costs (Genly). This would go both for management and higher up- to also make sure your management is staying at a nominal average.
Now many organizations don’t deem outreach a significant or cost-effective way to handle employees. But, not only are moderate cases of distress more impactful in the workplace, they also are associated with substantial costs to employers from damaged or stolen goods, reduced productivity, absenteeism, and the medical expenses that follow. These moderate cases are also twice as detrimental to companies, because of the commonness and lack of intervention (Hilton). Replacing machinery, constantly maneuvering shifts or hiring new employees is something that all companies should be looking to prevent. Especially since it was earlier stated that the prevention of such with: better training with employees, proper leadership placement, and outreach is cheaper than the above costs. For each corporation, it is best to look at motivations, both in itself, and those who are hired (Taylor). Even a corporate fast food company that is completely devoid of moral values, should make these three changes to increase productivity. Simply because their revenue will go up while avoiding unnecessary costs, as well for those that do wish to think about their employees more personally. Utilizing training, leadership and outreach your company can create a positive impact all around the globe and establish an adoring customer base- all because of your investment into your employees.
Birnbaum, H.G., et al. “Management of Major Depression in the Workplace: Impact on Employee Work Loss.” Disease Management & Health Outcomes, vol. 7, no. 3, Mar. 2000, pp. 163-171. EBSCOhost http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=4728720&site=ehost-live
Genly, Beth. “Safety & Job Burnout Understanding Complex Contributing Factors.” Professional Safety, vol. 61, no. 10, Oct. 2016, pp. 45-49. EBSCOhost http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=118891115&site=ehost-live
Hilton, Michael and Harvey Whiteford. “Associations between Psychological Distress, Workplace Accidents, Workplace Failures and Workplace Successes.” International Archives of Occupational & Environmental Health, vol. 83, no. 8, 15 Oct. 2010, pp. 923-933. EBSCOhost http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=55166441&site=ehost-live
Jixia, Yang. “Can’t Serve Customers Right? An Indirect Effect of Co-Workers’ Counterproductive Behaviour in the Service Environment.” Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, vol. 81, no. 1, Mar. 2008, pp. 29-46. EBSCOhost http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=31688812&site=ehost-live
McCune, Jenny C. “When Customers Are Bad Apples.” Nation’s Business, vol. 86, no. 2, Feb. 1998, p. 50. EBSCOhost http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=149552&site=ehost-live
Olaniyan, Oyeniyi Samuel and Sigurd W. Hystad. “Employees’ Psychological Capital, Job Satisfaction, Insecurity, and Intentions to Quit: The Direct and Indirect Effects of Authentic Leadership.” [“Capital psicológico, satisfacción laboral, inseguridad e intención de abandono de los trabajadores: efectos directos e indirectos del liderazgo auténtico”]. Revista De Psicologia Del Trabajo Y De Las Organizaciones, vol. 32, no. 3, Dec. 2016, pp. 163-171. EBSCOhost http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=119963263&site=ehost-live
Taylor, Carl E. “Changing the Patterns in International Health: Motivation and Relationships.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 101, no. 7, July 2011, pp. 1213-1215. EBSCOhost http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=61353746&site=ehost-live