Sam Caucci.

"As an industry, we can’t just try to speed up the onboarding process as our solution to the labor shortage," Caucci writes.

Continual Training is a Game-Changer for Restaurants’ Success

Now, more than ever, brands can boost retention by investing in employees' growth.

By now, America’s entire workforce is familiar with the ongoing labor shortage. It’s taught restaurants that the future of work depends on how well employees are trained and what companies are doing to retain talent. Some 4.3 million people quit or changed jobs in December 2021 during what has come to be known as the “Great Resignation.” A new Pew Research Center survey found that 63 percent of workers who quit a job in 2021 said that “lack of opportunities for advancement” was a major reason for why they quit. That’s why companies have to start investing in their employees’ growth.

“Free agent” employees in this marketplace aren’t looking for just any job. They’re looking for a place where they fit in to the culture and can continue to grow both personally and professionally. A content employee wants to better themselves every day because they’re proud to work at your restaurant, they believe in your company’s values and they trust that there’s opportunity to advance within.

Now more than ever, restaurants need to level up their continuous training efforts to prove they want their employees to grow. Here are three ways restaurants can do that and, in turn, boost employee retention:

Put the fun back in training.

Training doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be 1,000 percent less boring—even fun. Technologies can focus on making onboarding engaging, deceptively simple and highly effective. We prepare people to win at work with the use of science-backed quick-burst mobile games that develop and upskill employees. Before the pandemic, only 1 percent of workforce training solutions were built to be mobile-first, meaning most job training only happens on a video platform nobody wants to watch. This failure to adopt common-sense technology has resulted in companies struggling to hire, onboard and reskill workers post-COVID. Over the years, we’ve seen that our entertaining, interactive approach pays off. According to a USF study, 1Huddle participants learned 45 percent faster than those who engaged in video-based learning. Importantly, employees using 1Huddle get to have fun and embrace their competitive side while doing it. Kimberly Kelly, a team member at Dog Haus in Houston, said she was at the top of the company’s training leaderboard all throughout her onboarding process and now she’s the one teaching others about what it takes to work at the rapidly growing brand. When proper training leads to career advancement, it’s a win for the employee and the restaurant.

Have training content that means something.

Leaders today struggle by too often failing to build meaningful relationships with their workforce. This results in workers that are disconnected, disoriented and disengaged. Companies have to show that they care about every employee and guest that walks through their doors. You can offer continuing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) education and even incorporate your brand’s vision and company values into training. Eighty-two percent of companies in 1Huddle’s portfolio have used our platform for DEI-related training in the last six months. DEI training builds awareness and skills that help cultivate a safe, compassionate and equitable office culture where everyone feels valued. Inclusive workplaces not only improve employee experiences but also result in greater financial returns and a competitive edge over competitors. From targeted trainings to learning everything about DEI, we understand that in order to maintain a workplace of tolerance and acceptance, you must continue to learn. We also know that to create a positive culture within your workplace, your team members have to be aligned with your core values so they can contribute to making your restaurant a great place to work.

Focus on knowledge retention.

To be successful in any role, you have to maintain job knowledge for the long-term. If your employees don’t remember what they learned during training, did they even really learn anything at all? We researched how people learn and why they remember things. Games that test you are a challenge, and challenge is critical to learning. Games make skills stick. With over 56 million games played on our platform across millions of global workers, our research shows 76 percent more material is retained in less time than LMS methods. Traditional training methods result in employees forgetting 70 percent of information in three days and 87 percent in 30 days. Yet after only 26 days of using 1Huddle, Raw Juice employees saw a 48 percent increase in knowledge retention. Likewise, 33 days after launching 1Huddle, knowledge retention jumped 67 percent for Dog Haus employees.

As an industry, we can’t just try to speed up the onboarding process as our solution to the labor shortage. According to Accenture, 80 percent of American workers are doing jobs with no recent skill instruction in the last five years. Effective and continual training has never been more paramount in maintaining a successful workforce. We have to be more focused on our team members’ long-term goals, and we must provide frequent training and learning opportunities to keep employees excited about what they do. When we all work together to foster an environment of continued personal and professional growth, restaurants will see their team members level up, and our industry will ultimately overcome the crisis and raise retention rates.  

Sam Caucci is the CEO and founder of 1Huddle, a workforce tech company that upskills, trains, and motivates employees through the use of science-backed, quick-burst mobile games. Sam has managed and coached sales and leadership teams for publicly held, private sector, and franchised companies across the globe for more than 15 years. Caucci founded 1Huddle on the belief that every worker deserves access to the job training, support, and mentorship needed to win on the job. With a diverse array of clients across the globe, 1Huddle has impacted people in a wide range of sectors.

read more