Overworked and understaffed impacts your brand

Your business’s brand is more than just the product you sell or the aesthetics of your restaurant. Your company’s brand is shaped by every interaction that your customers have with your people.

Forward-facing businesses like the restaurant and hospitality industry focus on both people and product.  Most companies create standards and expectations that emphasize putting the customer first. But, if those standards and expectations are not met and executed sufficiently, your brand will suffer.

Great customer service comes from great staff. Staffing issues that are plaguing most companies – large and small – can tear away at and even destroy the most well-established brands if not addressed properly.

In today’s environment, I see two types of staffing issues that can hurt your brand image the most: being understaffed and overworked and the turnover mix, each of which feed into each other.

Let’s first look at understaffed and overworked.  Understaffing is an issue that contributes to poor customer service in many ways. Employees may not have the time or resources to provide the quality and standards that the customer comes to expect if they’re overworked or understaffed.  Customers may face long wait times or turnaround times only to receive a sub-par product.  Customers know and can feel that your employees are struggling to meet the requirements of their position.  This causes undo stress on the employee thus feeding into the challenge of retention.

Second is the turnover mix. Today, turnover is extremely high in the hospitality and service businesses.  Because of this, many companies are understaffed or undertrained.  Undertraining is most likely the result of many companies often choosing to cut training short and place their employees on the floor or in their business quickly. They don’t have the time to train and simply need bodies to get the work done.  These undertrained employees become increasingly frustrated and can negatively impact morale because they are aware that they cannot maintain the standards that they know they should.

Could improving processes, eliminating unnecessary tasks and standardizing company procedures help when you’re suffering from being understaffed, overworked and undertrained?  It might be a good idea to ask your employees if there are things that they do in a day that are unnecessary or provide no important value to the product or service you deliver.

This raises another question. When people’s jobs depend on meeting metrics and maintaining the status quo, can you fault them for their reluctance to expend energy toward new creation and invention?

At the end of the day our employees want to leave their job feeling fulfilled, feeling like they contributed, feeling like they made a difference and feeling good about their day.  Then and only then will we be able to get back to where we need to be.

Mark Kashgegian, CPA, is the Managing Partner with Antares Group, Inc. He can be reached at mkashgegian@antarescpas.com.

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