Think outside the box to attract and retain employees

It is becoming harder and harder to attract and retain good employees.  Turnover in restaurants is high but sometimes thinking outside the box and offering more benefits could help with retaining good employees.

Many employers already offer the “basic benefits” to their full-time employees, which includes medical, dental, and vision insurance; 401(k) retirement plan; and paid time off.

Several companies have expanded their benefits offerings to include part-time employees as well.  Not only are they offering benefits to part-time employees but they have added several other creative benefits that help with employee retention. Below are a few traditional ideas:

  • Paid parental leave, including benefits for adoption, surrogacy, and fertility treatment;
  • Reimbursed commuter expenses, such as transit passes;
  • Tuition reimbursement towards a bachelor’s degree;
  • Schedule flexibility to accommodate crew members’ scheduling preferences;
  • Direct deposit or same day pay so employees are paid quicker;
  • Childcare benefits;
  • Short-term disability;
  • Long-term disability;
  • Life insurance;
  • Long-term incentives; and
  • Free or reduced meals to employees during their shift.

Also consider more out-of-the-box ideas. Here are just a few we’ve heard from our clients:

  • Think about turning the tables on your staff. They spend their time serving and preparing food, but how often do they get to sit down and enjoy it? Offering them meals and hosting employee dinners is not only a people-pleaser, but it also makes sense from a service perspective as it helps front-of-house employees understand the menu better.
  • Give staff the chance to enjoy the “diner experience” by giving them gift certificates for free meals with a guest.
  • Use contests or award programs to recognize employees who achieve high sales, push a new menu item, etc.
  • As more businesses are offering higher pay, some employees are opting to work fewer hours as they are bringing home the same net paycheck as they were previously by working less. Consider offering a bonus for employees as they reach certain hours. For example, each time an employee reaches working 500 hours, give them a $500 bonus.  Incentivize them by letting them know that for every hour worked, the company will pay an extra dollar if they reach a certain hour requirement.

Reducing turnover and retaining good employees is important for stability in your business as well as keeping labor costs manageable. Bear in mind, though, that there may be tax implications for providing some of these benefits. For example, you may need to report and pay use tax on the cost of food and paper for free or reduced employee meals in many states.  Our team here at Antares Group is ready to work with you to find positive solutions for both your business and your employees.

Carrie Smith is a Senior Manager with our Financial Accounting Services Team. She can be reached at cbs@antarescpas.com.

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