The Importance of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement in the restaurant industry is essential for an organization’s bottom line. The process, however, is not as straightforward. To truly engage employees, companies need to go beyond a simple survey or annual questionnaire and interact with staff on a human level.

Jamie Griffin, Founder and Principal of Good Workforce, shares his expert advice on maximizing employee engagement to impact the success of your team, your customers and your overall brand experience.

Video Transcription

What is the greatest myth about employee engagement?

Jamie: So I think the biggest myth about employee engagement is that it’s a once-a-year activity. So I hear from a lot of executives that they have an engagement program, and when I dig in to ask about what that is they describe this survey with like 40 or 50 questions that they ask once a year. They get the feedback and responses from the employees or crew members and they do
absolutely nothing with it.

That is the opposite of what employee engagement is and companies who are successful are really going to look at, how do they increase the frequency but decrease the intensity so they can ask questions more frequently but fewer questions, and take that information and do something with it.

What are some effective employee engagement tools?

Jamie: So when it comes to employee engagement tools, I’m gonna go old-school and I would say that the best tool that any company, whether it be a restaurant company or in any industry, can embrace is to be genuine and authentic.

I think the most important thing we can do is recognize that our business is special and has a special story. Our relationship with our employees is special and that relationship with our customers really translates. I think the most important thing we can do is listen thoughtfully and make sure that we always represent ourselves, our brands and our relationships in a very authentic way.

How can HR professionals contribute toward employee engagement?

Jamie: When I think of one recommendation I would give to today’s practicing HR professional and the restaurant industry, it’s really to start putting the people back in to human relations. I think that’s easy to say but I think Sheryl did a great job from TDn2K, talking about how we put relationships in place instead of contracts. A great blog post to read.

I just reviewed a job description for an HR leader and he used the word human capital, human capital, human capital. What we have in reality is incredible human beings working the front lines of our restaurant or the rubber meeting the road for the guest experience. For the folks behind the line that are creating incredible products we have to really appreciate that these are human beings, they’re special in their own way, they have incredible lives and they’re an important part of the overall system that delivers the promise we make to our customers.

Group of employees high five each other, employee engagement in the restaurant industry