Business, like life … isn’t always fair.

That’s why there are industries that, historically, experience high turnover rates. And restaurants top the charts. In 2017, this industry saw a turnover rate of about 70 percent, with retail around 60 percent, transportation around 40 percent and technology and professional services about 30 percent. Regardless of the industry, turnover is draining – financially and emotionally.

I constantly hear business owners say “there’s a war for talent out there,” but this is inaccurate. The correct phrase should be “there’s a war with talent out there”. In many businesses we push people out more than we pull them in. There are various reasons for this, but here are some I believe to be most common:

1. You’re not a very nice person to work for.

This isn’t what you want to hear. But think about how you describe yourself; if that’s a tough, business-minded, no-nonsense or even a hard-ass manager (you know who you are), let’s face it – you’re probably a jerk to work for. Sure, your staff might not say anything, but they know it. Most people will tolerate a lot when they need a job, but only to a certain point. Everyone has a breaking point, and if you keep acting as the “hard-ass manager,” people will leave. Competition for good people is tight out there. Only companies with the best cultures will succeed.

The whole Gordon Ramsay, “yell, scream and demean your team” mentality only works on TV. It’s not the way to build a solid team. Good culture flows from the top down, and often, how you treat your team is how they will treat your guests.

2. They’re putting up with poor performers.

It’s always a big blow when you lose a good performer. But believe me, your best performers hate that you won’t hold your poor performers accountable This is a bigger deal than you think, and one of the key reasons good people leave. When you’ve got people who won’t pull their weight on the team or are negative, they bring everybody down. Perhaps these people are great with customers, which gives you an excuse to put up with their negative behavior. Be careful; you could lose your best people over it. After all, who wants to work twice as hard picking up the slack when the slackers are making just as much? ,

Making your best performers overperform is added stress. When they eventually walk, you’ll be left with the underperformers – and that’s when sales and service will suffer.

3. They don’t have the tools they need

Don’t make your staff’s jobs harder than they need to be. Business owners who do not invest in the basic tools needed for their team to do their job effectively (and efficiently) will be perceived – right or wrong – as greedy. Forcing your team to make do with shoddy equipment is a form of mental anguish. It’s stressful and it really sucks trying to execute service without the proper tools.

Your team will make the best of it for as long as they can. However, neglecting the needs of your staff certainly sets a tone for your business. If you don’t care, why should they? Furthermore, you may inadvertently be telling your people you don’t have the money to pay for necessary tools, which could make them fearful. If any of them have spent much time in any industry, they’ve likely been through this before and may not want to wait around for the checks to start bouncing.

4. There is no opportunity for growth

You knew it was coming; here’s where we get to talk about Millennials! You’ve read a lot about Millennials; it seems to be every business owner’s favorite topic. Of all the generalities and stereotypes out there, some are truth and some myth. Here are a few things you need to know about what this generation demands in an employer. Since this is probably a big part of your workforce, you can’t afford to ignore them.

  • They want flexible hours. Long shifts are not attractive to them, so you’ll need to offer shorter shifts so they can have the free time they so desire
  • They love technology. Most millennials grew up with mobile phones and the internet. It’s part of their daily life. Companies like Hot Schedules have online scheduling and training platforms that enable them to get up to speed quickly
  • They crave opportunity. They are eager to expand their skill sets and amass knowledge.

If you want to keep Millennials around, you need a comprehensive training program that allows them to sharpen their skills. Additionally, you should be offering continuing education on specific skills relevant to your business, communication skills and/or leadership training. Organizing onsite workshops or even offsite training classes will have a significant impact on their longevity.

5. You don’t appreciate them

I’m not talking about spoiling your staff with lavish gifts from faraway lands. But when was the last time you said the two most powerful words in the English language: “Thank You”?. As simple as it sounds, it’s often forgotten. We tend to take advantage of people with whom we are most familiar. Turns out there’s something to that old saying,  “familiarity breeds contempt.”.

When you are communicating with your team, offer sincere compliments and specific reasons you appreciate them. Make it personal, it’s important they know you care.

If you’re losing staff, think about the “war with talent”, that drives your best people away. How you treat the people who interact with your customers/clients makes all the difference. The golden rule is great, but don’t treat your team how YOU want to be treated; treat them how THEY want to be treated. The sentiment will surely make its way to your customers and ultimately to your bottom line.