The Pizza Insider: 6 Ways to Handle Employee Burnout

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

6 Ways to Handle Employee Burnout


employee burnout
Remember that feeling of starting a new job? Trying to impress the boss by getting to work on time, showing off all your skills and waiting in line for that pat on the back?

When was the last time your staff acted that way? If it's been a while, they may be experiencing employee burnout. But it's not too late to turn things around.

Paul Diaz, a former restaurant manager and small business owner, shares his 6 tips for handling employee burnout with The Pizza Insider below. 

1. Communicate Effectively and Often. You won't know whether or not one of your team members is burned out without effective and regular communication. Don't wait for a performance review to see if there are issues; reach out to your team daily, or at least weekly. Take 15 minutes out of your schedule a few times per week and sit down with one or two staffers. Ask them how they're holding up and what you can do to help them. This small time commitment can lead to long-term benefits.

2. Add Responsibilities. Got fry cooks who've had it with whipping up the same French fries and calamari every night? Give them other responsibilities. If they're well organized, they might be able to take on a nightly produce order or help with scheduling. Any time you can give a staff member more to do, you combat potential burnout and make your job easier at the same time.

3. Cross-Train. If your grill people can't stand scrubbing off the grill and cleaning the hoods every night, consider cross-training them in another area. They might do well on the appetizer station or one of your sauté stations. Restaurant workers tend to be pretty versatile, you just have to unlock their potential. Don't forget that a server who's feeling burned out might also make a decent bartender or host.

4. Promote. While you don't want to move someone up randomly just to satisfy a burned out employee, promoting from within can be an effective way to keep your staff happy. Just make sure the move makes sense; the last thing you want to do is put workers in jobs they can't handle.

5. Systematize Your Review Process. If your performance review process has historically been inconsistent, get yourself on a schedule. Your team members want to know how they're doing on a regular basis and they also want to know what they need to do to get better. Set a goal to deliver performance reviews at least every six months and make sure you stay on top of any employee concerns.

6. Recognize Your Team Without Breaking the Bank. Cost is always an issue in a restaurant, so there's no need to take out a radio ad every time a team member goes above and beyond the call. What you can do is recognize them during meetings, and if your organization has a social media presence, shout-outs there can be effective (and free), as well. Make a big deal out of any accomplishments; the benefits can be far-reaching.

If worse comes to worst and you can't find a fix, it's important to know that sometimes it's OK to let employees go. 

Find more tips for handling employee burnout here.

--Liz Barrett
Author, Pizza: A Slice of American History
Editor at Large, PMQ Pizza Magazine


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