Retention 101: Three Steps to a Happier Staff

publication date: Jun 18, 2024
author/source: Rushi Patel


There's a "secret sauce" for keeping workers engaged, and contrary to popular belief, it's not their paycheck: it's fulfillment. According to a recent survey of 2,000 small business owners and employees, 82% of workers are happy in their roles when they feel fulfilled. A deeper look at the data reveals that strong relationships, flexibility and a better pay experience are a recipe for fulfillment. But these ingredients only come together when your restaurant has the right strategies in place to support your staff.

Here are three ways to help your team succeed.

#1 - Enable Smarter, Smoother Scheduling

The hourly employees we surveyed said they're more interested in having flexibility than a bigger number on their paycheck - but only 31% of owners have made flexibility a priority. This should be a wake-up call to identify and eliminate inefficiencies in your scheduling processes that may prevent staff from enjoying a more flexible work experience.

This can include:

  • Adopting auto-scheduling technology that accounts for employees' preferences, conflicts and commitments.
  • Offering easy access to schedules, ideally through a convenient mobile app.
  • Matching staffing to demand forecasts to prevent overstaffing and understaffing - both of which have detrimental effects on employees and the restaurant alike.

Modernized scheduling is a no-brainer. You'll better support your team's overall well-being while saving your managers valuable time - time that they can reinvest in customers and employees.

#2 - Foster Stronger Relationships

Local restaurants are known for their family-like camaraderie, but that closeness doesn't emerge out of thin air. It takes work to build a cohesive culture, and that work is vital for retention: our survey shows 64% of hourly workers rank "relationships with coworkers" as their number-one factor for loving their jobs.

Strong relationships grow where barriers fall. To streamline employee communications, consider adopting a team communication app instead of relying on unorganized streams of emails and texts. When your staff have the tools to express their needs (and themselves), making connections becomes a lot easier.

#3 - Reinvent the Pay Experience

Providing competitive pay is crucial, but how employees are paid is just as important as how much. On-demand pay (also known as earned wage access, or EWA), for example, is an increasingly popular benefit that we found 37% of hourly employees prioritize in a job experience. Offerings like Homebase's Cash Out, which allows employees to access their wages immediately after any shift, lets staff cover everyday expenses without waiting out a bi-weekly pay cycle. The financial security EWA provides is also a major retention booster: 93% of employers say offering EWA has positively impacted retention rates.


Restaurants are known for being high-stakes workplaces, but there's a difference between taking the heat and burning out. When the restaurant employee turnover rate averages a shocking 75%, it's clear that a demanding job can easily become a draining one. Fortunately, restaurant owners have a bevy of tech tools available to give their staff what they need, fostering fulfillment and creating healthier work environments.

Rushi PatelRushi Patel is the CRO and co-founder of Homebase.