From the front line: Don’t let the good ones get away

From the front line: Don’t let the good ones get away

The great British summer is coming to an end (anyone else feel it’s a little early?) and a lot of part-time and summer team members are leaving soon. Now is a good time to think about how you can make it easy and attractive for the hard working and talented ones – the ones you really want to come back – to return to work for you at Christmas and next summer.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have had a number of hard-working, smart and motivated young people with us over the years. They ‘get it’, enjoy hospitality, get along with the wider team and aren’t afraid to roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty. They are a credit to their parents, their schools and themselves.

If you’re lucky enough to have employed some of these great employees, if you haven’t already, make sure you go out of your way to tell them how much they are appreciated and how much their contribution to the team is valued. A tap on the shoulder, a quick handwritten note or card, even an e-mail saying something along the lines of:

• ‘Having you on the team has been great. We’ve really enjoyed having you as part of the team.’
• ‘It’s been great working with you. Our success this summer is a lot to do with you.’
• ‘Thank you for all your hard work and being such a dedicated and valuable employee.’

Is always really appreciated. Let them know if they ever need an employment or personal reference in the future, they can count on you.

You could throw a back to school party, take them out for pizza, or figure out a special way to reward them for doing a great job. Tell them if they don’t plan on coming back, you would really like for them to recommend a replacement. You will be amazed at how well this works. Ask them if it’s okay if you kept in touch with them occasionally during the year.

If you can use them during the Christmas holidays, let them know and give them specific dates. If they are living or studying locally, perhaps you can get them back in for occasional shifts to help fill gaps.

After they leave, keep them active on your rota software, payroll and point-of-sale systems so it’s quick and easy to activate their status when they return. Don’t risk losing a good temporary, seasonal employee forever. Give them plenty of reasons to return and do it now! When they come back, you’ll have someone who knows the business, knows how the team works, and is trained in their job. Plus it will be one less position you have to fill in a contracting hospitality labour market.