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Four Ways to Retain Employees During the Great Resignation

By Business of Baking Blog posted 09-30-2021 12:00:00 AM


In this post, learn how to retain employees during The Great Resignation. Discover four ways to keep your employees engaged and committed to their jobs during the pandemic, including offering flex scheduling, providing resources and tools, creating an open dialogue, and emphasizing appreciation.

According to, The industries hit hardest by the quits in September are leisure and hospitality—including those who work in the arts and entertainment, as well as in restaurants and hotels—trade, transportation and utilities, professional services and retail. When it comes to leisure and hospitality specifically, the industry logged nearly a million quits—987,000—with most coming from accommodation and food services workers.”

The Great Resignation is “an informal name for the widespread trend of a significant number of workers leaving their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.” There are tons of theories floating around as to why so many folks have either left or have no plans of returning to the workforce. However, I rather not focus on the reasons why folks left, but rather on how we can keep them from leaving. So, in this post, I’m sharing ideas for increasing employee retention.

Build a better work environment.

Work environment and work life balance play key roles in how an employee feels about their job. Research shows that if a company wants to increase productivity and commitment amongst its workers they must provide an environment that meets the needs of their employees by creating good working conditions.

Of course, your business should focus on sales and customer service, but don’t neglect the people who make the company run. As an employer, make sure to talk to your staff about how they are feeling. Conduct surveys to collect their thoughts on processes and ways to improve the work environment. This will help employees feel like their voices matter, especially if you implement changes that came from the feedback. This will also help employees feel more valued within your company. It’s a total “win-win”!

Clear Health/Safety Policies

The Food & Beverage industry has always paid attention to health & safety policies, but the Global Pandemic took safety concerns up a notch for both staff and patrons. In addition, getting sick is not only the concern of staff anymore, but many are also plagued with the fear of getting which is an additional mental stressor. Therefore, it is more important than ever to be upfront with staff and directly address any concerns they may have with returning to work and/or helping customers face-to-face.

First, you should clearly communicate your health & safety policies with staff and have relevant information clearly posted for both them and customers to easily locate. In the least, these policies should follow the minimum health protocols set by your local & national government. Second, make it clear to staff that you are there or will be there to back them up if any customer refuses to follow your policies. Staff can work to enforce policies, but if management doesn’t support them when customers make waves staff members will no longer feel like they have the support of management and will likely shake their confidence in management. Third, if possible, provide free medical testing from time to time. This seems like a small act, but it will definitely lay to rest any concerns staff may have that you’re not taking their safety seriously. Finally, if possible, offer other health/wellness benefits to help keep their peace of mind. This could be medical benefits, additional time off for sick leave or doctor’s visits.

Use of Technology

Another way to improve the work environment is to incorporate technology. When you make it easier for staff to do their job and improve their efficiency at work, they are more likely to remain with the company. In fact, one study showed that companies that “used restaurant technology reduced staff turnover by 13%.”

Tech options could range from the implementation of a new POS, joining an Online Ordering app or creating your own Self-Serve Order Platform or Online Form. There are so many options available. I recommend asking your staff about their pain points and researching solutions that can help them do their jobs better and more efficiently.

Flexibility When Possible

The most successful businesses to endure hard times are the ones with the ability to change. These businesses find themselves in the midst of a problem and either adapt to meet the needs of their current customers or develop new solutions to reach an entirely new audience. Flexibility and the ability to pivot in business is what has allowed quite a few businesses to thrive during the pandemic. That same flexibility is going to help you survive this labor shortage. Have open dialogue with the staff that has stuck with you through this time and show some flexibility when it comes to time off related to health or childcare.

Foster an environment where others are willing to pitch in when other staff may not be available. If you have the capacity, train staff to be able to do other jobs when needed. In other words, train back-ups in case of emergencies. If you’re really short staffed, everyone should know the basics just in case they are needed to jump in.


The pandemic hit each of us in different ways, but we will get through this as a community. If you’re struggling with retaining staff or attracting new staff, consider being flexible when possible, implementing & communicating policies that strengthen confidence in staff, and create a work environment in which staff can be proud and enjoy.

Cyd N. Mitchell
Business Blogger, Retail Bakers of America

Cydni N. Mitchell (aka Cyd) is a Bakery Consultant and the Sweet Business Coach behind Sweet Fest®. Based in Atlanta, GA, Sweet Fest® is an online company that supports the business needs of the Sweet Community in the areas of professional development, marketing, branding and web design.

By trade, Cyd is an accountant & financial analyst with a Masters from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the Founder of the Sugar Coin Academy, an online business academy for business owners in the baking and sweets industry, and she is also the organizer of The Ultimate Sugar Show, Georgia’s Largest Annual Baking and Sweets Expo in Atlanta. She is also the Business Blogger for the Retail Bakers of America.