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10 Strategies To Keep Your Deskless Workers Engaged

Your back-of-house team plays a huge role in the success of your restaurant. Without them, your customer-facing employees won’t have the supplies they need to do their jobs effectively.

That’s why it’s crucial to keep your deskless workers as engaged as possible. However, this can be tough to do since you likely won’t spend as much time with them as you do with front-facing staff members.

We’ve put together this article to help you figure it out. Keep reading to find 10 employee engagement strategies you can use to keep your deskless workers sharp.

Introduce an employee engagement platform to your back of house

Digital signage is a versatile technology that can provide a wide range of benefits to your business, including powering an employee engagement platform.

Setting up an employee engagement platform for your back-of-house staff allows you to easily communicate with these workers – even when you’re not back there.

For example, an employee engagement platform can empower you to:

  • Keep team members on task
  • Share progress towards goals
  • Remind employees about important health and safety information
  • Communicate urgent announcements
  • Share motivating messages with your team

Collectively, these features can help you improve the performance of your hourly workers by increasing their level of engagement.

To add an employee engagement platform to your back-of-house area, you’ll need the following items:

  • Screens
  • Digital signage software
  • Media players (only necessary if your screens aren’t connected to the internet)

The software that you select will have a big impact on how effectively you’re able to leverage this technology to reach your goals. With UPshow SHIFT, UPshow’s employee engagement platform, you can do just that.

Update your back-of-house layout

The layout of your back of house can also play a huge role in how effective your team is. 

There are six primary principles of back-of-house design:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Simplicity
  3. Efficient flow of movement
  4. Ease of sanitation
  5. Ease of supervision
  6. Efficient use of space

If you don’t think that your back-of-house space fulfills all of these principles, then it could be time to make some changes. 

Otherwise, your deskless workers may continue underperforming simply because the layout you’re using doesn’t allow them to work at their full potential.

Ease of supervision is an especially important principle to get right. If you can create a back-of-house space that you have sufficient vision of from your front of house, it will be much easier for you to keep your team engaged and on-task.

Set goals and track performance

Setting restaurant goals and clearly communicating them is another important part of keeping your staff engaged. 

You want everyone in your back of house to have a clear understanding of what their benchmark is for success. Employees should also be able to easily see how they’re progressing towards these goals. That way, they’ll know immediately if they need to start working harder to meet them.

UPshow’s employee engagement platform makes this easy to do. You can use back-of-house screens to communicate team progress towards goals like a certain number of sales. The right software can integrate with your point-of-sale system to power sales leaderboards. Workers can see how their sales directly contribute to the bottom line either in terms of revenue or unit sales.

Provide ongoing training to team members

Your hourly workforce has a lot of potential, and it is your job to unlock that potential. One of the ways to do this is to provide them with thorough training, especially during their onboarding.

Ongoing training helps employees become the best versions of themselves. It’s also one of the most effective ways to address common issues or scenarios that could happen in the workplace. 

For example, you might find that your back-of-house team isn’t prepping certain items in ways that are up to standard. You could offer those employees an easily-accessible training module.

With UPshow SHIFT, your screens can be used as a tool to facilitate faster, more efficient training. Use screens to inform workers when they have outstanding training classes and make those training courses easy to access via their mobile devices by scanning a QR code.

Give employees things to work on when they’ve finished their task

If you want your employees to remain engaged throughout their shifts, then they need to have tasks to work on. That’s why it’s a good idea to give your employees a list of things they can do once they’ve finished their main jobs for the day.

One idea is to provide them with a checklist that looks something like this:

Image from EagleOwl

But you can also use on-premise screens to track ancillary daily tasks that have been completed and those that still need to be done. Then you can share that information with your back-of-house team periodically to remind them of what they can work on when they have extra time.

Doing this should help to reduce the amount of idle time that your hourly workers have, and foster greater efficiency with workloads. 

Get buy-in from back-of-house leaders

You can’t constantly monitor your deskless workers. It’s critical that you have buy-in from back-of-house leaders.

Ideally, supervisors and managers in your back of house should be your eyes, ears and voice when you’re not there. 

If you don’t feel like you have that currently, then try to focus on strengthening relationships with your team leaders. Remind them that you’re counting on them and make your expectations clear.

Recognize employees when they’re doing well

People value recognition more than you might think. Research shows that employees who believe they will be recognized are 2.7 times more likely to be highly engaged.

There are a few different ways to recognize employees. The most obvious is doing so verbally, which simply means letting a team member know that they’ve done a good job and that you appreciate them.

But you can also bring your recognition up a notch by rewarding workers for a job well done. For example, you could start giving out an employee of the month award that comes with a cash bonus.

Other ideas for incentives include:

  • Paid days off
  • Free meals
  • A menu item named after them
  • Tip matching
  • Letting hourly workers make their own schedule for a week

Offer career advancement opportunities

Your back-of-house employees are much more likely to remain engaged when their professional goals align with the business. 

In other words, when team members know they have the opportunity to be promoted at your restaurant, they’re more likely to take their jobs more seriously.

That’s why it’s a good strategy to hire for new positions internally and communicate your promotion policy to your team. You can even set staff members up with professional growth plans so they know exactly what they need to do in order to be promoted.

Involve back of house in your decision-making

People tend to buy into strategies more when they feel like they played a part in creating them. So if there’s a change that you’d like to bring to your back of house, make sure that you get their input before making it.

You can do this in a few different ways.

One option is to have regular meetings with your staff. At these meetings, you can tell them what’s on your mind and give them the opportunity to tell you what’s on theirs.

That being said, it isn’t enough to just hear the team out. You should also make an effort to incorporate their ideas into your decisions. That way, they truly feel like they have a voice.

It can also be a good idea to provide your deskless workers with an anonymous way to provide you with feedback. That way, they’re able to tell you what they’re truly thinking without worrying about judgment or repercussions.

Make sure your team has the tools it needs to succeed

Even if you cultivate the most engaged back-of-house team in the world, it won’t do you much good if they don’t have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.

That’s why another important point is to make sure that you’re listening to your team about what they need and trying to provide them with it whenever you can.

Additionally, when your back-of-house staff sees that you’re willing to take their concerns seriously, they may reciprocate by working a little harder to help you hit your goals.

UPshow makes it easier to keep your back-of-house team engaged

The first step in getting started is selecting the right employee engagement platform. UPshow SHIFT could be just what you’re looking for.