Management Best Practices to Boost Employee Engagement

By: TimeForge Labor Management 

Every management job is different, but there are a few management best practices that all effective managers use. These key behaviors ensure that managers support their team and meet workplace goals. Below, we’ve outlined these behaviors and how they can benefit your customers.

Knowing that the restaurant industry is short-handed and that many managers are likely to be new to their roles, we have tried to focus on best practices that will work just as well in food service as elsewhere.

Best Practices for Managers to Follow

Below is a collection of best practices that managers can utilize everyday to boost productivity and engagement. Employee engagement is a cornerstone for employee retention, so it’s important that managers of all experience levels incorporate these best practices in their daily or weekly routines.

Here’s 7 best practices you can share with your customers to help them improve employee engagement and retention:

1. Motivate Employees
Ideally, employees should be coming into work for more reasons beyond needing a paycheck. Good managers will try to create a workplace atmosphere that helps workers feel engaged and interested. When employees are fully engaged, they tend to provide a better customer service experience, take initiative, and get things done quicker. They’ll also use creativity to solve tricky problems.

There are all sorts of ways to motivate employees. In some workplaces, it might include things like free gift cards for the employee who sells the most daily specials that day or a free vacation day for the employees who volunteer to stay late for inventory. However, the most effective thing is often the simplest. Building strong workplace bonds, where employees know and care about each other, lets employees get excited to come into work.

2. Create Clear Business Objectives and Take Steps to Achieve Them
One of the most important leadership skills you can have is just knowing what you are leading your staff toward. It’s also management best practice. Whether you’re in a new position or have been a manager for a while, it’s a good idea to take time to think about what you hope to achieve. Try to find clear, focused targets like becoming the go-to dinner spot in your neighborhood or exceeding profits for the last quarter.

Once you have these goals, think about steps your team can take to achieve them. Hold meetings to discuss what you’d like workers to do and why. Delegate tasks like arranging attractive produce displays or sweeping the patio to specific workers. This helps you keep your team focused on what’s important. Good managers give employees shared goals and clear strategies that help improve your store or restaurant.

3. Play to Your Team Members’ Strengths
A Gallup poll surveyed over 80,000 managers to find the secret to success. Their research shows all good managers have the ability to play to their employees’ strengths. What does this mean? It means managers should try to recognize where their employees excel and find ways to highlight these talents.

For example, a manager might notice that one retail worker does best with broad, big-picture tasks while another is great at detail-oriented tasks. They could then set the first worker to straighten up the store while asking the second one to handle an inventory count in the back room. When you do this, you ensure that employees feel satisfied and do tasks properly.

4. Support Your Employees
A lot of successful business management practices essentially boil down to supporting employees. Whether you run small businesses or big ones, employees do best when they know their manager has their back. You should always encourage your employees to share their needs with you and fix their problems when you can.

Managers have a lot of power, and they can use this power to make their employees’ lives better. Try to think of real-world problems your employees have, like grumpy customers or a need to fit school into their schedules. Then think of steps you can take to support your employees’ needs, like handling complaints or scheduling certain people on a night shift. These sorts of good management practices help to build trust and create an environment people want to work in.

5. Be Open to Discussing Problems With Team Members
As a manager, it’s natural to want to appear confident and in charge. However, you should never be afraid to be vulnerable too. It’s okay to discuss things like your concerns about a lack of lunch customers or your worries about chronic shoplifters.

There are a lot of benefits to working through problems together instead of trying to hide them. This can give employees the chance to suggest solutions you might not have thought of. Furthermore, it encourages better workplace communication. When you’re willing to talk about problems, your employees will feel more confident about coming to you with their own concerns.

6. Find Constructive Ways to Provide Feedback
Good managers recognize that employees aren’t mind readers. Often, there’s no way for an employee to know they need improvement if they aren’t told. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you should constantly criticize employees. Instead, the best feedback tends to be more constructive.

Regularly have performance reviews where you go over employee history and discuss their performance. Call attention to good behavior and emphasize that you’d like to see that behavior again. If you do notice any problems, specify why they’re an issue and offer a concrete way of fixing the problem. For example, instead of snapping, “don’t be late!” try sitting down with a tardy cashier to talk. Explain that being late for their shift puts an extra burden on their coworkers, and ask them to try to appear five minutes before their shift.

7. Give All Levels of Employees Access to Training Opportunities
Good management practices are about more than just keeping things running smoothly. It also involves helping each employee reach their full potential. Most companies do provide some mentorship programs and other opportunities to mid-level management. However, make sure even part-time employees are getting access to opportunities.

You might want to consider things like encouraging a waiter to become a shift manager or suggesting a dishwasher take over some prep duty in the kitchen. Try to provide training, recommendations, and other valuable encouragement. This has all sorts of perks for your business. It ensures smart, motivated people end up in positions where they can have a positive effect. It also provides employees with motivation to try hard at their job.

Want More Tips to Help Your Customers Retain Employees?
TimeForge can help. We have the tools your customers need to operate at their best. We provide everything from manager logbooks to employee scheduling services. You can also check out our free resources at for more information.