4 Ways to Train and Maintain Overnight Restaurant Employees
The overnight restaurant shift can sound like a dark, scary option that only the strong can endure. In reality, the overnight shift provides options and opportunities to many individuals with children, part-time day jobs, or diverse schedules. This shift can be difficult to staff for, but once you hire, supporting an employee is critical to retain them. Whether the employee is experienced in the overnight shift, or this is their first time, knowing how to support them will benefit your team in the long run.
The Student Becomes the Master
Your existing employees are your best asset. See who on your overnight team can come in during daytime training to spend some time with your new overnight employees. While protocols will remain the same no matter what time of day, workflow and scheduling differ. Host a Q&A for those new overnight employees during which they can ask questions specific to their needs. This also gives tenured overnighters the opportunity to meet and guide the beginners. Creating a connection early gives them a sense of camaraderie before the shift even starts.
Compile a Resource Database
If someone interviews for an overnight position, you can be sure they have already looked up the pros and cons. Many articles lay out the truths, and getting ahead of the negatives is critical to your success. Create a database of resources specific to the overnight team, including tips for break time and sleep schedules. If possible, provide discounts for overnight employees for sleep masks, bed sheets, blackout curtains, coffee, teas, pillows, or yoga classes! If you plan team outings, try to include overnighters without disrupting their sleep schedule.
Healthy Transition, Transition, Transition
The transition to an overnight shift can take new employees a little time. Finding the right schedule, and ensuring your employee sticks religiously to that schedule, is critical to transition success. Make sure the new employee understands the transition timelines and expectations, and has ways to communicate comments or concerns.
Support Employees at Night with Tenured Staff
While preparing for the overnight shift is half the battle, it’s equally important for new employees to have support while on shift. Being an overnight employee provides a certain autonomy and knowledge that is gained when not all teams are readily available. However, this does not mean that team members can be immediately successful on their own. Ensure that a senior employee or team is present to provide backup if issues arise. Overnight training support creates structure and facilitates constant learning.
The overnight shift is not nearly as terrifying as it seems! Having systems and support in place can not only improve the training for those new employees, but also prepare your team for success.
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