From the Frontlines: A Conversation with Scott Dobrydney on Workplace Culture in Hospitality

poor workplace culture in hospitality creates high turnover

Welcome back to From the Frontlines! In this series, Harri highlights members of our team who are up to big things and have big insights into the hospitality industry. This week we chat with Scott Dobrydney, Account Executive at Harri on workplace culture in the restaurant industry, and the importance of creating a safe workspace.

Thanks for joining us today Scott! Hospitality has some of the highest turnover rates. Why do you think that is?

Happy to be here! There’s certainly a lot of factors that play into turnover, but workplace culture is a huge one. The problem is, oftentimes when we talk about workplace culture for restaurants, we forget about those non-customer facing roles. Those jobs are intertwined with the entire of your restaurant staff, so a failure to identify cultural problems here impacts every aspect of the workplace.

What do you think is the cause of poor culture in hospitality?

Celebrity chef culture, primarily those shown on television, popularize an already tumultuous work environment by emboldening those who feel they are warranted into abusive behavior. With this we see leaders failing to de-incentivize abusive behavior and don’t incentive good behavior. As new chefs come into the ranks, that becomes their only baseline for how a restaurant should operate. Most workplaces don’t have any sort of process for preventing and addressing abusive behavior, which makes it extremely difficult to find a solution.

That sounds unsustainable. What other negative impacts do you see following abusive restaurant cultures?

Exactly. Hospitality businesses are seriously struggling with staffing restaurants during COVID-19. Candidates are either moving towards the most supportive workplaces or are leaving the industry altogether. Fostering a harmful work culture means then when your workplace does manage to land a good hire, they’re not likely to stick around for very long.

To hone in on hiring inefficiencies — the industry has gotten to the point where hiring practices are swayed by managers or head chefs. They tend to favor candidates that will fall in line with the status quo, AKA that poor work environment, which creates a vicious cycle of workplace abuse.

What tools can HR leaders use to correct an abusive workplace culture?

Restaurants that are reopening during COVID-19 might be more inclined to reach out to senior employees who are stuck in the notions of an abusive workplace culture. HCM tech can assist these HR leaders in a few ways.

A communications platform is key to creating a supportive workplace culture. When employees have a private communications channel to voice concerns, they’re more likely to speak up and act as that catalyst for change.

Workplace trainings are a good start in addressing those concerns, not to mention they’re required by approximately 80% of states. The right platform helps HR leaders administer those trainings in meaningful ways, establish policies around them, and work towards de-incentivizing abusive behavior to ultimately improve team culture. At Harri, we put a huge focus on the employee experience, so we offer these tools to empower hospitality operators to manage and grow an amazing workplace culture.

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