Regular group meals improve worker loyalty by boosting camaraderie among your employees.
Ultimately, improving loyalty can help reduce costly employee turnover.
Remember that training and coaching new hires costs the company time and money instead of saving it. The more often you go through the hiring cycle, the more money you're likely losing. Equally important, workers who leave take whatever you've invested in them out the door with them.
Fostering camaraderie can only help workers feel more involved in and connected to the business. And that helps boost loyalty. Plus, building camaraderie can only help rather than hinder teamwork throughout a tire dealership or service shop. Improved teamwork fuels productivity.
Regular group meals are deeply rooted in the family customs of countless cultures. In America, the family dinner may be the best example of this ritual. You may not have noticed, but a lot of training and grooming can occur at family meals. For instance, family elders teach younger folks rules of behavior as well as customs and traditions. In this familiar setting, rules and customs are continually reinforced.
What's more, mealtime in many households is when problems are aired out and resolved, where disputes are settled. The dinner table may be relatively neutral ground at which family issues can be decided without resorting to screaming or fisticuffs.
Sports teams are another example of institutions where mealtime fosters healthy discussions and builds camaraderie. Team meals are common customs in the sports world. In many situations, players are expected to attend these mealsespecially younger ones or those who've recently joined the team. Mealtime may be one of the settings in which eldersrespected veteransinculcate younger players with team values, codes of conduct, etc.
In an automotive service facility, group meals may foster discussions among both older and younger, less-experienced technicians. It creates a setting in which they can share tips, techniques, tool ideas, etc., in a more relaxed setting.
Whether it's your family gathering, a team meal or a staff dinner, mealtime may serve another important purpose: Questions can be asked, issues can be discussedand it may create an informal venue where topics are broached that would not be raised any other time. Providing that outlet for discontent and disagreement may nip problems in the bud. It also may prevent petty issues from becoming major outbursts or feuds.
In many businesses, periodic staff meals are the only time many workers have to get to know each other betteror get to know each other at all. It's a valuable opportunity for them to learn what they have or don't have in common with each other. These shared interests and common experiences are emotional glue that binds people together.
It also can reduce the chances of some workers feeling disconnected from the team and its group effort. Mealtime may be a casual but effective setting in which employees bond over the shared responsibility of satisfying the customer.
Consider scheduling team meals quarterly or perhaps every other month. It may be cost-effective to use a room at a local restaurant or, where necessary, set up folding tables and chairs in the shop. Then provide pizza, sandwiches, a buffet mealas long as the chow tastes good, it needn't be an elaborate feast. The single most important theme is getting the team together. Always schedule these events well in advance to minimize or eliminate potential excuses for missing the meal.
No, team meals will not and cannot overcome every obstacle to teamwork and/or fostering a more harmonious work environment, but it may be a cost-effective step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, let me know if you have developed a group meal ritual at your business. I appreciate your feedback.