A headshot of Temoc Morfin, Founder and CEO of Cilantro Taco Grill.
Temoc Morfin, Founder and CEO of Cilantro Taco Grill recommends implementing professional development programs in your company to help employees of all levels get promoted. — Temoc Morfin

If you could create your own fantasy board of directors, who would be on it? CO— connects you with thought leaders from across the business spectrum and asks them to help solve your biggest business challenges. In this edition, we ask an expert about how you can keep valued employees.

In this edition of "Ask the Board," we're excited to feature Temoc Morfin, Founder and CEO of Cilantro Taco Grill, a fast-casual Mexican restaurant with multiple locations in Illinois. Morfin shared his tips on how to keep the great employees you worked so hard to find.

It's more expensive and time-consuming to hire new employees than it is to retain the current ones. That's why employee retention should be top of mind, no matter your industry. By following these pointers, you can ensure your hard workers are in it for the long haul.

Connect to staff

It doesn't matter what your position is in the company or how senior you are, you should know your employees. Taking the time to speak and get to know each person working for your company goes a long way toward connecting the whole team. For larger brands, connecting with your team members can look like regularly visiting locations, conducting surveys, and offering generous merit programs that reward loyalty.

It's important to learn and know all the elements of your business. Not only does this connect you with your customers, but it also assures employees that you're all in this together.

Temoc Morfin, Founder and CEO of Taco Cilantro Grill, based in Illinois

Get behind the counter

It's important to learn and know all the elements of your business. Not only does this connect you with your customers, but it also assures employees that you're all in this together. For example, there were times throughout COVID when I and other members of the corporate team worked alongside our employees, and we saw many positive relationships come out of this experience.

Use promotional tactics

Just like anyone else you consider family, you want to see the ones you love succeed. That's why it’s a good idea to have tracks and programs within your company that help employees of all levels be promoted. Cilantro Taco Grill joined the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant and Hospitality Leadership Center program, which provides certifications to line cooks, kitchen managers, and restaurant managers. Our employees can take these certifications with them throughout their careers.

Offer steps to ownership

In late 2023, I made the decision to partner with FranSmart and turn Cilantro Taco Grill into a franchise. One of the reasons I did this is to give employees the opportunity to have the same success as my family and to build generational wealth through hard work like we have. I wanted employees to grow alongside the brand and even have the opportunity to become owners if that's the path they wanted to take.

Communicate openly

Prioritizing open communication channels is of the utmost importance. Employees should feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and feedback without fearing consequences. Actively listen to their input and implement the appropriate changes so their voices are heard and appreciated.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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