Development of your in-store managers is a critical piece in the retention strategy. According to a report by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), companies that offer comprehensive training enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training.1 By providing employees with the skills they need to succeed, their confidence and motivation will improve and ultimately result in a better customer experience.

Use existing tools such as performance appraisals to identify the strengths and weakness of your managers. Here you can assess individual performance levels and also compare the levels of performance within your management pool to identify your top performers, as well as understand the opportunities to advance the skills and behaviors of mid and bottom performers.

Implementing a Development Plan

The development planning for in-store managers should include tactical operational learnings and behavioral and leadership growth. To begin the performance appraisal process, the in-store manager should create an individual plan that includes the opportunities for development identified. They should then review the plan with their leaders, their peers, and support departments to gather feedback and ensure the plan is written effectively. The leaders will continue to work with the in-store manager to assess how they are performing with their plan and adjust the plan if necessary to ensure the development and feedback is in motion.

Challenge Your Leaders-To-Be

Leadership growth of your management team is valuable, but it can be difficult to administer. It includes providing new and challenging experiences and new situations to the manager. In the restaurant environment this is difficult to monitor, but as in any organization, the opportunities are present. Be creative; don't use a cookie-cutter approach, as this will not be effective for all and will not accelerate the development as you would have expected. Mentors are exceptional here, because they are peers providing knowledge and demonstrating a potential different leadership style.

It all comes down to pressure situations. How do they perform? How do you know? You want them to have full confidence with their ability to make decisions. If they are able to make decisions which correlate with your company vision and values and treat people respectfully, I believe they either will or will continue to develop leadership skills that are a fit for the business.

You need to assess the situations you have set for them and be able to advance these performers, so they are ready to take the next-level position. Managers who are committed to the development plan are more likely to be engaged and connected to your organization.

Check back next week for the final part of the series, "The Keys to Employee Retention, Part 3: Engagement."

More from the series: The Keys to Employee Retention, Part 1: Recognition

Resources: Photo credit. (1) Huffington Post, Not Investing in Employee Training is a Risky Business.