Tag Archives: Giving feedback

How am I doing?

Feedback no news is good newsThe giving and receiving of feedback is probably one of the most vital skills in management.

From a customer service perspective customer feedback is such a valuable source. But your team also need to know how they are doing.

According to Ken Blanchard …

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions”

People need to know how they are doing in order know what to keep doing and what needs improving, and how.  For many employees it is a case of ‘No new is good news’, as they only get to hear if things go wrong. And when they’ve been learning something new or a different way of doing things  – for example customer service training – they need feedback to help hone and develop their new skills.

Feedback is not only key for improving and perfecting performance, but – done in a supportive way – is highly motivational. Let’s face it; if you were doing something that constituted poor performance, was annoying, or let others down wouldn’t you like to know?

And equally if you were doing something really well that made a difference to others and to the business, wouldn’t you like to know it was recognised?

Feedback starts with the impromptu “thank you, well done” but that on its own doesn’t tell people enough to sustain or improve performance. To be effective feedback must let people know what specifically was good or bad, what difference it made and how it can be built upon or improved.

One way to do this is by using a very simple model: S A I D

Standard

When giving feedback, particularly on poor performance, it’s useful to know what you are bench-marking this against. If people don’t know what is expected of them, it is very easy to get defensive.  So establish the standards you expect and communicate these.

You may not always need to refer to these during the feedback process, but be mindful of these as you give the feedback.

Action

What is the action they performed?  Emphasis is on their actions, not on your interpretation of it.  So you are feeding back what you observed or heard, not on their intentions, their personality or their character.

Limit the number of actions you comment on a level they can handle – far better to give feedback on one key action that they can digest and build on to make a difference, than ten things which leaves the message diluted (and invariably leaves them demotivated).

Because this is based on fact it is less likely to be challenged. Link back to the standard if necessary to highlight where people have exceeded or fallen short.

Impact

What impact did their actions have on the result?  This can include positive or negative impact on the end result, or on the process itself e.g. the amount of effort needed on their part to achieve the result, or the impact on others, etc.

When giving praise it is so easy to say to someone ‘that was really good, well done’ without saying why it was good or what made the difference this time compared with previous occasions.

Development

How can they build on this for the future?  Remember, the purpose of feedback is to enhance performance and motivate.

So this last stage is important to determine what happens next e.g. develop to make it even better next time around, to correct a mistake or to perfect a process.  Put the emphasis on what is missing rather than what is wrong – building on strengths or positives is far more likely to engender enthusiasm.

Using open questions, ask the individual how they think things can be developed or built upon.  This will help to gain buy in and you may be surprised by the options they suggest.

Here are the three key situations for giving feedback within the workplace.

  1. When all is going well – feedback and praise.
  2. Mixed performance – feedback mixed with positive and corrective action.
  3. When all is not well – feedback to address under-performance.

This model works equally well in all three.

You may recall something referred to as ‘The Praise Sandwich.’  The problems with the praise sandwich are that, in fact, it is a bad news sandwich, and usually the ‘filling’  (i.e. the bad news) is so thin and the ‘bread’ or praise element so thick and fluffy, that the key message gets completely lost.  The result? The person remembers the first and last part of the discussion – the praise – and not the part you want to change.  The end result is that nothing changes.

This is not to say you don’t give something positive at the start of the discussion. This helps to build rapport and makes the recipient of the feedback more receptive. Using the SAID model people know exactly what the issue is.

But by understanding the impact it has had, and having been given an opportunity to put forward their own ideas to avoid it in future, they will still come out of it with some dignity, and you are far more likely to see something change for the better.

Feedback is most effective when it is given as soon after the event as you can. But sometimes you may be better off delaying until the end of the shift or day. Take into account whether the timing is appropriate for the individual to take on it board (e.g. avoid times when they are under tight time pressures, or about to start something for which they need total focus).

Consider your mood, e.g. if you are annoyed at seeing poor performance do you need time to cool off.  Do you need to wait until you can take them away from their workplace for privacy; as a general rule praise in public, reprimand in private.

Identify your motives before giving feedback i.e. what do you want the end result to be? Be prepared for their reaction, and how you will respond. But be direct, don’t sugar coat the message so it gets lost.

Give praise where it is due, but when it’s not, make it clear that you need to see improvements or changes Preserve the other person’s self esteem by delivering bad news in a non-critical way, and concentrate on your pitch and tone so that valuable information is not seen as a complaint, criticism, whinge or nag.

Given in a constructive way feedback can not only improve performance but can raise morale, build rapport and promote initiative.  It also opens the door for your team to provide you with some feedback too.


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Building Confidence in Service Skills

confidenceTo get a return on our investment in customer service training we need to build the confidence of the team.

People who feel they will be praised for good results are more likely to do tasks willingly in the first place. And far more likely to try out new skills if they know they’ll be supported even if they make a mistake.

They soon pick it up when you fail to trust or allocate any responsibility to them, leaving them doubting their own abilities. Lack of confidence will prevent them getting on with things off their own bat, which can be both frustrating and draining for you.

And ultimately for your customers too.

Build confidence by providing positive feedback and recognition. Offer plenty of support and encouragement. Remind everyone of the importance and significance of what they do.

Foster a supportive culture where people can learn from their mistakes, rather than be blamed. Encourage everyone to come forward with their own areas of improvement and how they will achieve these.

Recognise and reward when these improvements have been made even if things are not yet perfect!

Ask your team for their feedback too, and show them you value their suggestions and ideas. Many of your team are much closer to your customers than you are and will see opportunities to enhance the customer experience. So ask for their ideas and be prepared to act on them.

Celebrate success so you encourage more of the same.


Getting your team on board for their performance reviews.

Getting them on board for a staff one to one.

One to ones should be a two way discussion. Ask open questions to get their ideas on performance and how to move forward.

When giving feedback on their performance use the AID model:

  • A  Action what they did – i.e. what you have seen or heard (back this up with examples, focus on actions not on your interpretation or their intentions)
  • I  Impact – what has that achieved, or what impact has it had on the business, the department, the guests, or themselves
  • D  Development – what can they do to build on this, or do differently to improve or perfect, and how you can support them

Ask for their views, not only on their performance, but what support they need, what could be improved in the business, what feedback they have had from guests, their suggestions for future objectives. And be prepared to listen to their answers and probe for more detail or examples if you need to so you fully understand what they are saying.

Remember, if people’s previous experience of one to one meetings up till now has been bad or at best just a waste of time, it can take time to build trust before these can be totally honest exchanges. Start by asking the questions above, or similar, and use this as a starting point to get the discussions going.

 

Where to begin

If you aren’t already conducting regular one to ones now might be a good time to start. Use your first meeting to establish (jointly) their goals and KPIs if you don’t already have these in place.

Begin with the end in mind.

As it the nearly the end of the week this is the best place to start, get your diary out and start booking you and your staff in on Monday.



Planning your team one to ones.

What’s on the agenda for your staff one to ones.

The agenda doesn’t need to be written in tablets of stone, but it’s good to follow a basic structure so you both know what to expect and can plan accordingly. Linking back to your objectives there are some key elements to include, all of which can be structured around the questions yesterday. It’s far better to home in on one or two areas at each meeting so you can go into some depth, than covering everything superficially and covering the same ground each time.

What have they achieved towards pre-determined goals, targets, KPIs, etc.

How have they gone about this – this is where you might also look at their behaviours too. It’s all very well achieving all their targets if they have upset colleagues or guests along the way.

What needs to be focused on or addressed, and what support or development do they need to do this

A summing up and agreement on actions moving forward, with some measurable goals and clear direction

 

Time and place

One to ones should be scheduled so both of you can plan for them and around them, and fully prepare. And nothing smacks more of “I’m not valued” than one to one meetings being continually cancelled for the slightest reason.

I’m often asked how often and how long should they be. There is no hard and fast rule, but allow on average a minimum of an hour per month per person, longer for roles with more responsibility. So if you conduct them monthly then set aside at least an hour for each, plus preparation time. If logistics mean that you can only meet once every 2 months, then allow two hours.

Either way allow sufficient time so that neither of you are rushed or distracted by imposing deadlines e.g. prior to your main service times for F&B staff. Think also of their state of mind at the end of a very busy shift.

Avoid the fish bowl type of office or public areas. You want a free and open discussion, and you’ll not get this when there’s a fear they’ll be over heard or others can see their reactions to any sensitive issues raised.

Now the scene has been set for a really good one to one, now all you need to do is to get them on board with it too, and this is what you will read about tomorrow.



Do you dread staff one to one review meetings?

Why are ‘One to Ones’ so valuable for you, your staff, and your business…..?

1to1 reviews do you dread your review meetings

Some see staff 1:1 reviews simply as a chore. Never under estimate the impact of sitting down with each member of staff on a one to one basis.

A good starting point to get the best from them has to be identifying what you want to achieve from the meetings.

Your aim should be to motivate your team members to either continue or sustain good performance and to feel confident that they have the ability and support to fill any gaps where they need development.

It’s an opportunity for them to have their contribution recognised – not just performance, but have their ideas heard. And finally it devotes time to set direction and goals for the coming weeks.

The net result should be an enthused and motivated employee who knows what they should be focusing on, and how this will contribute to the business.

Finding the time for your staff one to ones.

One of the common concerns I hear is that the process is time consuming, particularly when you have 8 – 10 people reporting to you. Well, ask yourself this – how much time potentially will you need to spend rectifying things if you don’t take that time out with them?

I often hear of managers spending literally hours preparing for the meetings, then finding themselves having to work twice as hard to get the employee to contribute their ideas and views to the meeting. One to ones are as much for their benefit as yours, so ask them to take some responsibility too for the preparation.

3 questions

There may be things they’ve done that are worthy of comment, which you are oblivious to; remember you don’t see them every minute of every day they are at work. So ask them to plan what they would like to discuss. As a minimum you may like to consider these 3 questions:

  1. What successes or achievements have you had this month or what have you done this month that you’re proud of?
  2. What disappointments or frustrations? Or if you had a magic wand, what would you change or do differently?
  3. What do you feel needs to be your number 1 focus for the coming month?

You don’t need to use this wording, but you get the gist.

Their preparation obviously doesn’t let you off the hook altogether, but if they are well prepared it will certainly reduce the amount of time needed in the meeting to achieve the same result.

The preparation is key for these meetings, so in the next post you can read my thoughts on how to ensure a good agenda and the right environment which helps with the process of getting on track for a good meeting.

Continue to the next post for tips on planning your one to ones…


 

 


Hanging onto Talent ~ Part 5

Keep talking

Give constructive feedback -what have they done well and how it has contributed; where they have fallen short and how this can be improved.

Communication is a two-way process, not only do people need to know what’s going on, they want to be heard. Daily briefings need to include what’s happening that could affect the operation or the customer experience in any way (e.g. maintenance, staff shortages, unavailable products or services), as well as any feedback from staff on their observations or ideas. Let your team know how the business is performing, and what this means to them.

Having a happy and motivated team will not only help you retain your talent and reduce staff turnover, but will lead to better productivity and customer service, maintaining sales and controlling costs.

If you want to retain your best people you need to give them what they want.

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Hanging onto Talent ~ Part 4

What if you are the problem?

We may not want to admit it, but you or your management team may be the reason that people leave. Rather than hide your head in the sand, reflect on what you need to do to change. Find out what are the things that people find difficult or frustrating about working for you or with you, and then figure out a way to change your approach before others decide to jump ship.

How much direction do you provide? Do people know exactly what’s expected of them, and have the tools, time and resources to deliver? Lead by example so there are no mixed messages.

Ensure that you and your management team are approachable. Provide support when it’s needed, and be receptive to when this is required. Not everyone will be confident enough to ask for help. Consult staff and listen to their ideas; they may be able to offer better ways of doing things.

Take time to talk to staff to build relationships and show an interest in them as individuals. Listen to and act quickly on any concerns. Identify what’s important to them recognising that with the varied cultures and backgrounds of your staff that their values and priorities may sometimes be different to your own.

In the final part tomorrow will discuss the impact good communication with your team.

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Hanging onto Talent ~ Part 3

Insecurity

I’ve worked with a number of businesses recently who have had to make cuts and changes. This makes people uncomfortable, and so when another opportunity comes along, they jump at the chance if they feel it has better long term security.

Communicate any changes that are happening in the business before they happen, and how this might affect them.

Set standards so that people know what’s expected of them, and can measure their own performance, and not left in doubt about their contribution.  Be consistent, ensuring the same ‘rules’ apply to everyone. Focus on telling people what you want to achieve, i.e. the end result, rather than dictating how to do it.  This gives people flexibility to adopt their own style (you’ll be surprised how often they end up improving the process) rather than living in fear of not being able to comply with strict processes.  And make sure you provide the appropriate tools, resources and training to do the job effectively.

Training your staff in the mechanics of the business operation puts them in a better position to contribute to cost control and income generation. If people understand how the business makes its money they are then in a position to contribute to this and put forward their own ideas. A win-win for both.

Tomorrow we’ll look at whether you or your management team may be the reason that people leave your hotel.

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Hanging onto Talent ~ Part 2

Recognition and reward

When staff leave, if the reason they give is more money look to see how your rates compare with the competition (bearing in mind for some roles your competitor for staff may be in totally different industries). But also look at what benefits your staff are getting that they may not be getting elsewhere and ensure people are aware of everything that makes up their package.

What about the less tangible aspects of their package. Recognise and reward performance and achievements. Celebrate and share successes; identify and utilise people strengths, training, delegating and giving them control and ownership where appropriate. Be sure to recognise all departments, including back of house staff, e.g. housekeeping is often the most undervalued department, but is commonly the most profitable aspect of a hotel.

Encourage and reward loyalty by conducting regular pay/benefits reviews. Think about incentives that are within reach of any member of staff who performs well. This might mean focusing on a different theme each month so that everyone has an opportunity to be recognised for their particular skills or strengths.

Career and prospects

If they’re moving for career progression, is this something that you could have given them but just didn’t make them aware of the opportunities? What can you do in future to ensure that all your team get the recognition and development they need for their career progression?

Grow from within where possible, and give people the opportunity for career progression as well is enhancing the skills to do their existing job. Think also about life skills; for example offering English lessons. And make use of the training grants available through the tourist organisations, colleges, and government-funded schemes.

You won’t be able to accommodate everyone’s aspirations particularly if you’re a small hotel, but having some kind of succession plan in place does give people something to work towards. However, be careful you don’t make promises that you are unable to keep.

Make training a part of day-to-day management, so it’s not seen as something that is additional or optional. This goes for both staff and supervisors/managers. Identify those who have an interest in developing their CV and are willing to take on training responsibilities as part of their own development.

Tomorrow will look at the impact of changes in your hotel business and how to minimise the disruption this brings.

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Hanging onto Talent ~ Part 1

We already know that there is a lack of new talent entering the industry so it’s important that we hang on to our best people. The hospitality industry has always had one of the highest labour turnover rates in all sectors of the economy, so are we just deluding ourselves if we think we can beat that trend? Well maybe there are a few things we can all be doing to tip the balance in our favour.

Each day this week I’ll be posting steps you can take to hang on to your hotel’s talent.

Why do they quit?

Staff turnover can be infectious, the more people come and go, the easier it is for others to make the decision to leave. Unless we understand why staff leave it’s unlikely we’ll reverse the trend.

In an ideal world some kind of confidential exit interview should be conducted and wherever possible this is best done by someone other than a line manager. Let’s face it, if the reason is it’s poor management or leadership that has prompted the move, it’s unlikely that you’re going to learn the whole truth if the line manager is asking the question! The saying goes people don’t quit jobs they quit bosses. But even if your staff structure doesn’t allow for this it is important to find out as much as possible about people’s motives for leaving.

Tomorrow we look at how we can use recognition and reward, and career prospects to help retain our best people.

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