Tag Archives: hospitality staff induction

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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Are you letting hotel bookings slip through your fingers?

The other day I was stood in the reception of the top Glasgow hotel. While I waited to check in the sole receptionist took a phone call.

What I heard was

I’m sorry our wedding coordinator isn’t here at the moment. Can you call back in the morning?

Mmm, now I wonder if I would bother to phone back. The chances are that this potential wedding booking has been lost forever.

But how many other hotels are guilty of similar scenarios, of letting potential room, conference or wedding bookings slip through their fingers?

Now I’m not suggesting that the meetings or wedding coordinators need to be on hand 24/7, but at the very least ensure that there are some procedures in place for anyone to take an enquiry and give the potential customer confidence in the hotel’s ability to handle the potential booking.

Ensure that all of your staff who are customer facing (not just reception) fully understand the facilities on offer. It should be part of their induction to see the facilities, the layouts and get a general understanding of the types of events you’re able to host at the hotel. Even if someone is new the very minimum is to have a handy fact sheet to hand for any enquiries to include this top ten:

  1. Number of meeting/function rooms
  2. Optional layouts for each room
  3. Capacity of each room for each layout
  4. Equipment available
  5. Basic charges and what these rates include
  6. Breakout areas
  7. Catering options
  8. Wedding licence?
  9. Anywhere for indoor photos?
  10. Any other frequently asked questions about your venue

Don’t just assume that because you have a list that everyone treats enquiries in the same way. Ask a friend or colleague to act as a mystery shopper and find out how your staff deal with these enquiries.

And as an absolute last resort, even if you can’t manage this, make sure that your front of house team have a system in place to capture details of the prospective customer and are able to make a commitment to them that their enquiry will be followed up, by whom and by when.

And of course that you deliver on this promise and follow up promptly….

 

Hear it from the experts. Join me on my regular FREE interviews when I talk to hospitality experts and specialists and ask them to share their insights, strategies and secrets that can help to give your hotel a competitive edge.  Find out more and register here.


Do your hotel staff know the score? ~ Part 1

There’s nothing more frustrating, and demotivating for staff than lack of communication and being kept in the dark. Unless people know what’s expected of them and what’s going on you’ll end up with an unhappy team, and ultimately an impact on performance levels and increased staff turnover.

Hopefully the communication starts with a thorough induction, which includes not only an outline of their job and what’s expected of them, but how their contribution fits into the bigger picture, the values and culture of the business and an insight into what happens in other parts of the business.

But recognise that a one-off training session will never be enough.

Your staff need to be kept up-to-date all the time.  They need to know what is going on in the business, and how this will affect them and they need feedback on how they are doing.  Here are four ways to keep your staff up to date and let them know their contribution is important and valued.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the importance of the daily briefing.

Good communication is key to effective leadership, and the skills needed will be covered in detail in my forthcoming online leadership coaching programme


Don’t waste your recruitment effort & costs by poor induction

How soon after joining do your hotel staff have to face guests? The first few weeks in any job will determine whether a person will want to stay with you.

People like (and need) to know what’s expected of them. So when people start with you a thorough induction is absolutely key, and a good induction will help make effective & loyal staff.

So within that induction, what are the types of things they need to know?

They certainly do need to know all of the standards around their job. But there are other things as well. Yes, they need to know what their job is, yes, they need to know about their holiday entitlement, about their pay, where they can leave their belongings, health, safety and hygiene procedures; all of those things are very important. But look a little bit beyond that.

Think about your own values and philosophy. What is the type of experience you want your guest to have when they stay with you? And communicate that to your staff.

A part of the induction might be “This is the way we do things around here….”. And sometimes that might come better from a fellow employee, a sort of buddy, rather than necessarily always coming from you. However if you are going to do that, make sure that the person they are buddied up with knows the standards, knows the expectations, and knows what you want from them.

Where does their job fit into the bigger picture? Where does their role fit in with everybody else’s? What does everybody else do? What are all the other services and facilities that you provide? Staff can’t upsell if they don’t know what you offer.

So if, for example, they are on reception they need to know what a bedroom looks like, what is the distinction between a superior room and a standard room. They need to know about the menu offer. Equally if they are in the kitchen let them know what goes on front of house as well. Give them an opportunity to go into the restaurant, to see a room, and if you have other leisure facilities, let all your staff get a feel for them and just experience them. Okay, they are not all going to be selling these things all of the time, but they need to have an idea of the bigger picture and what your guests will be experiencing.

Good induction will help make effective & loyal staff.

So for the next person you take on, don’t waste your recruitment effort & costs by poor induction.  Increase the likelihood that they will want to stay, and become an effective and loyal employee, by giving them a thorough induction.

Foundations in Leadership is a new approach to hospitality leadership development. Do you ever feel you aren’t getting everything you want from your team?  Instead would you love to tap into their true potential so you can focus on the bigger picture? Find out more about the programme here and take advantage of the fast action bonuses.


Making the most of it

The recent bad weather may be seen as the last straw for many hospitality businesses on top of what has already been challenging 12 months.  But rather than letting it get you down, make the most of quiet periods, and take the time to put things in place so you are in a stronger position to capitalise when things pick up.

Here are my top ten things you could be doing this week that won’t cost you anything but your time, but will certainly go a long way to your success in 2010.

  1. Set your goals for the year.  Take some time to identify what you really want to achieve in 2010, and establish your plan to do this. You’ll find some useful resources here to help you with this.  Then share these with everyone who has a part to play in achieving them.
  2. Review your staff structure and resources in light of your plan.  Do you have the right people in the right roles to achieve this?  Will you need to hire, fire or develop certain team members to get to where you want to be?
  3. Take stock of your menus and their margins.  What tweaks do you need to generate more profit from each item?  Does your sales mix reflect the high profit items, or are you selling too many of the lower profit dishes? If so does this reflect a need to train your team how to upsell?
  4. Review your stock control systems. Tidy up your stores, take stock of what’s not shifting, what needs using before it goes out of date, and what needs to be written off.
  5. Review your website content. Does it accurately reflect what you are offering and present it in a way that entices your ideal prospective customers to read on and take some action? Do all the links work? (If you don’t already have a content management system – i.e. where you are able to manage the content of your site yourself – you may want to look into this.  I use WordPress for mine.)
  6. Take the customer journey – You and all you team to look at every aspect of your business from your customers’ perspective.  Draw up a list of areas that need attention, priorities and allocate responsibility amongst your team.
  7. Now provides a great opportunity for staff training.  Are all the team up to date on all product knowledge, not just in their own departments, but in all parts of the business.  The customer journey and an analysis of your sales mix may help flag up where knowledge is lacking.
  8. Plan your promotional activity for the whole year, so you can start collating ideas towards each of these promotions.  This includes reviewing your Christmas promotions, whilst they are still fresh in your mind and making notes of how you can improve on this for next Christmas.
  9. Get your customer listing up to date.  (If you don’t already have a contact management system now might be the time to look into this.)  Then get in touch with all your existing customers to remind them how much you value their custom by giving them an offer they can’t refuse.
  10. Review all your customer feedback, whether this is directly from customer comments or feedback forms, or from such sources as TripAdvisor. What can you learn from these, and what are the areas that need attention?

Update your plan and take some ACTION!

Here are some resources to help get you going.


How to get the best from seasonal Christmas staff

This weekend the Christmas party season gets well under way.  Even if you are not as busy as in previous years the chances are you’ll be taking on some extra staff.  But are they an asset or a liability?  If all you do is give them an order pad and tell them to get on with it, they could be doing more harm than good to your Christmas profits.

Here are my top 10 basics to cover with any new member of staff, whether for the Christmas rush or at any other time of year.

  1. Teamwork is key. Introduce new staff to the whole team, defining everyone’s areas of responsibility to ensure no gaps and no duplication of effort, Avoid the frictions that occur when someone hasn’t pulled their weight or others are seen to ‘interfere’ with your way of doing things.
  2. Don’t leave them floundering or too scared to ask for help. Establish a clear line of reporting, and who to go to for help and guidance when needed – ensuring, of course, that this person will be patient and supportive when asked.
  3. Everyone needs to know what’s expected of them from day one. Clarify basic standards of dress, staff behaviour, time keeping, break allowance, staff meals, security, food safety, health and safety.
  4. First impressions count. Specify your establishment’s standards for welcoming and greeting customers, including the booking procedures if this is part of their role.
  5. What is their role in up-selling, and what are the products you want them to promote, including any future events?  If your core team are incentivised, make sure you include seasonal staff in the scheme.
  6. People can’t sell something they don’t know exists. Ensure a thorough product knowledge – what does your establishment offer – times of service, complementary products, etc.  Let your staff taste the dishes, explain what accompanies each dish and what it should look like, what prices include and what’s extra (especially with fixed menus or party packages).
  7. Establish protocol in dealing with difficult situations, customer complaints, and awkward customers.  Define the line between handling themselves and when to seek intervention from a manager or more experienced staff member
  8. Run through the payment procedures, including any security procedures or checks needed.
  9. Avoid being let down at the last minute – Provide out of hours contact numbers and establish procedures for sickness reporting.
  10. Maintain your reputation as a good employer. Treat seasonal staff well, and they will be willing to come back next time you need an extra hand. Give them something to look forward to and keep them interested for the whole season.  Involve them in any after work social activities and maybe some incentive awarded at the end of the season.

Here’s to a very successful and profitable Christmas season