Tag Archives: Hotel Staff

What we can do to get kids hooked to the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry

 

OK, I’m hooked

If anyone had suggested to me a month ago that I’d devote the best part of a sunny summer weekend to watching road cycle racing in preference to gardening I’d have thought them mad! But that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

Seeing our boys in the Tour de France was the start, and then having the opportunity to be a part of the Olympics right on my doorstep all for the cost of a train fare was too good an opportunity to miss.

The day on Box Hill was perfect; an amazing atmosphere, great weather, brilliant view and not one, not two, but eight chances to see the action on the loop.

Needless to say I was hooked, and was glued to the telly for the entire ladies race on Sunday, despite a hundred and one jobs to do in the garden (and despite what was seen on TV it was actually sunny in Sussex most of the time!).

So what can we learn in business and in particular hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses from this surge of interest in cycling and other sports? 

One of the biggest problems I hear is the concern for a lack of young talent joining the industry. So what can we do to emulate the success of attracting new talent to cycling, athletics, or rowing?

There have certainly been some fantastic role models for the next generation. And what an inspiring idea to have youngsters nominated by some of these past winners to light the Olympic flame.

But the sports have gone far beyond this; rather than waiting for the young talent to come and find them, they’ve been out into schools to find them.

We need to follow suit. And not just leave this to the likes of Springboard. We all need to be doing our bit to fly the flag for the industry and inspire youngsters to want to be a part of it. It won’t happen overnight – most of the youngsters competing for the first time this year have been in training for years. Not all will make it of course, but the earlier we can introduce youngsters to the industry and all it has to offer the more likely we are to leave them with a positive perspective and attract new talent.

Parents, teachers, college lecturers, and careers advisers all have a part to play in influencing future careers. What perception do they have of the industry? Let’s do all we can to educate them and ensure that hospitality, leisure and tourism management is given the profile it deserves.

Establish ambassadors who can generate the passion. Offer work placements to schools and colleges, and make these fun and informative. Organise ‘A day in the life’ and open days for schools, colleges and careers advisers for them to get a real feel for the roles and opportunities, and a chance to talk to those who do the jobs.

Offer work placements for universities that give a structured programme and a really in depth view of the options within hospitality management so once they graduate they stay the course. Feedback from graduates who have experienced work placements in a particular segment of the industry are invariably drawn back to the same disciples on graduation. Without this connection it’s all too easy to stray into other industries if a job of their choice is not immediately forthcoming; potential talent maybe lost to the industry forever.

Let’s put on our own show open to all and give everyone a taste and a chance to be a part of this fantastic industry.

For more articles and resources https://www.naturallyloyal.com/products-resources/

 


Who are your salesmen (and women)? – Part 1

Over the next few days you will read about how you can get the best from your staff and find out how they could improve sales within your business.

When I’m delivering customer service or sales training in hotels or hospitality businesses I often ask the question; “Who here has a responsibility for selling?” Obviously all the people with the word sales in their job title put their hands up, but they are usually the only ones. Surely everyone in your hotel or hospitality business will have an impact on sales, regardless of their role, and whether they are front or back of house.

 

First impressions

Guests’ and prospects’ first impressions will certainly  influence their level of spending. This is not just down to how the phone is answered or the welcome from reception on arrival, but it’s what your guests see and hear from behind the scenes. What response do they get from off-duty staff when they drive into your car park, or even down the high street close by. Wherever your staff are where they can be recognised as staff (because they are in uniform, or have already had dealings with your guests) they are bound to make an impression.

Picture the scene: you drive along the street approaching the hotel and you see two staff in uniform fooling around with loutish behaviour. You pull into the car park only to find that all the choice parking  spaces close to the hotel entrance are filled with (dirty) staff cars. You park at the far end of the car park and whilst struggling with your heavy suitcase you pass by another member of staff who does nothing to acknowledge you. Tucked away in a corner you see a little huddle of chefs and waiters puffing on their cigarettes. On entering the hotel a member of staff is leaving, but fails to hold the door for you, let alone greet you.

Check-in is swift but you’ve booked a standard room on a room only basis, and you are given no other information about any of the services or facilities that the hotel has to offer.

So within the space of about five minutes just how many opportunities have been lost to create a great first impression and create the right mind-set for your guests to want to spend their hard earned cash?

 

What contributes?

Your staff’s ability to encourage sales will be dependent on a number of factors:

  • Their behaviours, conduct and appearance
  • A knowledge of your customers’ needs and
    expectations, and of the products and services
  • Their skills and confidence in the sales process
  • Being given the right incentives, support and
    recognition

Behaviours

Let’s just reflect back on the scenario described earlier.  Do you think any of this behaviour was a deliberate ploy to undermine the sales process? No; it’s far more likely that these members of staff are completely oblivious to the potential impact of their behaviours. Communicating your expectations of staff’s behaviour, both on and off duty, should form part of their induction. Bring this to life by getting them to put themselves in the guests’ position and to identify what impression they give, and what guests might expect.

 

Part 2 tomorrow, will be about how knowledge and skills all help towards better sales within your business.

 


Retain your Talent (part 4)

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.

They say that “people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers“. Can you really afford to let that happen? This is what the Leading for Peak Performance 29 Day Challenge is all about, and starts on 29th February. Find out more here.


Give your talent a feeling of security (part 3)

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.

They say that “people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers“. Can you really afford to let that happen? This is what the Leading for Peak Performance 29 Day Challenge is all about, and starts on 29th February. Find out more here.


Making the most of your seasonal staff

This week 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.

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.

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.  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.

First impressions count. Specify your establishment’s standards for welcoming and greeting customers, including the booking procedures if this is part of their role.

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. 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).

Run through the payment procedures, including any security procedures or checks needed. 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.

Avoid being let down at the last minute – Provide out of hours contact numbers and establish procedures for sickness reporting.

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.


Nip it in the bud ~ Dealing with poor performance ~ Part 1

Last week I listened to a feature on the radio talking about driving offences and whether or not people should lose their licences even if they are dependent on their car for their job. In the UK we have a points system that states that when you reach 12 points on your licence you should be banned from driving until the offences have lapsed.

Why have the system if some magistrates then let people off the hook and allow them to continue to drive and re offend. If you’ve been caught driving on the motorway using your mobile phone why is someone who drives for a living any less likely to be a risk to others than someone who doesn’t? To be caught a second or third time should come as no surprise to lose your licence and maybe your job. So soapbox rant over…

But is this any different from the way you treat people who break the rules at work?

I remember in my early days of management someone relating discipline to a red hot poker. If you touch a red hot poker you know you will get burnt. The harder you touch it the more it will burn. The poker does not discriminate; anyone who touches it gets burnt. It burns straight away so conditions you not to keep touching it.

Discipline should be no different.

Rules may be set by legislation, the business, the individual site or department or there may be the unwritten ‘rules’, standards or guidelines set by the individual team or line manager. Whoever has set the ‘rules’ needs to ensure they are not only communicated, but check they are measurable and people understand why they are important. Any rules or standards laid down that you have difficulty explaining begs the question are they necessary? (OK, there may be some legislation we find difficult to explain at times, but any internal rules with no value should be reviewed and updated or binned).

Failure to do anything about it sends the message to everyone else that it’s OK to break the rule. We sometimes misguidedly believe that it’s a one off or the problem will go away; but before you know it the problem has escalated – either the person in question continues to disregard the rule or standard, or it becomes custom and practice for everyone to follow suit.

So nip it in the bud and address it straight away. This does not mean giving everyone a lecture in a group meeting – all this does it makes the ‘non offenders’ irritated that they are all being ‘accused’, whilst those to whom you are aiming your comments either just laugh it off, or it goes by without them realising you are referring to them.

Of course every business should have its own disciplinary process, and I am not going to go into that here. But irrespective of the seriousness of the problem – whether it’s someone being late, not greeting a customer in the way you’d expect, breaking health and safety rules, failure to carry out part of their job, arguing with another member of staff, or doing something in a haphazard way with a poor result – your goal is to resolve the issue and improve performance in future. There are three phases to dealing with poor performance and I’ll be covering these over the next three days.

Managing poor performance is key to effective leadership, and the skills needed will be covered in detail in my forthcoming online leadership coaching programme Leading for Peak Performance which is being launched in late September.


Regular update meetings

Do your hotel staff know the score? ~ Part 3

Regular meetings – weekly, fortnightly or monthly give an opportunity to:

  • Share ideas
  • Give and get updates on what’s happening across departments, to encourage teamwork
  • How the business is performing at operational level and any changes necessary or areas of focus
  • Changes happening in the business and how these might affect staff (before they happened and the rumours take over)
  • Give regular on going training or development

These type of meetings need to be two-way, (not the type of’ town hall’ address) and an opportunity for your team to have their say and put forward their ideas and suggestions. You may be pleasantly surprised at how resourceful they can be in finding solutions to problems. Often they add a fresh perspective.

Tomorrow we’ll cover one to one meetings.

Communication was one of the topics covered in “How to Give Your Hotel a Competitive Edge” series of interviews.

 


Why do staff quit your hotel?

Yesterday I was at the local hoteliers’ association meeting where one of the topics of conversation was finding good quality staff, in particular chefs. 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 but there are a few things that we can do to minimise staff turnover.

First of all unless we understand why staff leaving it will be difficult to 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. The reason for this is that if it’s poor management or leadership that has prompted the move, it’s unlikely that you’re going to learn the 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 much as possible about people’s motives for leaving.

If the reason they give is more money look to see how your rates compare with the competition. 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.

If they’re moving for career progression, is this something that you could a 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? 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, don’t make promises that you are unable to keep.

And if you find out you are the problem and the reason that people leave, 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.

My new online leadership coaching programme could be a starting point to getting the help you need and is being launched in September.


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.


Principles of effective feedback

Here is the 4th and final post on How to Give Contructive Feedback, summarising the key principles.

Download the full article and other related free articles from my downloads page.

Timing and planning

  • Feed back as soon after the event as you can, but ensuring privacy if appropriate (praise in public, reprimand in private).
  • When giving feedback based on a longer period e.g. in an appraisal situation, the more recent the example, the more impact it will have.
  • Ensure 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).
  • What condition are you in to give feedback right now – do any of the above apply to you, or are you angry about the way they have handled something and need time to cool off.
  • Consider 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.

Standard

  • These should be communicated in advance and only referred to as a reminder if necessary.
  • If you are not certain the person is aware of the standard, check their understanding of the expected standard before diving in with your feedback. This might highlight a need for clarification, reinforcement or training.
  • If people are unaware of the standard, draw a line in the sand, but establish this as the standard moving forward.

Action

  • Ask questions at each stage rather than telling.  Most people will be able to identify for themselves how things have gone, especially if they know the standards in advance.
  • Give feedback on successes as well as where things can be improved.
  • Be prepared to build the confidence of the shrinking violet, who finds it hard to accept any praise.  They may find it hard to see good in anything they do, and only see their mistakes or what went badly.  Ask ‘What were you pleased with, or what went well, or better than last time’?
  • Focus on behaviour, not personality.
  • How likely is it that the person can do anything about it?
  • Could you be the source of the problem, not them?
  • Take ownership – don’t rely on hearsay.  People will be far more receptive to what you have observed directly rather than subjective opinions from others.
  • If necessary draw comparisons between what people say and what they actually do.
  • Use pre determined standards or goals as a yardstick.

Impact

  • Reinforce how positive actions have helped performance.
  • Acknowledge people for what they are not just their accomplishments.
  • Explain or ask them which actions are less effective than they might be and why.
  • Link the outcomes to something they care about (e.g. the amount of effort required on their part, or how others perceive them), rather than simply what is important to you.
  • Check they understand the implications – if they don’t know how their actions affect the business or the task they are unlikely to take on board any changes needed.

Development

  • When things have gone well you may not be looking for improvements from the individual, but how can their good performance be emulated e.g. can they show others how they do it?
  • Ask them to suggest a better, or alternative solution or methods.
  • Focus on what is missing, rather than what is wrong – this helps performance next time.
  • Ensure the outcome you want is clear.
  • Check their understanding of what to do in future – if they have come up with the solution check the method, time scales, etc.

Your approach

  • Be direct, don’t sugar coat the message.
  • Be sincere.
  • Give praise where it is due.
  • When it’s not, make it clear that you need to see improvements or changes.
  • Avoid being side tracked by any of the feedback blockers.
  • Preserve the other person’s self esteem.
  • Deliver bad news in a non-critical way.
  • 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.

Caroline Cooper