Tag Archives: Training

Old habits die hard

Dont forgetYou know that frustration you feel when you ask someone in your team to do something differently, and although you know they know what to do for some reason they just don’t do it!

I managed to stall my car twice yesterday!

Not because I don’t know how to drive. It’s simply that I’d got out of the habit of changing gear, as I’d been driving an automatic for the past 18 months.

And it can be no different in the workplace. When you have not done something for a while people get out of the habit. So when you need them to go back to a previous way (maybe back to a standard that has recently slipped, or wasn’t such a priority for a while) you might need to build up people’s confidence again and start re-establishing the habit.

Of course when you stall the car you get instant feedback that you’re doing it wrong! But in the workplace it might be a little less obvious.

This doesn’t mean to say that you need to retrain people, but they night need a little bit of a helping hand, some feedback and maybe some coaching to get them back on track. And then keep an eye on them until the habit is firmly installed.



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.

Click here for more articles and resources


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.

Click here for more articles and resources


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.

Click here for more articles and resources


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.

Click here For more articles and resources


Using the Coaching GROW model

I’ve been running a coaching skills workshop this week and it has reminded me of the simplicity and power of this simple coaching model. A word of wanring, this is not for the control freaks!

The model is GROW, probably one of most widely known coaching models.

GROW stands for GOAL, REALITY, OPTIONS and WILL

It is not appropriate for every situation, but can be used to great effect to tap into people’s potential. It is based on the principle that the coach asks questions and draws the answer from the coachee or employee. This leads to increased awareness, better buy in and commitment, increases confidence and  good development.

Goal

Setting the overall coaching objectives and the goals for the coaching session. Goals need to be SMART* There may two types of goal – one long term goal, then a short term goal for the session. Goals need to focus on what will be observed or happening once t is achieved.

Reality

Checking and raising awareness of the situation right now. This brings out the coachee’s perception of the situarion which can sometimes be very different from the manager’s. It is important that the manager does not make assumptions about what is happening, even if they think they already know! It is important to get a full a picture as possible about what is happening to get to the root of the problem.

Options

Finding alternative strategies, solutions, answers. This is usually the hardest part for the manager acting as coach, as it is all too easy to give the answers or make suggestions. This means the employee will continue to be dependent on the manager to come up with solutions and not have to think for themselves. It is far more rewarding for the employee to come up with their own solutions.

Will

Testing commitment to the goal, making concrete, realistic plans to reach it. We’ve all been to meetings when there has been a lot of talk and ideas and then you meet again a few weeks later and nothing has happened. The same will happen following a coaching session if there is no summing up of the course of action, and commitment from the coachee to take action.

This format works well for for day to day discussions in supporting your team in their work, as well as more formal one to one discussions on performance, objective setting, and development planning. It also gives a structure to use in team meetings for group problem solving.

So next time one of your team comes to you with a problem, before you just tell them what to do, stop and condsider if they could come up with the solution themselves by exploring each of these 4 questions.

This and other topics will be covered in my new online leadership coaching programme is being launched in September.

* See full article on setting SMART goals


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.


Learn to let go

I caught myself this week doing something I really should have delegated to someone else. Not only was this tying up my valuable time when I could be doing something more productive; the person who should have done it would have done a better job, and in half the time!

Do you ever find yourself falling into this trap?

When you own the business or have high stakes in it, it can sometimes be difficult to let others get on with things. In my recent interview series ‘How to Give Your Hotel a Competitive Edge’ two of my interviewees talked about how hands on they like to be. And it is understandable. And a good leader should be prepared to muck in and roll their sleeves up when absolutely necessary; but this should be the exception rather than the rule.

The skill is knowing when to let go of the day to day issues, and put your trust in someone else to get on with things, leaving you to focus on the more strategic aspects of the businesses.

So just check to see if you ever catch yourself using any of these ‘excuses’

 

■              “It takes too much time to explain, I can do it quicker”
In the short-term yes, but in the longer term if you delegate you are saving time

 

■              “They aren’t yet capable”
And never will be unless you start incorporating delegation as part of your people’s development plans

 

■              “No-one, except me, is up to it”
Maybe, but are you being too much of a perfectionist?  Does the task need such a degree of excellence?  If not, maybe someone can do the job adequately in less time

 

■              “I enjoy these tasks – losing them would make my job less interesting”
In the longer term, improvement in staff morale and performance will make your job easier and just as enjoyable

 

■              “I delegate some things – the things I hate”
Consider whether simply discarding and offloading work you don’t want to do is the most effective way to develop and motivate people

 

■              “If someone else does it I’ll lose control and respect”
You’ll lose more control and more  respect by not devoting enough time to managing the whole business effectively because you are too wrapped up in the detail.

 

My new online leadership coaching programme is being launched in September.

For the full article on delegation go here.

Caroline Cooper


Guests’ first and last impressions

Yesterday I ran a workshop at a hotel. This was for a third party, so I had not been involved with the booking, but had the conference organiser’s name. Ironically the word “Welcome” was in the title of the workshop….

On arrival there was just one person at reception at the normally busy checkout time. She happened to be dealing with a guest’s bill, which one might expect at this time of day. But, I received absolutely no eye contact or acknowledgement that I had even been seen. I decided to try and locate another member of staff, or at least the meeting room where the workshop would be run. Any signs? No.

I came back to reception, laden with my bags, reluctant to leave my laptop unattended. By which time of course the lone receptionist was deep in the transaction of the next guest.

I waited.

Finally I had her attention and asked for my contact. “That’s me” she says, without a hint of apology for keeping me waiting.

So she finally comes out from behind the typical unwelcoming barrier of the reception desk, to appear in the most inappropriate dress I think I’ve even seen on a receptionist!  (Leggings, low cut smock top, bare ankles).  Mmm, not a good first impression……

Did they redeem themselves? Well, they could have done.

But, when it was time to leave, I passed 3 members of staff on the way out. Not one of them offered to help with my bags, not one of them thanked me for my custom, and not one or asked for any feedback. Not only did I not feel valued as a customer; what a wasted opportunity to get some feedback. Although I was not paying the bill, I’m sure that one booking earned the hotel considerably more revenue than any single accommodation bookings that day. And they certainly weren’t so busy that they could not have taken 2 minutes to ask me.

What seemed to be lacking was any hotel management, training or systems.  Did anyone recognise the  importance of first impressions?

The thing is, what was delivered in between was actually quite good. But it’s what your guests see first and last that leaves the greatest impression. And it’s that impression I’ll be thinking of when my client asks for feedback on the venue.

Caroline Cooper

The welcome is just one of the topics discussed by my guests on the tele seminar series How to Give Your Hotel a Competitive Edge


The cost of not training staff

Good for The Peach Pub Company, who recently won a Best Places to Work award, in their view of staff training and the risk of losing them to other operators.

Sadly there are still a number hospitality businesses that take the view that it’s too costly to invest in training their staff. Some misguidedly believe it’s not needed, or it’s a luxury when business is slow. The cost of not training is far higher – poor customer service, higher wastage, staff needing constant supervision being just some of the consequences.

And others resent investing in training or think it’s a waste of time as the people they train will probably then be tempted to leave and take their new skills elsewhere.  Well, yes, maybe a few will leave, but if they do is this just because they now have better skills?  I doubt it; if anything they are far more likely to stay if they are getting the right development and are well treated.

And when people do leave, businesses demonstrating they are prepared to invest in their team will be one step nearer to being regarded as a good employer and one step nearer to attracting the calibre of people they want.

If every hospitality business took the same view as Peach Pubs we’d all benefit in the long run.