I so enjoyed this article from e hotelier – There’s the age old saying “If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen” regarding tough environments and finding those with the grit to get through it. While it is true that not every person is fit for any job out there in the hospitality industry, it is possible to make people feel comfortable to push themselves to surpass their preconceived limits.
Not all bartenders started out making Old Fashioneds, Mint Juleps, and a passable Sazerac on their first day. To get to an employee’s greatest potential, it is essential to create a healthy, positive environment to engage employees. It’s also important to understand the benefits of investing in your employees and their training as it impacts your earnings, customer service ratings and risk.
1. Challenge your employees to grow
You don’t need to just challenge employees for day-to-day things, you can also challenge them to grow so they become a long term asset to your business. It’s always great to eat at a restaurant and meet people who have been on the team for a long period of time. Matter of fact, most restaurants and hotels in New Orleans have people with many years of experience (and stories to share). When you talk to long-time members of the hospitality industry, you will constantly hear that they learned from the best, worked with the best, had horrible people from time-to-time, but learned what they could and focused on themselves. Not everyone will rise to be a general manager or executive chef, and that is ok! But if these people are not appreciated and trained, or in an environment promoting growth and responsibility, they will not turn into an A-Team player who can handle the worst days with a smile.
2. Build trust with staff through patience
First, you need a manager who is willing to take the time to build people up, even when two people don’t show up and it’s a packed house. They will be patient and understanding in learning team member’s limits and make them feel comfortable to push them. When you allow team members to feel comfortable about failing, they will take that leap and understand the feeling of relief of getting help if they need it. By building that trust you encourage them to go beyond their limits and learn new tasks. Some will do this faster than others, so the manager needs to understand how quickly their team learns as this will help them in the future understand how to train for new service offerings or any revamp to customer service measures. They will feel more confident handling your hotel’s elite members or your casino’s preferred visitors and their quirks, learning how to quickly dispatch problems and concerns.
3. Believe in your staff and invest in them
Second, it is vital that everyone understand they are a team, working on this together. No, a restaurant will not change its customer satisfaction rating overnight (not without bringing on a whole new staff, but that’s rarely a solution). It’s about encouraging and applauding team members taking those steps together, balancing the work across its members during the easy shifts as well as the “Why did I come in today?” server shifts or the “How many people can be rude at check-in?” times. If you believe in your team and invest in them, they will be surprised at what they can accomplish. If you allow your team to feel comfortable with one another, they will begin to rely on each other.
4. Train new staff members with a positive and proactive approach
Also, role-playing real life situations can help teams recognize behaviors and how to respond quickly and effectively to prevent a problem from boiling over. When should they ask the manager to pay the table a visit? What happens if a guest is upset their free upgrade isn’t available but were expecting it? New people will either be too scared to ask or ask when it’s too late, resulting in temporary drops in customer service and an increase in risk. With our clients, we are generally able to tell when they are training new staff members due to a short-term increase in their risk performance compared to the prior month. In fact, we have observed that those clients with a positive, proactive training and support program see a lower increase in risk when hiring a larger volume of people compared to those companies with a more passive training system.
At Glimpse, we work with all levels of leadership to help understand what can be holding a company back. We’ve been hard at work helping to provide solutions to the hospitality industry, specializing in ‘at risk’ transactions and capturing lost revenues, all while helping increase customer satisfaction and employee morale. Our studies have shown that comfortable, positive environments consistently provide better customer service standards, lower risk, and deal with difficult situations better. We’ve seen first hand how SOP adherence can result in better tips for team members and better morale for the organization. Don’t believe us? Give us a call and we’ll show you how.
By Justin Cottrell
Justin Cottrell is currently the Director of Operations for Glimpse Corp, LLC. He previously served as the Vice President for Strategy & Acquisitions at Expedited Travel, overseeing strategy, operations, and customer service platforms that helped the company grow to become an industry leader in providing tailored solutions to clients.
Stephen is a hospitality professional from Johannesburg South Africa. His career started with THF hotels in the UK and subsequently with the Southern Sun Hotel group in Johannesburg. Hickmore Recruitment / CareerMap, is a leading supplier of Senior and Exec recruitment services for the hospitality industry in Southern Africa. Stephen recently added career change services, headlining as CareerMap, to assist job applicants. Stephen is a founder and business developer of Pple Hospitality (formerly HSC) the largest Hospitality Industry full-service outsourced staffing company in South Africa. In March 2020 Stephen became a director and part-owner of the Swiss Hotel School South Africa. Stephen writes for a number of publications on food and hospitality industry matters, trends and opinions.