Earlier this year we touched upon how important it is to find and retain good staff as a hospitality manager. Bringing a new staff member into your hospitality business is equal parts exciting and worrisome. They hold a great deal of potential but also a significant investment.
We think it’s so crucial that we decided to get a second opinion from leading hospitality consultants Profitable Hospitality, who know the ins-and-outs of training a new staff member so they feel motivated and become part of the team…
It’s a common concern for hospitality owners to not overwhelm their new hire nor knock out their initial enthusiasm with hard-going training. The last thing you want is to lose a new staff member before they have even really started.
In this article, we’ll walk through five easy techniques you can use to train and motivate new hospitality staff in your business.
1. Share your expectations from the start
It can seem like a great strategy: only give information out on a ‘need to know’ basis prior to hiring a new team member. That way, they won’t feel overwhelmed, right?
Wrong. It is imperative that you are transparent with your expectations right from the start. This means outlining the exact job and training requirements in both your advertisement, and during the interview process.
Whilst this may see a few potential candidates drop off, it does leave you with a selection of people who are completely across what is going to be expected of them.
2. Keep orientation manageable
Orientation can be a double-edged sword: it’s your first opportunity to make an impact with your new team – but that impact might not be what you’re aiming for. Keep your introductory program manageable and engaging so that your onboarding staff don’t become overwhelmed.
Pay close attention to the schedule. Can you keep the training days shorter than usual, with late starts and early finishes? Have you incorporated sufficient break times? Will you ensure there’s moments to move about if sitting for long periods, or moments to rest if physically training?
Depending on the role, try and keep your orientation in groups. It’s time saving for you, as the trainer, and also creates a great environment for new team members to meet each other and bond prior to starting service.
3. Say it, read it, show it
Everyone learns differently. Some are visual, some are verbal, others aural. Given that you will be dealing with a large cross section of new staff, ensure that all information is being presented in multiple formats. This means that if you’re running them through policies and procedures, make sure they have a handout available, or a PowerPoint presentation running in the background.
As most teachers will testify, nothing beats actually getting up and physically trying a new task in order for a lesson to be successful. If you’re training new staff in how to use the coffee machine, get them up and making lattes. If you’re practicing knife skills in the kitchen, grab a few chopping boards and show them how. This also goes for behavioural training, and new technology like a POS system too.
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4. Teach with relevant, real world examples
All too often, orientation training can fall into the obscure. Talking about your company’s mission statement or values is important (it’s what your venue’s success is based upon), but can be difficult to absorb.
Try and always use clear, real-world examples when you’re training new staff: it’s easier for them to remember, and more likely to pique their memory when it occurs on the job.
For example, if you are discussing the fact that your venue is family friendly, and always tries to make parents with young children relaxed and welcome, show them how. Do you offer discounts for kids under 10? Does your seating arrangement always include a high chair?
Making sure you give them practical examples will really hammer home your messaging, and motivate your staff to recognise that you take your brand values seriously.
5. Make a schedule for ongoing training
The biggest thing to remember with training and motivating your new staff is that their training should be ongoing. Whilst orientation is an important period in the early days of onboarding a new staff member, you must also look ahead over the course of their time with you as an employee, and establish markers along the way for further training.
Ask you new team members what they are interested in. Do they want to learn more about wine, coffee, front desk management? Invest in your staff, and they will invest in you.
You and your team should have a training session of some description every few months. It’s an important opportunity to brief your staff on new products, procedures, changes in the industry, and updates on the success or challenges of the business.
There are no rules on how to guarantee successful staff onboard training, every time. Some staff will struggle, whereas others will take to your venue like a fish to water. The important lesson is to take it slowly, plan ahead, and make sure you’re always catering for every personality type, age, and learning ability that you hire.
If you enjoyed this post, you can read more hospitality related articles on our blog, such as 5 of the best rostering apps to ensure your staff get to work on time or the best hospitality sites to recruit millennials.
A majority of this article originally appeared on www.profitablehospitality.com.au and has been reprinted with permission. Sign up to Profitable Hospitality for 24/7 access to member downloads, templates, calculators and practical advice on their website.