In hospitality, assembling a quality team is a complex task – you’ve got to find all of the skills your business needs in an industry with extremely high staff turnover levels, all the while staying within budget and ensuring every recruit is a match for your workplace ethos and culture.
In the event you’ve put such a team together, it’s tempting to breathe easy, take your foot off the gas and look towards other areas of the business that require improvement.
But thinking of your team as something that you’ve ‘ticked off’ and don’t need to look at again is a mistake. Investing in training for your hospitality staff ensures that a strong team remains that way, and can elevate a good team to an exceptional one.
If you’re rolling your eyes and see staff training as a waste of time, an unworthy investment or the stuff of parody, here are five reasons you should reconsider:
Uncover and Plug Gaps
In the hectic day-to-day of managing your business, it’s easy to miss small skills that your team is light on. A member of staff not knowing, say, the finer points of various types of table settings is something that can go a long time unnoticed. In isolation it won’t make a great deal of difference – but multiply these small gaps over the size of your entire workforce and you’re looking at potentially significant revenue loss.
Taking time out of your busy day to explain how something is done isn’t always probable, and a staff member may be too embarrassed or rushed to ask for help with something everybody else seems to take for granted. Training allows you to refresh your entire team on the basics – and while some staff may scoff at the notion, others will be thankful that one of their hospitality bugbears has been cleared up.
Set Standards of Service
Your team didn’t come from a factory; they all vary regarding experience and expertise and may have distinctly different ideas on the best way of doing things. And while these diffuse methods may all be technically correct (others may be completely wrong, admittedly), training to ensure your staff is delivering a consistent experience for your customers is paramount.
It’s also very easy for any set standards you have to slip, especially when the staff has been working for your business for a while. Sometimes, this may be a case of staff having learned what they can get away with, but just as often such a drop in standards is unconscious.
In either case, a blind eye shouldn’t be turned towards bad practice; poor habits may be picked up on by other members of staff and this drastically increases the chances of an accident or a poor customer experience.
A refresher training course on the standards staff are required to uphold at all times minimises the risk of a drop in these standards and ensures the staff has no excuse for not knowing what is expected of them.
What are you doing to retain high-performing team members? Regular turnover of staff is quite normal in the hospitality industry – but this can be exacerbated if you do nothing to dispel any notion that a staff member’s job is a stopgap or dead-end, or that there may be a better role out there for them with a different business.
If you see staff training not only as a means of plugging skills gaps and keeping standards consistent but as an investment in your current team that will pay off in the form of new senior staff.
Then training will yield significant rewards down the line – especially if you indicate this to your team and use the prospect of promotion to motivate and encourage them.
Cross-training is an excellent means of ensuring your team has a versatile enough skill set to cope with any unexpected staff shortages. Announce compulsory training and staff members that are lower on the hierarchy may huff and puff about being made to learn skills they deem not relevant to their role, while supervisors and other senior members may see training as beneath them.
But if you have a situation whereby you’re one or two staff short, having cross-trained staff on hand with some knowledge of the skills required ensures an inconvenience need not turn into a full-blown crisis.
Cross-training also helps staff members better understand each other’s day-to-day: meaning different departments have more realistic expectations of what is achieved in a given situation. And who knows?
You may discover you have a porter or receptionist with untapped chef skills, a junior member of your waiting staff with a great brain for marketing, or any other realisation of potential which can’t be achieved if the staff is pigeonholed in their day-to-day tasks only.
Much of hospitality training has a business purpose behind it; train your staff in how to provide the best customer experience possible and your business will benefit financially. But in areas such as food hygiene and health and safety, you have a legal obligation to ensure your staff have all of the knowledge necessary to keep customers and other staff members safe from harm.
When it comes to legally-obliged training, businesses have a choice: do the bare minimum required of them, keeping staff informed of legislative changes that affect how they do their jobs and relying on them to retain and apply this new information, or invest just as much in this kind of training as they would a training programme with the goal of a positive business outcome.
Ensuring staff are not just aware of what the laws and regulations are that affect their work, but why these are in place and how they can easily keep on the right side of them may make the difference between adequate and excellent hygiene or health and safety scores – which will in turn affect your revenue.
Investing in training your workforce isn’t a fluffy concept or a ‘nice-to-do’ if you’re performing well in all other aspects of the business. Like your premises, your marketing, your food, drink and every other aspect of your offering, you need to make sure your team are always in tip-top shape. Contact us to discuss a staff training package. The end result will be happier, more motivated, more qualified staff members who are stronger ambassadors for your brand. The result of which is always more revenue for your business.