Our industry truly has people at its heart. Paradoxically, many employees in it feel no love for the work they do.
Some studies have found employee turnover in the sector to be as high as 80%, while a 2016 report found that poor staff retention costs UK hospitality businesses £272 million a year.
It seems to stand to reason that happy, motivated staff provide customers with an experience that will make them want to return and keep putting cash in the till. Indeed, Clive Price, Managing Director of award winning Surrey-based multi-site operator Barons Pub Company, tells us, “At Barons we recognise what a valuable asset our staff are. Happy staff make happy customers and we value each and every one. Part of our company ethos is that we are ‘Passionate about People’. This refers to our own people as well as the customers we welcome every day.” Yet for many operators, keeping staff smiling is a major challenge.
It may seem obvious, but simply providing team members with recognition for a job well done can make a huge difference. But do we do it enough? With staggering three-quarters of hospitality workers surveyed in 2015 reporting, they feel their hard work sometimes goes unnoticed, the answer is clearly that we could be doing more.
A little effort can go a long way in keeping staff and customers feeling sunny
So, what more could we be doing? There are two primary aspects to employee recognition. Firstly, and most obviously, there is immediate, specific recognition for a job well done. If you spot an employee going the extra mile to deliver a special experience to a customer, just letting them know that you noticed and appreciated what they did will help them feel valued and drive them to repeat those positive behaviours. Similarly, making a point of vocally praising team members in front of their colleagues can help reinforce your message. Be sure to be fair though; being seen to be playing favourites is a path to disgruntled staff.
A further facet to shorter term, specific recognition is tangible rewards. Many larger operators offer structured rewards schemes. Clive sees the value in this, saying, “As well as offering our staff Discount Cards, we offer performance related bonuses and run an Employee of the Month competition across all our sites. The winner receives a £50 voucher to enjoy a meal on us. In addition, we run employee events such as inter-pub challenges in the form of quiz, rounders, bowling evenings and offer days out to food/drink events”.
In a smaller business, a simple gesture like buying your staff a pint at the end of a hectic Saturday night can go a long way. As the old adage goes, you’ve got to spend money to make money, and being prepared to splash a little cash in rewarding your team could bring returns many times over by allowing you to retain a happy, dedicated, efficient workforce.
The second aspect of employee recognition is a more considered, systematic approach, with an eye to longer term results. In addition to offering immediate praise for specific tasks, many successful operators also set their employees performance targets, with clear, structured processes to achieve them, and rewards provided when targets are met or exceeded. This also allows managers to have productive conversations when goals are not achieved, with an emphasis on development not criticism to drive future progress.
When setting targets as part of a systematic approach to employee recognition, it’s important to communicate your intention as clearly as possible. Are you setting a minimum requirement or an exceptional aim? Ensuring your team understand what your business is striving to achieve, and feel appreciated enough to be fully engaged with their role, is a recipe for long-term excellence.
Time is always precious, but seldom more so than for managers in our industry. Tasked with balancing the business-building side of their role against the less glamorous administrative processes required to promote efficiency, for these people any opportunity to save time is a golden one. Here are our top tips on how to do just that.
Spread your Admin Time
We often speak to managers who dedicate a whole day each week, usually a Monday, to performing administrative functions. While the idea of powering through all these tasks in one session may be appealing, in reality people easily get bogged down and bored, reducing their efficiency. Spreading admin tasks across the week at times when business is slower will allow you to keep a clear, fresh mind, as well as tighten your labour spend by removing your need to be away from service all Monday.
Get a Grip on Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual Processes
From kitchen prep to line cleaning, every hospitality business has core daily and weekly tasks, that quickly become part of a smooth routine. However more occasional processes, carried out monthly, quarterly, or annually, such as P+L reviews and strategic planning, do not benefit from the efficiency of repetition. Spending some time now scoping out the months ahead in terms of the jobs that must be done and best practice for performing them will pay dividends long term in saving time and hassle. It will also ensure these tasks are given the time they deserve, meaning they are not just done, but done well.
Improve Holiday Management
With all hourly-paid employees in the UK entitled to at least 12.07% of the time they work as paid leave, particularly in larger sites, managing holidays can be a muddled minefield. Uncertainty on entitlement, questions about accrual, and having to deal with staff who are confused or dissatisfied about their right to time off can all be big drains on management time. It’s time to ditch the messy office calendar and employ a fast, efficient process for managing holiday time, including employees’ holiday requests.
S4Labour allows managers access to all the holiday data they need at the touch of a button, and employees to request holidays online, taking the irritation out of vacation.
Effective holiday management, communication, and delegation will save managers time and keep employees smiling.
Delegate to Accumulate
It’s always good to speak to managers who have the enthusiasm to take control of their business and firmly grasp control of all aspects of operations. However, we find that this can lead to managers taking on too much work for themselves, and the quality of the work slipping as a result. Delegation to assistants and trusted team members of jobs like writing rotas and counting stock – with GMs stepping back in just to sign off on the tasks when complete – can save valuable management time, with the added benefit of staff development elsewhere in the team.
Communication is King
It almost goes without saying but it’s so critical we couldn’t leave it out! Communication really is king. Ensuring you have an easy, efficient process for sharing rotas and organising team meetings will save time and energy. Even more importantly, making sure you properly communicate to staff what you want them to achieve, how you expect them to deliver that, and your aims for business development will mean employees are happy and motivated and all pulling in the same direction. This allows you to focus on those key tasks of your own that drive your business’s success.
S4Labour is the UK hospitality industry’s fastest growing labour management software. Designed by operators for operators, it helps control costs, improve service, and save management time. Call 01295 267400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a free demonstration.