Ahoy matey, welcome aboard… Now, would you like to be thrown into the galley and feed the hungry masses, or walk the plank and be lunch for the sharks below…?
This can be what life is like when you start out working in many hospitality businesses. Often, onboarding new staff comes with little to no training, and simply consists of throwing them in the deep end and seeing if they sink or swim!
The hospitality industry is notorious for not doing employee onboarding very well. You might be one of the lucky ones who got excellent training, but generally this is not the norm for the industry. Often at best it’s training bar or restaurant servers on the fly, much like walking a plank…. Or being thrown into a kitchen unprepared with many hungry customers waiting for you to deliver….
I speak to many business owners who don’t give staff job descriptions, set expectations, provide KPI’s, or offer any training when onboarding new employees. The result is employees who don't understand the products they are serving, what service level is required or what is expected of them. This can result in owners having employees who are afraid to ask questions for fear of not knowing something that they ‘should’ know, and employers who are less than satisfied with their new hire.
Taking the time to have a comprehensive onboarding strategy can assist hospitality businesses greatly in setting the tone for what is expected of new staff members. It also provides an opportunity to outline who you are as a leader and helps to increase your employee retention rate.
Structured onboarding is a crucial part of ensuring staff are trained properly in product knowledge and the way you do service. If you have a level of guest satisfaction that you are hoping to achieve you need to educate your staff on how you would like this done; simply expecting a new employee to know how you want them to communicate with your customers without spelling it out can lead to disaster. Additionally, equipping your staff to deal with complaints and unhappy customers give them the confidence to do so.
This process should also address the more mundane tasks like opening and closing procedure, uniform expectations, when to call in sick if you can’t come to work, and when your employees expect to get paid. If you have a company structure, it should at the very least explain who everyone is, their role, and how they fit into the business.
Knowledge is the key to giving your employees the confidence to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Setting an expectation and a standard of how you would like them to conduct themselves in your workplace is vital to your business success. Happy and productive staff = Happy owners!
Love to hear your thoughts, KB
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: