How prepared is your staff?



I'm going to start this post with a few questions for you to ponder on. Give yourself 5 minutes.

Are you dedicating enough time to training? How much time are you dedicating currently? What resources have you made available to your staff? How are you monitoring your staff development?

Now that you have answered these questions, you have a general answer to the question in this blog title - How prepared is your staff?

Most times, when a business gets running, business owners leave it to their managers to provide training and prepare the front of house staff on a daily basis. More often than not, not enough energy and time is allocated to training staff consistently.

Business will either invest a short amount of time to train staff once they are hired or will arrange random training sessions usually spurred by an unfortunate incident with a customer or bad PR. Most businesses underestimate the importance of having a training plan that ensures that employees are able to develop their skills which places them in the best position to handle customers.

We are here to help. We have provided simple steps that can be implemented and repeated to ensure that your staff is capable of providing consistent, professional and quality service.

1. Assess the overall attitude to training and skill development within the business (you did that 5 minutes ago)

2. Assessment - Performance Reviews and Overall Assessment of staff

3. Set a training plan and Develop Resources

4. Train! Train! Train!

Assessment:

Dedicate time to observe staff and make note of key areas that need specific training or areas that can be improved upon. For example, your staff might be able to provide reasonable service but might not have the skills they need to handle disputes with customers or complaining customers ...also known as PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS. To really get the most of this step, what time you dedicate must be enough to assess every member of staff (both front and back of house.) You know what they say, one bad egg [could] spoils the bunch.

Set a training plan and Develop Resources:

You must have a plan. A plan leads to routine. Routine leads to habit. Habit leads to happier, more skilled employees. Sit down and decide how frequently you want to invest time to train your staff. I recommend that the frequency matches the need. If your team is in dire need of training then schedule weekly, biweekly, monthly training, if you have to. It sounds like a commitment but you are investing in your business and your brand by doing so. As your team gets better, you can spread out the training sessions.

Once you decide how often you will train staff, you must begin to develop resources based on what you noticed during your assessment. Let's use the problem solving example. If problem solving is an immediate weakness amongst your staff, then schedule a problem solving training session. What's great about being this specific is you are able to ask your staff for situations where they felt they were unable to problem solve or better yet, common scenarios they face with customers. By making this a collaborative effort between the staff and management, staff then begins to feel that training is genuinely in their best interest.

When developing resources, it is important to document repetitive procedures to ensure that there is a set standard. By standardizing procedures, employees are aware of what is expected of them and they have a reference point, should they forget or be unsure. Create an employee procedures manual and ensure that each employee has access to one at all times.

Key resources that will help staff include:

Checklists - Opening, Closing, Cleaning, Par levels for Wet/Dry Stock, Order of Service etc

Procedures Manual - Closing, Changeover, Receiving stock/merchandise etc

Train! Train! Train!

You have assessed your staff and you have developed your resources. Now is the time to train and implement. Training should happen consistently, not just during training sessions. Managers should be equipped to "spot train" staff. This simply means that managers must utilize any opportunity during business hours to train staff "on the spot" if they see them making a mistake. Usually, staff is less likely to make the same mistake over when they are corrected in real time. Training sessions should always include material that staff can take away and review later. At the end of each training, we encourage you to test your staff to see if they have actually understood the training. Role playing is a good way to get staff involved in training and usually loosens the staff up to enjoy the training session. Post training, it helps to develop a habit of conducting performance reviews to track and document the progress of your staff.

I hope these tips help you in providing your staff with the tools they need to be able to provide better service. For further information, you can contact us for a consultation.

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