Training staff in turbulent times

With rising business rates, the introduction of the living wage, the uncertainty of Brexit and the proliferation of huge hotel and restaurant chains, times have never been tougher for humble hospitality and catering SMEs. With both budgets and time tight, the temptation may be to put training staff nearer the bottom of the priority list.

With one eye on keeping prices competitive and another on reducing costs, operators may feel overwhelmed at the thought of spending time and money on training. Many a client has said to me “What if I train them and they leave?”. My response? “But what if you don’t and they stay?!”

Coffee shop staff

Recruit great people who fit with your business in the first instance and the battle is half won. But hospitality has notoriously high staff turnover and you need to ensure you keep the good ones, otherwise you’ll be stuck in a never-ending, time-consuming cycle of recruitment and induction.

Training and development may seem like an expensive and daunting task, but be resourceful and use a little ingenuity, and it can be surprisingly enjoyable and good value. Get all team members involved with induction programmes. Your existing team will become aware of what they’re capable of; they’ll feel valued and develop an increased sense of responsibility and loyalty. It also works to introduce new staff to everyone and all elements of your company, and frees you to concentrate on other areas of the business.

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Consider free on-line courses, research scholarships and see what council or business enterprise courses might be available locally. Get your suppliers on board – your coffee supplier could run a course on the different types of beans and styles of coffee and your meat supplier could come and talk about different cuts of meat and how best to prepare them. Be open minded and arrange a job swap with another business to up-skill your staff and theirs. But do invest in specialist training consultants where required. Allergen, health and hygiene legislation can all be a minefield and an expert can not only ensure your staff are fully up to speed, but they can help implement best practise to ensure you don’t fall foul of the law as well.

Full trained staff are more confident and competent, and can provide the very best service. It’s therefore essential to find the resources for continual professional development. You’ll reap the benefits through lower staff turnover and increased customer satisfaction. And who doesn’t want that?

Victus Consultancy is passionate about recruiting, training & developing catering and hospitality industry teams. Contact us if you’d like an industry expert to help you attract, retain, coach and mentor the very best people for the benefit of both your business and your customers.