Advertisement



Industry

August 4, 2014

The key to hiring great staff

The single biggest expense (both financially and administratively) to any small business is its staff.

However, recruitment and management of employees is often the area that most businesses put the least amount of effort into and do not manage effectively. Often recruitment is a reactive process, rather than a planned one. Staff are often hired in response to a real or perceived urgent need. This approach to staff can set the tone for the relationship (one of unplanned and chaotic reaction, rather than strategic and organised).

Common mistakes that many small businesses make in relation to hiring and retaining staff are:

1. Hiring too quickly – most key (successful) decisions are made with a clear goal in mind after some careful research and analysis. Picking a location for your café is usually based around objective analysis such as foot traffic, available parking and population density. However, many recruitment decisions are based on reactions to subjective experiences, such as being “too busy”.  Not being able to keep up with customer volume can be (and usually is) a result of a number of contributing factors (of which too few staff is but one possible cause). Other potential causes include inefficient allocation of resources, shop layout and overly complicated processes. Before hiring any staff, you should be very clear as to why you need the added position in the business in the first place. Some positions are easy to assess – a restaurant needs a chef. However, other positions can be more complicated to value. How many waiters does a café actually need? An essential criteria for successful and effective recruitment is to have a clearly mapped out organisational structure with up to date and detailed job descriptions for each position in the structure. This might sound like overkill for a small business; however, finding efficiencies in every aspect of operations is critical to the success of every small business. Even a simple organisation chart will help identify whether there are gaps (which should be filled and therefore justify hiring new staff) and where there is duplication (which can suggest that you have too many staff).

2. Firing too slowly – no one wants to be the bad guy. But persisting with a non-performer/lost cause hoping that they will spontaneously improve is a low percentage play. More often than not, the poor performance will continue (if not get worse) until such time as a conflict event occurs. Often there is a lot of emotion associated with such events and, as such, it can be difficult to make smart commercial decisions. There are often two consequences for small business owners who fire an employee in the heat of the moment:
firstly, they end up filling the gap in staff resources, working longer hours and taking on more day to day responsibility;
This, in turn, can often lead to the first mistake mentioned above, in hiring a replacement too quickly, thereby running the risk of perpetuating the cycle.
Generally speaking, once you get that feeling that someone is not working out, it is the right one and it is time to implement a plan. This plan should always be based around honest communication.
Step one: explain clearly what your expectations are and why you feel they are not meeting these expectations (an organisation chart and job description will be invaluable in this situation). Give them the opportunity to respond … they might have valid reasons that you were not aware of as to why they are not delivering, which if fixed actually solves the problem;
Step two: map out a clear path to improvement. Some call this performance management, others call it mentoring. Regardless, if you show an employee how you want something done, you will either solve the problem or make it that much easier to remove them from the business. It is not only about fairness, it is strategic and planned management.
Step three: reward positive improvement (communication is the key). If the employee responds positively to the improvement pathway, maybe they are a keeper and you can give them more responsibility (this rewards you as the owner also, by the way). If they don’t, don’t muck around … make the call and remove them from the business. Sounds harsh, but you can’t be fairer than (a) telling them honestly how you feel (b) giving them the opportunity to tell you how they feel (c) agreeing with them on a pathway to improvement that responds to both yours and their frustrations. If, after all that, they still do not improve, there is not really anything else that can be done.

3. Hiring on assumed technical knowledge/skill and experience (Resume and reference check) – I’m yet to see a resume that wasn’t gilded a bit, and I would be gobsmacked if a prospective employee offered up a referee who wasn’t going to paint them in glowing terms. Every prospective employee is a bit of a gamble, but hiring on attitude (you can always teach knowledge) is a safer strategy than relying on resumes and reference checks. The guy who comes to the interview well-presented and prepared and is enthusiastic is usually giving off the right signals of someone who will be engaged and committed to learning how you want them to work. Attitude is generally the key differential in performance. If someone wants to do a good job, they usually will!

The final piece of the puzzle? Documentation! After everything is said and done, the employer/employee relationship is still a contractual one with legal rights and responsibilities (on both sides). A clearly worded, complete contract of employment can avoid many problems (as both parties know upfront exactly where they stand and what is expected of them (job descriptions should always form part of the employment contract). There is no need, however, for this to be a complicated and wordy document – quite the contrary; the simpler the document is, the easier it is to understand and enforce.  Given that most, if not all, positions in a café will be covered by an Award of one type or another, an employment contract (whether for a full-time, part-time or casual employee) should not be any longer than three pages.  There are some basic essentials that should be included in every employment contract, such as job title, pay rate, status, hours of work and termination provisions. Including these essential criteria in the contract often avoids the necessity to cross reference the contract with the Award (which can be confusing and fraught with misinterpretation).
In my next article I will go through the key components to a hospitality focused employment contract and show you how to create your own document.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Drummond – Director of Corporate Services, Di Bella Coffee.
“Michael Drummond is a qualified lawyer who owned his own practice (focused on the hospitality industry) for over 10 years before he decided to enter the corporate world (instead of just consulting to it) by taking on his role at Di Bella Coffee (a position he has held for nearly two years).





MPM Advertisment
 
 

 

Tavalon Tea – An International premium lifestyle tea company

Tavalon Tea is an international premium lifestyle tea company based in New York City. Since 2005, Tavalon has operated global offices in Dubai, Cairo, Hong Kong, Phnom Pehn, Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai. Tavalon offer the finest, ...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Progress for smallholder coffees at 2018 PNG competition

PORT MORESBY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA (October 16, 2018) – Smallholder coffees excelled at the 2018 Papua New Guinea Coffee Cupping Competition, with top lots achieving over 85 points on Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) scoresheet...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Roastville – Cafe Review

157 Victoria Rd, Marrickville NSW Roast ‘Ville’ inspired by the word village was to become a place where both owners George and Destiny would create a space which is a true reflection of their craft and passion for the hosp...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Fun Fact: Benefits of Parsley

Did you know? Parsley is great for use as a digestive aid. It is a natural breath freshener, anti-carcinogen, contains three times the amount of vitamin C as oranges, and twice the amount of iron as in spinach. Parsley is usefu...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
Advertisement
 

Almond Breeze Barista Blend

Almond Breeze Barista Blend is Australia’s first almond milk developed in partnership with baristas, specifically for baristas. Available to the food service market, this industry-first milk alternative has been designed to d...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Seven steps to boost business profits and help the environment

Love food – Hate waste – a NSW Governement inititaive: These practical steps will not only help you reduce food waste in your business, but also save you time and money in the long run. If you’re looking to cut co...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Top four food trends you’ll soon see on supermarket shelves

CSIRO News: Food trends come and go. Think matcha, salted caramel and quinoa. But some hang around for longer and are actually based on science. We’ve worked with KPMG to develop a report using our latest science in heath, fo...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Introductory Espresso Machine Technician Course – Oct 30th-31st 2018

Do you have a handy team member in your coffee business that is repairing your espresso equipment but needs some assistance in understanding the technical side of being a coffee technician? This two-day course is designed for n...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Breaking News – Federal Government pushes to stop plant-based products labelled as ‘meat’ or ‘milk’

Plant-based products labelled “meat” or “milk” will have to be rebranded if the Federal Government is successful in lobbying for a change of food standards. Regional Services Minister Bridget McKenzie wi...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Taste is key in promoting insect-based food

New study finds promoting enjoyable aspects of insect-based food is more effective than highlighting health or environmental benefits A new study finds that promoting insect-based food as pleasurable, rather than healthy or env...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 




ad