6 Tips for Firmer, Smarter Staff Management - By Ken Burgin

One of President Obama's top staff once said 'You never want a serious crisis to go to waste… it's an opportunity to do things you could not do before.' So how can you use the current downturn to make permanent improvements in the way you recruit, manage and motivate staff?

Profitable Hospitality One of President Obama's top staff once said "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste… it's an opportunity to do things you could not do before."

So how can you use the current downturn to make permanent improvements in the way you recruit, manage and motivate staff?

Here's our first list of suggestions, and for those without an HR department (most people), you have all the resources needed in our Staff Management Department and Staffing Downloads.


  • Ditch wasteful recruitment: suddenly, there's more talent on the market, but they're still choosey and have a nose for BS. Direct people to your employment web page or the online ad. Get rid of fake promises and hype, and add testimonials, clearly stated benefits and photos.
  • Shift the roster online: say goodbye to endless phone calls and tedious revisions. For large businesses, there's no excuse. There are many competitive services, for very low cost. Will staff cope?!? If it involves money and hours, they've always found a way to manage before - don't panic!
  • Link more performance to results: you have the information needed in your POS and supplier invoices, it just needs better analysis. Some staff have results that are directly measurable eg servers and bar staff, and others have team results (like the kitchen). If you can't get useful figures as they happen, the accounts department needs to be on your hit list as well (maybe that's you!). Real motivation comes when there's both pain and gain, backed up by transparent and measurable results.
  • Pay the stars more: is it time to change pay differentials between the good, better and best staff? Even a small pay increase can give a big morale boost and linking to performance can offer even more. Rewards go to those who are fast, accurate and finding ways to do things better...maybe this also means no increase for those who've made no improvement.
  • Make leaders accountable for behaviour, not just figures: staff are nervous as they see layoffs occurring - do your managers make the situation better or worse? Some always play the blame game, and can't control their moods. They're not flexible, and when the pressure is on they can't bring order to chaos. Staff are not inspired by their leadership, and turnover is often high. Review their performance with proper, wide-ranging job descriptions.
  • Replace boring work with machines: whether it's a better coffee machine, hand-held ordering or iPad controls, this can be a change that everyone likes. It also eliminates dull, repetitive jobs so staff can concentrate on smiles, service and true hospitality.
    Use these Resources:

  • Watch this short video on how to create a private Facebook Group for internal staff communication - it's a very effective solution.
  • Skill Boosters for Managers: Quick Options - one-size solutions may work for base-level staff, but offering options to experienced staff will lead to more enthusiasm and take-up. Here are more than 40!
  • How to Create a Great Employment Page on your Website - how to attract quality applicants and 'sell' them the benefits you offer. Even a small business can make a big impact - most of the large operators are doing it the wrong way and getting a poor response.
  • KPI's to Measure Staff Productivity & Workplace Quality - you need figures that are easy to find and interpret, and make sense to the people they affect. Most of these are readily available, waiting to be used. Also check 10 Ways to Measure & Improve Sales Performance.

Profitable Hospitality offers management and cost-control systems (Manuals & CD-ROMs) for restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars and clubs. The systems are based on the extensive consulting and operating experience of CEO Ken Burgin, and enable busy owners and managers to set up complete operating and cost-control systems in minutes, not months. Profitable Hospitality also runs regular management training workshops in the areas of kitchen profit & efficiency, restaurant marketing and functions management. A free monthly e-newsletter keeps you up to date on the latest industry management issues.

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