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Updated: Oct 7, 2021


Ever wondered why you don’t seem to attract the best managers or why some members of your team are not fully engaged or why you have had spells of high staff turnover? The latter being arguably the biggest drain on resource, profitability and dare I say reputation. Well here are 10 truths that you may want to consider that are guaranteed to have a positive effect attracting, engaging and retaining a high performing team.

1. Recruitment – who needs training on recruitment, it’s easy right? The candidate needs a job, you need someone with experience - job done. No, it’s really not that simple and that's the first critical mistake leaders make and every time they do it dents the P&L and the ability to strengthen and grow a business. Strong interview and selection skills is an invaluable skill not to be underestimated. With a few respected disciplines the process can be engaging, on brand and remarkably effective.

I’ve enjoyed a lot of success in recruitment. Why? I didn't hire for the day, I hired for the future. I wasn't a recruiter I was a talent scout. I didn't look for immediate impact, I looked for potential. My objective when teaching managers how to master this process is this simple - they must deliver the best interview their candidate has ever had! But if you've never been taught the process and the skills it’s difficult to get this fundamental right.

2. Culture is at the heart of every successful business. If smart recruitment is the first line of defence in protecting your culture and your brands reputation, why do we sometimes let 'anyone' join our business? Just one wrong person can undo so much good work, when a brand ambassador that exhibits the right characteristics and appreciates all we are trying to achieve is priceless. Attitude trumps experience and ‘why’ trumps ‘what’ every time. Culture is king and must be protected at all costs. A culture of kindness, respect, and exceptional customer service. Do you have a culture to be proud of?

3. Induction - How many times have you heard the phrase, "OK were quite busy now so let's jump on tills and we'll talk about the business later when we have time." Yet they never do and 3 months later that new employee leaves and you do it all again! Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." The interview is important but equally so is the Induction and introducing your company’s values and culture. It's nothing to do with completing forms. It's the welcome and displaying your excitement and enthusiasm for having another superstar join the business. It's about sharing your vision, values and expectations. It's reassuring them that there will be challenging days and that they'll never be alone because you care, you’re now family and you have their back.

4. Training is important, but how many trainers are qualified to deliver it. They may know the business inside out, but do they possess the essential skills that will make their training memorable, enjoyable and effective. It’s not about WHAT we do, it’s about WHY we do it and do we take the time to check they've understood and can execute every task to the highest standard? Sadly, this is rare as it’s time consuming and an additional expense that many can't afford.

If you compromise on the quality of training you risk diluting your core values, which dents your culture. You renege on your promise that you made in the interview and induction (which you may have skipped anyway?). Maybe it doesn't matter because they’re going to leave in a few weeks anyway and you might be back at square one. Oh, what a shame and they had so much experience!

5. Development - Many surveys have concluded that top performers deem personal development more valuable than an improved renumeration package. Management can only achieve so much before they hit a wall and need more in their toolbox. We all need some help growing, evolving and developing. Maybe access to a great set of industry related books or the industry’s most engaging e-learning platform. Attending an in-house workshop or a ticket to an industry conference or even the reward of a coach or mentor. A lack of development suggests a lack of awareness or interest and whilst it maybe be just a lack of budget. Development starts with interest and doesn’t always mean an expense, after all, time is the most valuable resource a leader has – so share it.

6. Communication – If we’re honest a lack of communication is often the cause of your team’s biggest frustration. Crazy when there are so many methods of effective, engaging communication that can convey a brand vision, team appreciation and honesty and clarity. Should your employees expect anything less? How about a weekly update from the CEO, a monthly culture update from the Head of Training, a marketing update, recognition of work anniversaries or outstanding performance. So many opportunities. What will you start today?

7. Leadership - we owe it to our people to lead from the front and display the character traits of great leaders that passed before us. Passion, pride and positivity. If you're a leader and don't bring your A game, why should your team? But do your managers know the difference between management and leadership? Has such a question ever been raised? Maybe not and that's another reason to develop your team and invest in leadership skills training so they become aware of leadership competencies and know how their performance will be measured. These together with fundamental management values can be the difference in retaining your best talent and setting the path for future leaders.

8. Celebration - who doesn't love a celebration? However big or small; a cheeky beer at the end of a shift, a high-five when you secure a group booking, a card on your work anniversary, dinner with the founder for going above and beyond, two tickets to Paris for employee of the quarter, an invitation to complete your Level 2 WSET for your contribution to wine training.

9. Coffee chats – still a terribly under-utilised management process, so often an annual event, ill prepared and a tick box exercise with little yield. Yet regular meaningful 121s are such a powerful tool that can be used to deliver a multitude of feedback. To reassure, encourage, challenge, correct, reward, praise. These conversations should be taking place in every workplace. Whether you call this a coffee chat, an appraisal or a big conversation, great managers and leaders talk to their team often. Before, during and after a shift. Simple rule of thumb - take any excuse for a conversation. It’s good to talk - it’s even better to listen!

10. Plan for the future – if you are responsible for a business, a department, a team or a person you have an obligation to plan for the future and their future - if you want to have a future! Great leaders always have one eye on the future; hiring, training and developing people, sharing their vision and values and creating opportunities for the business and your people to grow. Why point them in the direction when you can take them on a journey they’ll never want to end.

It’s OK if you don’t know the best route yet, but you should ensure that everyone is safe and will enjoy the ride that should be full of adventure, discovery and purpose. Where you can grow and evolve together, create memories or better still a legacy. That’s culture to be proud of and how to attract, engage and retain the best.

10 Hospitality is a training, coaching and motivation consultancy supporting all industries, promoting management & leadership development, team engagement and great customer service. Find out more at AK

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