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National Restaurant Association - Ensuring success for new hires

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Ensuring success for new hires

The process of adding a great employee to your staff doesn’t end after making a job offer. While the interview process ideally leads you to the most qualified applicant, it won’t find you a worker who arrives on the first day knowing everything. Even the best new employees need guidance, whether it’s understanding your communication style or learning how the team functions. Set up yourself and your new employee for success by thinking beyond “you’re hired.”

Establish a training program. Workers come with various experience levels. Instead of assuming prior knowledge, give new hires thorough introductions to your establishment. Creating a comprehensive, consistent training program exposes each new worker to the way you want things done.

Matthew Loder Sr., president of Crabby Bill’s Seafood in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., relies on a detailed orientation. He pairs each new employee with a qualified trainer who provides feedback on progress to management. Trainees receive fact-filled booklets, and take a test on each training subject, Loder says. If a candidate doesn’t score high enough in training, management challenges the trainer and the trainee on the low marks. “If a trainee is identified as not trying or disinterested, we terminate them early before the training is complete.”

Prioritize communication. A mentor-type system such as Loder’s provides a solution to a common problem experienced by new employees – uncertainty about where to turn for help. Not wanting to “bother” management or appear “stupid,” many new workers fail to ask pertinent questions. Sometimes, they learn the answers only when reprimanded for doing something wrong. Be sure to convey the message early and often that you value workers who want to learn and aren’t afraid to speak up.

“Communication is key,” says Matt Levine, owner of the New York-based hospitality company indieFORK. Besides all of the training, have an open-door policy, as well as weekly manager and bi-weekly staff meetings to address concerns, comments and potential areas of improvement, he says.

An up-to-date operations manual of systems, policies and procedures can be a valuable point of reference for new and veteran employees. Checklists for each task also can be helpful to guide workers in an orderly manner through specific responsibilities, such as opening duties.

Provide specific feedback. New employees often are anxious to know whether they do things correctly. Spare them from being mind readers by providing regular feedback. While a mistake might seem obvious to you, an employee likely will repeat it until drawn to the his or her attention. Discuss the problem in private, and focus on a clear solution. When presented in a factual, success-oriented manner (as opposed to overreacting or questioning someone’s aptitude), most people are happy to receive instruction. They want to do well and are relieved to have to second-guess your thoughts.

Likewise, keep positive feedback specific. Telling a new waitress how impressed you were with her presentation of the day’s specials likely will lead to repeated stellar behavior.

Get to know each other. Remember, training isn’t just about technical aspects of the job. Sharing your passion for the establishment gives new workers a “feel” for the place and encourages them to look at their role as part of a bigger picture.

“First and foremost, your team needs to believe in your concept, product and vision,” Levine says. “At the end of the day, you are only as good as your team. If your team truly believes in what they are selling, you have the first step to ensure the success of new employees.”

However, Levine stresses that the introduction should work both ways.

“All of the training and all of the meetings are only effective if your employees enjoy coming to work and love their work environment,” he says. “What has been most effective for us is to understand our employees as well, take the time to get to know them, just as much as they get to understand the restaurant they work for. Each employee brings a new characteristic and personality to our restaurant, making it a more dynamic place for all.”

This content was provided by CareerBuilder.

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