5 staff management ideas from a recent foodservice gathering

Last week’s NACUFS National Conference proved to be a treasure trove of management and staffing takeaways. Here are a few we noted at the annual event, held this year in Providence, R.I.

1. Make it scalable

When explaining something new to staff, instead of asking, “You got it?” or “You with me?” have employees rate how well they understand the new material on a scale of 1 to 10, said Ron Paul, a senior consulting partner for Partners in Leadership, during a session on building accountability in the workplace. People are likely to say yes even when they don’t fully grasp what you’re talking about, and having them quantify their understanding will help you gauge whether further information is needed.

2. Codify goal behaviors

There is no more important skill to teach employees than the ability to build instant rapport with others, consultant and author John DiJulius said in a general session presentation. In order to help staff deliver stellar customer service, DiJulius suggested creating a “day in the life” video of your typical customer, highlighting the ups and downs they may be facing and the opportunity your team has to brighten their day. He also recommended crafting an internal customer service vision statement—different from a mission statement—that contains actionable steps staff should take each time they interact with customers. To be successful, that vision statement should be trainable and measurable, he said.

3. A no-policy policy

DiJulius prefers the use of guidelines over policies, noting that policies tend to be too black and white and strip away staff’s flexibility to provide strong customer service because they’re too afraid of getting in trouble for breaking the rules. He cited the example of strict no-refund policies, which can keep even the most customer-centered employees from extending a refund when appointments or reservations are missed due to an illness or other emergency.

4. Spread out the work

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery co-founder Sam Calagione spoke during a general session about the open environment he seeks to foster with employees. When asked by an audience member how he solicits constructive feedback from staff, he gave a nod to a solutions-based approach, which presumably helps employees avoid the pitfall of merely complaining. “If you come [to me] with constructive feedback, please also come with a solution,” he said.

5. Don’t distrust millennials

People often discredit millennials’ ambition in the workplace, but DiJulius isn’t buying it. “They are the greatest generation to have worked for you if you can connect their role to a purpose,” he said. Millennials will not trade hours for dollars, he noted; their currency is purpose.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

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