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​Getting hospitality staff ready for battle this Christmas

​Getting hospitality staff ready for battle this Christmas

We have now entered the season of goodwill. But for those working in the hospitality industry, it can be difficult to remain in good spirits all of the time, with demand in the lead up to Christmas and New Year as full-on as it gets.

In fact, it can sometimes feel like a battle – especially when it comes to keeping staff happy and healthy. Ultimately, it’s your staff who are the ones leading the combat at Christmas, putting themselves forward for extra shifts, cutting nights out with friends short, and missing out on some quality family time as they do so.

But they are the ones who influence whether your business thrives this Christmas and New Year, so it’s vital that you are thoughtful and considerate in your approach to how you manage staff. And it starts now.

Planning ahead

If you haven’t done so already, get your Christmas and New Year rota drawn up. For one, it’ll make you feel proactive and organised but, more importantly, it allows everyone to start planning their festivities around their shifts.

It also enables you to deal with any disputes and discrepancies in advance, so that you can switch people around without any drama (there’s enough of that already at this time of the year).

I think organising the rota early says to the team that “we’ve got this” which helps them prepare mentally and buy into the madness that lies ahead.

Buy-in from the team; manage expectations

Obtaining that staff buy-in is absolutely essential for the busy festive period. Without it, you risk no-shows, refusals to switch shifts, and an “I’m busy” when asked to come in at the last minute.

So, let them know what to expect – they might never have experienced it before. But also offer them some reassurance that you’re all in it together and that all efforts will be made to accommodate people and their leave requests. It’s all about managing expectations at this stage.

Morale boosts

The little things can go a long way at Christmas. For example, just making an effort to eat together before service helps improve the team dynamic, while ensuring that everyone has a nutritious meal in their bellies before they burn it all off. Similarly, having a quick drink after service gives you a chance to say a big “well done” to everyone. And pinning down a date for your January Christmas works do is great for morale – let everyone have their say about where they’d like to go and what they’d like to do (karaoke, anyone?!).

Having a strong team is vital during busy periods. When everybody gets on and has each other’s back, people won’t think twice about helping out their colleague, even if it involves doing a job that isn’t ‘technically’ theirs to do.

The team will also do you proud when it comes to their interaction with guests, many of which may be experiencing your venue for the first time. Their good service could make guests return after Christmas. Party season is the best time for securing some repeat trade as you have a captive audience in high spirits.

It’s the old adage again of look after your staff and they will look after your customers. And it’s a crucial one to remember in the run up to Christmas.

Good luck and let the madness begin…

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