7 do’s of good people management in the hospitality industry


7 do’s of good people management in the hospitality industry

Staff training

We share our knowledge and insight on people management in hospitality and how to get the most out of your team.

People are at the heart of hospitality and the way individuals are communicated with and managed will dictate the attitude of your front of house team. This, in turn, shapes the guest experience for your customers. At HGEM, from the top of our organisation to our entry-level staff, we have extensive real-world experience of frontline hospitality delivery. This, coupled with a mine of historical data gathered from fifteen years’ insight into best practice training within the hospitality sector, gives us a unique insight into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to people management and leadership. Here are 7 do's…

DO: Lead by example. All managers should model the behaviours and approach you want the whole team to develop. Whatever your brand values are, ensuring managers have an open, friendly, considerate and positive attitude and outlook, and that they demonstrate this in their interactions with the team sets a standard. In the casual dining sector where there can be a high turnover of staff, this is even more important, as General Managers should act as beacons of the brand values, showing new starters how to behave.

DO: Make guest experience a team responsibility, and put it at the core of the team vision. Guest Experience Management should be something that all team members feel invested in. Remind your teams that they have the privileged opportunity to influence and change every guests’ experience. Sharing mystery guest feedback can help with this as it enables individual team members to understand the impact of their interactions with customers. It helps them see the consequences, both positive and negative of their actions. This feeds neatly onto our next do...

DO: Share positive feedback. Too often, feedback isn’t disseminated properly, so that staff who are having a positive impact don’t get the praise and recognition they deserve. But customer’s (and colleagues’) positive experiences should be celebrated and passed on as a way to boost motivation and show team members that their positive attitude and hard work is having an impact. It also gives others within the team concrete examples of how to behave and communicate to create a positive guest experience.

DO: If possible, have meetings and interviews outside the office. HGEM’s Operations and HR Director Lisa Chambers says: “I always interview in an informal environment. A coffee shop is a much better setting than an office. When an interviewee feels relaxed, you are far more likely to get a real sense of their personality. They will talk much more openly. The conversation becomes more authentic and less artificial. Personality is key in recruiting for hospitality and this is more likely to shine through when the formality of the situation is less obvious. In meetings, too, physically leaving the office can help improve productivity.”

DO: Communicate important cultural information in person. Overuse of email is a common mistake, particularly in the higher reaches of hospitality organisations, but increasingly, emails get ignored, or semi-digested and forgotten about. If you have something important to say, call a meeting, or integrate the messaging into your training to ensure it gets taken on board. And make sure that you allow time to listen.

DO: Adjust training to account for individuality within teams. One-size-fits-all training doesn’t work because a good team is made up of a mixture of personality types and learning styles. Not everybody is a people person, or motivated by financial incentives, learns kinesthetically, or thrives under pressure. We are all different, so training a team to assimilate brand values, learn your operational processes, or adapt to organisational change should, wherever possible, allow individual strengths and nuances.

DO: Become a keen observer of your team. It’s more likely you’ll get the best out of your team if you’ve really watched them in action and taken time to identify what particular people do best. A large organisation recruiting a front of house team could set team challenges to see how candidates interact and function within a group. Think about ‘investment in the individual’. As a leader, the onus is on you to spend more time gathering knowledge about your people, improving your empathy and the authenticity of team interactions.

Prioritising the people in your business and building on their knowledge enables you to focus on team behaviours and communication – these have the greatest impact on team engagement and guest experience.

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