Training is about more than just onboarding. Continuous training leads to better employee performance and even a happier team that’s more likely to work there longer.
Research from the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers shows that 27% of hourly employees in the hospitality industry will leave their job within the first 90 days. And 66% of all hourly employee terminations were within the first year of employment. When you’ve found a good employee, you’ve got to make sure you do everything you can to hold onto them!
We’re assuming you’ve already found someone to join your team. For advice on finding, interviewing and onboarding new employees, check out our Hiring Guide.
Training is so much more than just legally mandated certifications, like ServSafe. And it all starts before you’ve hired someone.
Plan Your Onboarding Before Your New Employee Starts
So you’ve found the perfect new hire. Congratulations! In a labor market with record-low unemployment, that’s no easy feat.
But your work doesn’t end there: now it’s time to train your new employee. Most likely, you hired someone long after you needed them, so you might feel the urge to get them started right away. That seems like a great short-term strategy, but if you want your new employee to provide an excellent customer experience, and stay excited about their new opportunity, you need to invest in training first.
Spend a few minutes reviewing and updating your training checklist before your new hire starts. Be explicit about what your new employee needs to know before the end of their first day, first week and first month.
To get them up-to-speed on the actual duties of their job, assign a veteran employee you trust to be their mentor and trainer. Be mindful of who you pick, because this experienced employee will teach the new employee more than just how to perform their job – they’ll also imprint cultural and other intangible values on the new recruit.
Most importantly, pick a current employee that’s enthusiastic about their work. Don’t use the training opportunity as a way to win back an unenthusiastic employee.
Even with help from your team, you should stay personally involved in training your new employee – as the hiring manager, your attention will help make your new employees feel welcomed and valued. Serve an active role in training your new hire in the larger team goals, mission and culture. Also, don’t forget the operational aspects of training and onboarding: make sure your new employee knows how to clock in for work and how to review their time cards.
Use this printable employee onboarding checklist to be sure you’re setting up your newest teammates for success.
Provide Lots of Positive Reinforcement
Be specific and be generous with your praise for your employees. This is true regardless of how long an employee has been at your business. Recognition for a job well done is free, but it also reinforces how much you value your team and how much you care about them individually.
Specificity is key: rather than something generic like “thanks for a great job today,” if you can, let them know you noticed them going above and beyond. When your team knows you notice their extra work, they’re more likely to go above and beyond in the future. Without recognition, over time, their pride in their work may fade.
For example, if a customer writes a Yelp review about how great their food was, share it with your back-of-house team. If they loved the customer service, make sure your front-of-house team knows. And let them know how their work helps the business as a whole achieve the mission that led them to work there in the first place.
Offer Opportunities for New Skill Development
Eventually, your employees may outgrow their current role, especially if you hired them for an entry-level position.
Unfortunately, the timing doesn’t always align perfectly. You might have a high-performing employee that’s ready for more responsibilities – and maybe even starting to get bored in their current role – but no openings for more senior positions. That’s where cross-training employees can help.
By getting a sense of each of your employees’ career goals, you can provide them with additional career-building opportunities even if a promotion isn’t an option at the moment. Cross-training your best employees can be a win-win – they’ll get experience in new roles, while you’ll get a little extra redundancy when building your employee schedule or in case another employee has to call in sick. For example, in a restaurant, you could cross-train a waiter to serve as a host.
Training as a Team-Building Event
Sometimes training and team-building can overlap perfectly, and you can accomplish two goals at once. For example, one restaurant using Homebase celebrated the day by hosting a sommelier-led wine tasting after hours. The employees loved the event, and they learned a lot about wine and how to pair it with food – a side benefit for the restaurant as well.
The Most Essential Training: One-on-One Feedback
Training shouldn’t always happen in group settings and doesn’t always have to be highly structured. Frequent check-ins and feedback that’s private and individualized can often have the biggest impact.
When you’re providing feedback, be sure to provide solutions. Make the feedback something your employees can learn from.
The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research estimates that the cost to replace an employee is $5,864. With hospitality industry turnover high, and unemployment rates at record lows, you need to do everything you can to retain your staff. Training should be a big part of your employee retention strategy – and it can also serve a role in your revenue growth strategy too.
About Homebase: Homebase powers team management and staffing as part of CHECK® Business Tools. Homebase helps you save time, reduce costs and make hiring easier. Recruit quality candidates, track labor costs, simplify payroll and streamline team communications with just one tool. Learn more about Homebase by visiting team management and staffing in CHECK Business Tools.
About the Author: Carol Wood is the People Operations Director at Homebase, helping provide HR solutions for the over 100,000 businesses that use Homebase to make managing hourly work easier. Prior to Homebase, Carol helped businesses navigate the tricky waters of human resources, working with companies across the retail, foodservice, oil and gas, and healthcare industries through her roles as HR Director at Fuddruckers and Achilles Group, a Houston-based HR consulting firm.