What do we really want from our hospitality staff? An essential part of improving the performance and quality of our services is to ensure that our employees roles and responsibilities are clearly communicated to them. This includes not only what they are required to do, but also how to do it properly and efficiently.

It is a vital aspect of the agreement between employer and employee that keeps staff motivated in the workplace and enables them to perform to the best of their ability.


However, problems often arise when these roles are unclear. Often in our haste to measure and quantify all elements of an employees performance, we do not identify what we really want. This is why performance management in the workplace is crucial. It not only gives us the opportunity to reflect on an individual’s strengths and weaknesses within their job, but also allows them to provide feedback. I would suggest that this form of appraisal, coupled with ongoing training and coaching, is the key to communicating what our expectations really are to our staff.

For example, bar staff may have the following five outcomes prescribed to their job:
1. Customer satisfaction;
2. Compliance with RSA and other legislation;
3. Control of stock to be in accordance of OHS policy;
4. Compliance with OHS and other organisation policy; and
5. Area to be clean at all times.

It is unreasonable to expect that these outcomes will be completely met at all times, however it is often understood that staff should strive to maintain a balance and work within the capabilities of their skills, as well as the training and leadership that we provide.

When these outcomes conflict with each other, floor management and supervisors can also provide support and assistance.

Often an employee’s misunderstanding of their priorities is mistaken for laziness or incompetence.

In this situation, coaching is the better means for addressing the issue. Too often, performance appraisals are confused with factors that should be dealt with in coaching sessions, such as presentation, attendance, cash handling and priorities in the workplace.

With this in mind, also consider the way we structure performance appraisals. Often a ranking system of 1 to 10 in customer service communicates a very different idea to our employees.

It presents a window, from what we expect to merely ‘good’, that we deem as appropriate.

How can this process be improved?

I suggest that we should move from ranking performance to asking our staff, ‘How can this be done better?’

Although a number of factors conspire to make complete customer satisfaction an almost unachievable goal, when asked this question staff will often respond with ideas and feedback. In this way, appraisal is a tool to that improves the level of service in your business, as well as communicating your exact expectations in terms of performance.

Appraisals should consist of a review and dialogue between employer and employee, and focus clearly on the future, through personal, career and business development in the next period. In situations where past performance needs to be addressed, coaching sessions become much more useful.

When balanced this way, performance management can be a vital communication tool that assists both staff and the organisation as a whole to progress.

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