From the front line: Find out how good you really are!

From the front line: Find out how good you really are!

Happy new year everyone! As I diligently made my way through the Christmas festivities, mince pies, wine and luxury panettone (a gift from my thoughtful vegetable supplier), my thoughts drifted, as they do, toward business. Specifically, they drifted toward my wonderful team and how, together, we can make 2019 a year in business to remember.

If I think back to when I was working for an hourly wage, if I’m honest, I’d admit to working a little bit harder, concentrating on the work at hand more closely, when I knew the boss, especially the owner, was watching. Your employees today are no different. People are people. They naturally tend to behave and perform differently when you are present in your restaurant, coffee shop or sandwich bar.

A few too many small business owners spend too much of their time out of their businesses. Too much time on the golf course, in the back office or just out and about. Yes, freedom is a key reward of a successful business. But you must be careful you don’t let your absence undermine your performance.

Spending time in you business, what I like to call ‘management by walking around’, is very effective in ensuring your employees are working hard to make your guests happy and ultimately make a profit. But how do you know what your team are doing the vast majority of the time when only their co-workers are around?

An effective tool we use is to periodically have your employees evaluate each other. Just a few short questions from their work colleagues can reveal a much different (more accurate) picture of your employees’ real on-the-job behaviours and attitudes than you may have of them. To make it effective keep it short, punchy and anonymous.

If you really want the dirt, don’t just conduct peer reviews between your floor and kitchen staff. Have employees evaluate their managers too (employees love this one). Some business owners report that peer reviews and employee evaluations of managers have had more of a positive impact on their restaurants level of morale and productivity than anything else they’ve done.

You can only evaluate the behaviour and performance you see (or are told about), and you can’t see it all. Let your team and managers know that they’re going to be evaluated by their peers and those that they manage. It will encourage them to be better employees and managers, whether you’re watching or not.