When it comes to the success of your restaurant, few things are more important than your staff. Hiring the right people and providing them with the training, tools, and resources they need to succeed should be at the top of your list of priorities as a manager. However, this is not always easy, especially when you have a lot on your plate.
Here are 5 common mistakes managers make when hiring and managing employees (and some tips for how to avoid them):
1. Going Too Easy on Candidates
When you need to fill an open position, it can be tempting to hire the first candidate that shows promise. However, it’s important to make sure you fully vet each candidate and choose the right one for the job.
Even if a candidate looks great on paper, try not to go into the interview overly optimistic. It’s okay to be picky. Edwyn Kumar from Hart House Restaurant believes you should approach interviews with a healthy dose of skepticism:
“Don’t qualify someone for a job. If you sit down with a candidate, assume you’re not hiring them. You’ll overlook so many things because you’re desperate, or like ‘Oh yeah, they were really great this way,’ and you’ll overlook some big flags. It’s their job to qualify themselves for the position—not yours. You know what the position requires and the qualifications have to be proven to you. So when you switch that around, you’re really relaxed in an interview because you’re not trying to make them win. Once they’re your employee, now you can make them win.”
2. Not Promoting Internally
When it comes to hiring, it’s common for managers to rely on external candidates rather than looking at existing staff. While you may not always have someone qualified for (or interested in) the position, it’s a good idea to consider offering promotions to existing employees before looking elsewhere.
Not only does this motivate your staff and make them feel appreciated, it also means you’ll know what to expect in terms of their skillset and work ethic. You’ll also benefit from the fact that they already know your system, business model, and staff. This means they’ll require less training and less time to get acclimated to your way of doing things.
3. Inadequately Training New Employees
When you hire someone new, you want to give them every opportunity to be successful. Especially if you’re busy or short on staff, it’s easy to skimp on training and simply hope new hires will “learn on the job.”
Not only is this stressful for the new employee—it also puts pressure on your existing staff to help them get acclimated. New employees are investments, and it’s important to dedicate the time, effort, and resources necessary to prepare each new hire for the job.
Here are some tips for making the training process run smoothly:
- Prepare your existing staff by announcing new hires in advance.
- Schedule a few hours to go over your menu, expectations, scheduling practices, break rules, and other details with each new hire.
- Assign an existing staff member to mentor each new hire and require a period of job shadowing.
- Provide regular feedback and ask new hires to come to you with questions.
4. Failing to Communicate Goals to Staff
Don’t keep your staff in the dark about your big-picture goals. It’s easy to keep your long-term vision for your business separate from the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities that make it run. However, you want your staff to contribute to your restaurant’s success, and they need to have a sense for your long-term goals in order to do that.
Keeping your staff informed ensures they’re all on the same page and everyone is working together to achieve a common goal. It also prepares them for potential promotions when managerial positions open up.
5. Hesitating to Delegate
It’s good to be proactive and aware of all the little things that need to be done. However, trying to do everything yourself and focusing too heavily on the details can leave you overworked and distract you from the bigger picture.
You need to trust your staff and delegate effectively in order to achieve your goals. To do this, you need to identify what tasks and responsibilities need to be delegated, and to whom. Hiring the right employees, training them properly, and sharing your long-term goals with them will help you feel confident in their ability to handle whatever tasks you delegate to them.
The best way to avoid making these common mistakes is simply to be aware of them. Always keep your big-picture goals in mind, share them with your employees, and consider them when making important decisions.