I’m sure you have all heard the phrase “There is no I in TEAM”, yet we still see many businesses not embracing the ‘TEAM spirit’.
I started working in restaurant kitchens aged 14 and in the first few I very much saw the lack of Team Work in progress! The culture back in those days was very much a ‘Them Versus Us’ attitude, basically the kitchen staff v the waiting staff, now I may add even at times the kitchen staff didn’t work as a team either, chef’s ego’s are very often BIG, even if a little dumb founded! But my question is WHY? Why did we work like this? Why did the management allow this kind of culture? And WHY do we still find this scenario today?
Let me set the scene a little. Aged 15 I was working in a very successful restaurant kitchen, the chef was very good and the restaurant had many awards for the food. But what I used to witness in the kitchen, behind the scenes was shocking. Before almost every service the Head Chef would make it his priority to upset the restaurant manager, call her names; pick on her, put simply bully her until she ran off to the toilets crying!! Now he would see it all as fun, a bit of harmless banter and in his mind this cajoling and name calling was bringing us closer as a team. Believe me he used to call me and the other kitchen staff many names, but you took it, kept your head down and hoped you didn’t mess up!
Now many may not see the problem in what I have just highlighted as this was a successful restaurant, as I said it had many awards for both its food and service. However, surely if the Team had been more cohesive and worked together it would have been even more successful?
What happens when teams do and don’t work together?
We have all seen the hugely successful result of a relatively low key team pulling together and winning the biggest prize in English Football. Leicester City had no prima donna stars and at the start of the season were expected to be relegated. Now I’m a big F1 fan, a sport that brings together a lot of teamwork, you have the team that designs the car, the team that builds it, the team that develops the strategy, the pit crew team, the driver and the team that supports the driver. Interestingly each team has 2 drivers and last weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix we clearly saw what happens when these 2 drivers don’t work as a team! Instead of getting something they both got nothing.
How to bring your team together
1. It starts with recruitment
It all starts with having the right people, so you have to have your recruitment process right. Make sure from the start you portray to your potential new recruits about what you expect, how you expect them to behave, what your brand values are and ensure they fit. Whilst interviewing ask yourself the questions, will they blend into the team, will they boost the team or will they disrupt the team. You may be desperate for staff but hiring the wrong people may cost you more in the long run than being short in the mean time.
2. Educate your team
Make sure that your brand values are an integral part of your induction and on-going training, this isn’t about food safety, company policies and customer service. Dedicate some time to team building, how to work together and what you want your brand to stand for, not just to the customers but to the staff as well.
To make this more concrete maybe create a brand values oath that all employees sign up to, display them in staff areas and review them.
3. Include your employees in the process
When you create your values get your employees involved as well. A great example of a company that did this is Zappos and Tony Hsieh, he focused on his employees to create and build the company’s brand values.
You should also bring your existing employees into the induction process; have new employees work with different people and not just your senior ones at that also place them in different departments, just so they get a feel for your business. Some of the best ideas can come from unexpected sources and this interaction will make employees feel like they are a key part of the team.
4. Show recognition and appreciation
Everyone likes to be acknowledged for his or her contributions and feel appreciated. Tokens of gratefulness don’t need to be extravagant or expensive; sometimes just a thank you is enough. But you could give cinema tickets, voucher for a meal out or even a training course. If you have a young chef who has created a new dish then mention that on the menu, have the waiting staff mention it to customers. Employee of the month may seem a little 1980’s but it is a great way to inform your customers that you value your staff. The key is to be consistent in promoting the recognition and appreciation.
Your employees are an incredibly important part of your business and in some ways the key to your success. Jim Rohn says it is better to say ‘Let’s go do it, rather than I’ll go do it’. If you get your employees working as a cohesive team, looking out for one another and believing in your business then they will work harder and smarter for you. If you listen to them and show appreciation for them they will be your best investment and asset. These simple actions can provide benefits that will pay back 100 times over.
If you need some advise or help in your hospitality business then contact me now, I specialise in coaching and mentoring your team to perform better making your business better: