Why setting a good example will help you attract, create and keep great staff

October 12, 2021
Paul Rifkin

Lockdowns are ending (hopefully) but many hospitality operators are finding that workers have deserted the industry over the last 18 months.

We have some challenges ahead in terms of attracting and retaining staff in this wonderful industry. Clubs will, I believe, be better placed to attract their staff back, but only time will tell.

Hospitality is a tough gig. We are often working hours that don’t match our friends or family’s work hours, yet we do it because we love it. It takes a certain type of person to be ‘hospitable’ and aware of the needs of others for a living.

My observation, over decades of working in hospo, is that some well-meaning staff just can’t seem to be hospitable. It’s just not in their nature.

Training is important and a necessity, but it isn’t the only mechanism to grow your staff.

In order to really succeed, we all need someone who will lift us up … yet few of us find someone who is willing to do this.

Paul Rifkin (right) with Corowa RSL chefs feat
Paul Rifkin (right) with Corowa RSL chef

I have often seen leadership described as pulling up and pushing over. It’s a great sentiment but the reality? Most staff moving up the ladder are too concerned about their own staff taking their job, so the tendency is to train, but not too much. People think that they need to protect their own job.

A confident leader should not be afraid of this.

This is where a solid understanding of what mentoring is really about helps. I had it described to me years ago as, “Find someone who is where you want to be and ask them how to get there.” It seems simple enough, but the reality is harder to come by.

How does one find someone who is where they want to be? How do you approach them and ask the questions?

Lucky for us today, we have social media. That means finding a future mentor is much more accessible. Often you can be mentored from a distance just by following them online.

Better still, engage in a conversation, react to their posts, ask questions and build a relationship. From my experience, most successful people are very keen to assist others. They just need to be asked.

So where does exercise fit into this equation?

Hospitality has its fair share of unfit workers who are eating on the hop. Chefs that are too busy to eat and then pig out and often drink too much. This unhealthy lifestyle can last for decades. I know as I have struggled with it my whole career.

Discipline is the answer. Many successful people in business and management have a high regard for themselves and their body, even though they’re very busy. They make time to exercise.

Time management is the key to achieving this. Watch 30 minutes of TV or do a quick intense workout? Both are possible with an intelligent balance.

Diet is important too, although sometimes hard when you are working around food with easy access to cooked meals. It’s always easier to order a comfort item off the menu when you are under the pump.

Slow down and learn to be disciplined when you eat.

As a manager, your staff are looking for guidance and mentoring. Set the example.

chefpaulrifkin consulting / Club Mentoring and Fine Tuning Specialist

chefpaulrifkin@hotmail.com / www.chefpaulrifkin.com.au


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