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Managing Teamwork in the Work Place

Although teamwork is a key ingredient to productivity and profit, it is often overlooked in many industries, especially as co-workers compete against each other for new job titles and promotions. Even a talented and creative staff will struggle to produce acceptable results when they are only looking out for number one. If you are managing a staff of individual competitors, rather than a team of productive players, it is time to inspire some team spirit in the office place.

Bonding over Meals

It’s human nature to bond with those you eat with. If you have a staff member who always eats lunch at her desk with spreadsheets in front of her, she might be hardworking, serious about her job, and loyal to the company—but she probably isn’t connecting with her fellow teammates. Implement a new rule that your employees must take a real lunch break within a certain time period. Mingling, small talk in the break room, or lunch dates among co-workers will naturally happen and teamwork will evolve during the working hours.

Group Projects

A staff that doesn’t work well together may need some practice before they get it right. Come up with a creative, low-stress job that you can assign to small groups on a regular basis. You might ask them to create a new logo, work on the company webpage, or maintain a social media account for the business. Monitor their efforts to make sure the work is being delegated evenly and everyone is contributing and listening to new ideas.

Acknowledge Good Teamwork

Most managers already reward outstanding sales, great customer feedback, and new innovative ideas. If teamwork is important to your company, it should also be acknowledged. No act of good teamwork should go by without at least a simple thank you. When promoting staff members to a higher position, don’t forget to mention their stellar team spirit while discussing reasons for their advancement. This will not only encourage them, but it will also show other ambitious employees that teamwork is highly valued by their superiors.

Looking to build your team? We’ve got the perfect players for you! We offer various staffing options from temporary to direct placement. Visit us online today to find out more or give us a call at 877-836-7527.

Sources:

Seven Easy Ways to Get Your Employees to Work as a Team (BetterWorks)

Top Ten Tips for Getting Employees to be Team Oriented Instead of Self Focused (Task 2 Announce)

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Job Duties for Front of the House Staff

Front of the house staff is the part of the restaurant workforce that actively interacts with your customer base. If you need to hire servers and hostesses, you should think about which job duties you might be able to have them perform. While keeping customers happy and closing down at the end of the night are their main responsibilities, they can certainly do more for you.

Collecting feedback. Your front of the house staff talks to your customers constantly. If you are trying to figure out which menu items are best received—aside from checking your sales reports—or which brands of liquor you should be stocking, have them ask. Make it a point during meetings to stress that the more you know about your customers, the better it is for everyone.

Coming up with marketing ideas. Pick your front of the house employees’ brains for advertising ideas. Are people regularly asking your hostesses about birthday specials? Do your servers field requests for promotions to be emailed to them? Choosing the right marketing and advertising avenues for your restaurant is the key to stretching your marketing budget.

Light prep work. This might be a fine line as your front of the house staff generally earns a significantly lower wage than your kitchen staff, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take some of the load off of your prep staff. Servers can portion salads, dressings, and other simple items for their guests. Again avoid making it appear that you are trying to cut labor by pushing unnecessary work off on your servers if you value employee morale.

Basic management. Do you have a server or two who are exceptionally responsible and great at their jobs? Perhaps you could work out a compensation agreement where they take time to check out other servers at the end of the night. After all, a great server knows exactly what needs to be done. This is also a good way to identify potential future managers.

Using your staff to the utmost is a good way to keep your employees involved. It also lets them see that they play an important role in your restaurant and are not just drones. We can help you find the right staff. Utilizing your human resources is in your hands.

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How to Effectively Schedule Your Restaurant

Aside from food, labor is the biggest cost that any restaurateur faces. Not scheduling enough staff can increase wait times, decrease food quality, and ultimately lead to angry customers. Scheduling too many employees can lead to social loafing, a psychological concept that states that too many people working towards the same goal leads to people exerting significantly less effort than they are capable of. Making an effective restaurant schedule is not as easy as it sounds.

While your back-of-the-house staff costs more than your front-of-the-house team, many of the same scheduling principles can be applied. Pay attention to these factors:

  • Reservations: If you know what kind of volume to expect, you can staff accordingly. This means you don’t get caught shorthanded on a Monday when you didn’t expect much and that you know how many volume staff to schedule on a weekend.
  • Set shifts: Some restaurants have openers, volume or mid-shift employees and closers. This helps to structure your staff and prevents arguments about who gets cut first. It also means that you are planning to cut staff when they are no longer needed while knowing that you have enough team members on hand to properly close.
  • Volume: If sales start dropping off at 7:30, it is time to cut some staff. Let your staff who came in first to prep food or set up tables go home for the evening. Labor should be a function of volume. Your labor should be between 10% and 16% of your sales. Yes various pricing levels will have an effect, but keep this figure in mind.
  • Staff performance: The truth is some staff members are stronger than others. Put together a staff that has your stronger employees working with those who still need a little development. Scheduling all of your best on the same nights (yes, you need to do this on weekends) might make things run smoothly and please you as a manager, but it means that one night you will have your weaker members working together. This means that set-up, service, and cleaning will all run less efficiently and raise your labor cost.

Putting together a well thought out schedule can save you money and help to keep you organized. If you need staff in a pinch or temporarily for a special event, take a moment to let us tell you how we can help.

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Two Weeks’ Notice

The fact of the matter is that turnover is a very real thing, especially when it comes to construction or hospitality staffing. Employees find new jobs, be it because they are unhappy, are moving or simply want to work in a new position. Ideally an exiting employee provides you with notice. Two weeks is standard but let’s be honest, even a week is nice.

The Employer’s Role

When you receive a two weeks’ notice, you have options. Unless a contract stipulates it, you are not required to grant the employee the entire two weeks if you already have a new person trained and lined up. On the other hand, you can ask the employee to stay a little longer than two weeks, but he is not obligated to say yes. Replacing an employee can be time-intensive, so begin searching for a replacement as soon as possible. You can look for new hires at a job fair or through a staffing agency. Bringing in a temp could give you some extra time to find the perfect long-term person for the position.

Managing the Last Two Weeks

If the employee is in good standing, there is usually not a reason to let him go immediately once he has given notice. After all, he did provide you the courtesy of notice. You may want to set up some expectations for the last two weeks. One theory says that you just politely let departing employees know that nothing will change–they will be responsible for the same duties they have always been and that now there is simply a defined end date.

If you are not comfortable with this, you may choose to downgrade their duties a bit. You may transition them away from some of the job functions that are key to the overall business and ask that they work in a backup role while they finish out their time with your company. If you exercise this option, take some time to explain to the employee that you appreciate their being straightforward with you but that you have a process for transitioning staff out of your company. Keep in mind that allowing staff to complete their notice sends a good signal to other staff members. It will make them more likely to warn you when they decide upon a job change themselves and let them know that you are an understanding employer.

Dealing with the fact that employees quit is simply part of running a business. Every manager needs to be ready to transition employees out of their jobs while simultaneously bringing on new staff. Having a plan in place will help to make this process easier for you.

Sources:

How to Hire Wisely (Inc.)

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How to Describe Management Experience on a Resume

Every job seeker has the same goal while polishing his resume: to keep his list of experience and accomplishments from hitting the trash can. As hiring managers skim through work histories, they are often looking for signs of leadership and past management positions. Optimize your management experience by choosing the ideal placement, giving the right amount of information, and perfecting the wording to catch the manager’s interest.

Find Proper Placement

To most effectively draw attention to your management experience, place it at the top of your resume, directly under the career objective. If your past management position was not your most recent employment, you can still move it to the top of the resume in several ways. Many people will only include relevant work experience on the resume. Others choose not to list their work history chronologically, but instead in order of relevance. Whichever option you choose, be careful to be upfront in its labeling. You do not want the hiring manager to suspect you are trying to trick him.

Know What Information to Give

Don’t clutter up your resume with information the hiring manager won’t need. Common examples of this are the full addresses of businesses or the names of your supervisors. Instead, focus on your achievements. Provide a description of your management position, and most importantly, don’t spare any details about ways you helped bring in extra profits or increase productivity. This is your place to brag about what you can do and convince a potential future boss that you would be an asset to their company. Other information to provide about past management experience includes:

  • Exact job title
  • Company name
  • Company description
  • Length of employment

Craft the Perfect Wording

Before diving into your work descriptions, strategize. You want short, direct sentences that communicate a strong message and set you apart from other applicants. Try to start sentences with action verbs when possible. Use specific language, leaving aside fluffy word choices such as “great,” “good,” or “things.” Of course, your final step should include several thorough proofreads. You don’t distract the hiring manager from your leadership skills with an accidental misspelling. Guard against errors with the help of a friend for a final and honest look over before sending your resume to a potential new employer.

For more tips on employment—both getting hired and hiring—please visit us online. We offer a wide variety of staffing solutions for many different industries.

Sources:

MIT Career Development Center

Sandbox Advisors

Tech Republic

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Managing for Over Time

Everyone who oversees budgets and staff knows that labor expenses are among the most significant expenses on any balance sheet. As important a role as staff play in every business, controlling expenses is a constant issue for management. For many mangers doing this correctly it has been the difference between a paycheck and filing for unemployment. Considering the implications overtime expenses must take center stage.

Here in Arizona the Industrial Commission has first say in employer compliance. Overtime compensation is one of the few areas where a set of legislation has not been written by the Industrial Commission of Arizona. Instead our state based governing body defers to the federally based Fair Labor and Standards Act. This piece of policy speaks directly to overtime pay and what an employer must do to stay on the right side of the law.

As we all know, compensation equivalent to time and a half of exact or average hourly pay is due to an employee that works more than forty hours in a given week. The weekly schedule is determined by the employer and simply must follow a seven day schedule. Work on weekends and holidays does not count as overtime unless work on those days constitutes an excess of forty hours worked. Avoiding this cost increase is a vital skill for every manager.

Avoiding Overtime

A well written schedule is a manager’s best friend. A well written schedule helps to not only avoid overtime but to keep your labor costs in line in general. Overstaffing is just as bad if not worse than paying overtime. Overtime is an identifiable and adjustable issue while overstaffing sometimes becomes commonplace. Once you have identified an overtime issue it is time to look at the scope of your staff’s workload. Take some advice:

  • The truth is there might be more work to be done than you originally thought. If getting the job done consistently requires overtime then you will need to add staff, especially during busy shifts or seasons.
  • Also try watching and taking mental—or written—notes. Is your staff working as quickly as they should be? Are some employees taking unnecessary breaks towards the end of a day or shift which leads to the increase in how long it takes to get the job done?
  • Be clear—yet not overbearing—with your staff about expectations pertinent to the amount of time it takes to get the job done. Provide them with a schedule and order in which job duties are best performed to stay on top of time management if necessary.
  • It might be tempting to massage the numbers. DO NOT do this. Not only is it illegal, it is a sure fire way to kill morale and pit staff against management. The Supreme Court is currently considering hearing a case out of California where hospital workers agreed to have their wages altered to avoid being paid overtime for working in excess of eight hours per day. The tradeoff for the employees was that they worked longer days in exchange for more full days off. The agreement was legally upheld in California but there is no certainty that the Federal decision will be the same. If you are not sure about whether your tactics are legal, read up on employment law or consult an attorney. “I didn’t know” will not get you out of fines and other forms of legal recourse.
  • Bring in temporary employees to fill overtime gaps. It is a great way to ensure that your staff is not overworked and that your expenses stay in line. We would love to discuss the other advantages with you and help you to put together a plan that fits your business needs. Just call (877-522-7797) and we will find a way to make things better.

Sources:

The Legality of Reducing Wage Rate to ‘Avoid” Overtime; The Supreme Court May Decide (Wage and Hour Developments and Insight)

Overtime Pay Requirements of the FLSA (U.S. Department of Labor)

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