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The one thing that costs businesses the most is training.You need to factor
how much time it will take to build them up to the level you need to
break-even, and then how much longer to get up to full speed.
As business owners and managers we think a lot about staff and the
impact their skills or lack of are having on the bottom line. The way
they clean up, the way they set the kitchen or prep, the services or
production, it pays to stand and watch your staff from a distance and
lear n the habits that they have picked up and what slows them down.
UPSKILL OR HIRE? A CASE STUDY
When thinking of new staff or filling a gap in your existing roster,
sometimes training or retraining existing staff can be an easier, cheaper
and less stressful way to do it. Lets set an example.
Kathy is an old hat in the kitchen. She has worked for the same
function centre for eight years and car r ies her job well. She is punctual,
efficient and reliable. There’s a gap in the production side of the kitchen
that a part-time or casual team member could fill. It seems the sauce
and stock production each week is less than ideal and the head chef has
been car rying the torch, leaving him wor n by the end of service. What
we need here is a third or fourth year apprentice to fill the spot or
maybe a casual first year chef. Or do we?
Kathy has done all the tasks in the kitchen at one time or another,
even filling in for the chef, so we know she has the hands-on skills,
but are her skills better than a new team member? Watching Kathy, we
notice that she ar r ives for work, tur ns her phone OFF (if you have a
staff member who does this as they enter the door, buy them a Ferrar i
and never let them go), she has a quick coffee and gets to work.
The problems are obvious but simple to sort out. Kathy is a home
cook. In her 50s, she has never received for mal qualifications and many
of the ter ms and methods lear nt in an apprenticeship pass her by. She
gets by with help from others who explain the jargon to her.
So, looking at Kathy and her work we see that she has all the skills
but lacks only a small amount of theoretical knowledge.
In comes Chet. Chet is a third year apprentice who was let go after
the production kitchen he worked in closed down. He comes with a
huge amount of theory under his belt from school, and a handful of
skills from his last job. Chet is sometimes five minutes late and likes to
sneak a look at his phone each time he goes into dry store. His skills
have all been in a production kitchen where he prepared packaged meals
for a hospital. His work is clean and quick and he will make a good chef.
The problem with Chet is that he has never worked anywhere else. Has
no high pressure exper ience. He watches the last five minutes of a shift
wind down with bag and phone in hand and out the door he goes.
So we have two people in our view. Kathy who lacks a little theory
and Chet who is short on exper ience and apparently time. Which
would you choose? Kathy, but she doesn’t know what the method is
for hollandaise. Chet, but he is green in a new workplace. Either way,
training is required.
More often than not, the smaller gaps in a workplace can be filled by
a little retraining of existing staff at a much lower cost than hiring new
staff. If you have an aging workforce, you will be sur prised how much a
little retraining will do to efficiency. In this case, if we gave Kathy a shot
at filling the gap in the kitchen.You can be assured that her existing
skills and a little training will see her become a more efficient team
member than employing a Chet. Even though you may still need a new
member to fill other roles, you would be better served training staff
you already have for new roles as they know you and your business.
Retraining staff can also be a good idea if you find your team slipping.
By giving them options to move about the team, staff will thrive.
So we send Kathy off to college for one day a week for six months
and she will complete a certificate course and will inevitably fill the gap
with flying colours. Now you have an exper ienced and trained member
of the team who can take new staff under her wing and help train
the next line of staff for you. As an Australian employer, we received
incentives from the gover nment for retraining Kathy as she is over 50.
So our costs of training were lower, we gained a certificate qualified
staff member and we filled a gap without any loss of efficiency.
As it tur ns out we needed Chet too, but we were able to put him
in the role Kathy left, which was less pressure and as Kathy is his
supervisor we can sleep well knowing he is being trained properly. n
Malcolm Richardson is an independent food safety consultant
and BDM. Malcolm@thecommonchef.com.au
Article courtesy of Hospitality Australia.
than not, the
smaller gaps in
a workplace can
be filled by a
staff, at a much
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