High Performance Hospitality Teams Are Not a Myth

An insider’s view on building high performance hospitality teams by Jeff Karlstrand, Director of Agronomy & Safety

High performance hospitality teams are rare, and we hear it from managers at all levels. “No one wants to work hard anymore.” “My team just isn’t functioning.” “Where are all the good employees?”

For any business unit to be successful, they must be filled with high functioning teams. Managers need to align their teams with goals, today’s goals as well as long term ones. The goals should be achievable but that doesn’t necessarily mean easy. It is ok to put a challenge or stretch goal in front of the team. (Our team is well acquainted with the challenges and goals that make clubs, resorts, hotels, and residential clubs successful. See our management team here.)

Make sure you are not the obstacle preventing our team from succeeding. People don’t come to work planning to do poorly that day. I bet if you ask them, they are doing the best they can but they can’t get past the obstacles.

We are in the customer service industry so ask yourself if the work your team is doing is benefitting the customer.

All new teams need some specific training. Some of this is best done before the employee works their first shift and much of it is done on the job. Take the time to do an orientation with each new employee. Make sure the orientation introduces to the company culture. Your
orientation should include an introduction to:

  • Company Vision – the vision describes the company’s reason for being in business.
  • Company Purpose – why are you here, what do you do for your customers?
  • Company Values – these are the fundamental beliefs of the organization.
  • Goals – short and long term. These should be the company as well as personal goals.
  • Customer Service – The interaction with customers that happens 100s of times a day at your business. A warm greeting, eye contact, a helpful attitude, problem resolution, an invitation to return. Customer service is critical to everyone’s success. Make sure you spend plenty of time focused in this area.
  • Task specific training – The nuts and bolts of the operation. Mowing operations. Setting a room for a dinner or meeting. Cleaning rooms. Tournament set up and operations. Proper food preparation and presentation. The employee’s supervisor should handle this task as he/she is closest to the work being performed.

The best way to ensure consistency in operations is to have written SOPs for each job function. Use the SOPs along with a checklist to make sure associates are all trained to the same standard. It is easier to build a high performance hospitality team when everyone is rowing in the same direction.

Now that we have them trained we need to ramp up the performance. There are a number of ways to get people to perform at a high level. Each manager has to develop a style that fits their personality and comfort level. Managers of high performing teams do a number of things to aid their teams. They include:

  • Remove obstacles – Employees can’t perform if too many obstacles are in the way.
    They need training on the specific task to build the requisite skills to perform the task well. Remember people learn in different ways. Usually, a combination of written and hands on training will give a good base. After you train them, evaluate the performance and retrain to get the desired results.
    Does the machinery work properly? Are the right tools available? Is the banquet room set up to allow efficient flow of servers and guests?
  • Manage backward – Give them the goal, not the pathway.
    Great managers manage backward, most do it forward. People need to have a goal, so start there. We have the goal, we have trained them on processes, we have removed obstacles now let them determine the path that allows them to reach the goal. This involves a certain level of trust on both sides and does not mean abdication of responsibility by the manager. The manager is still around to help guide the process but shouldn’t get bogged down by it.
  • Ownership matters.
    When an employee owns the task they will excel. Great managers transfer ownership to the person doing the work. Tell them just that. “You are responsible for this task and I have total faith in your abilities. I will be available in needed. But it is yours now.”
  • Some failure is ok.
    People aren’t perfect so mistakes will be made. Take these moments as a chance to be a coach. This shouldn’t be a one sided conversation. The coach should reinforce the training and goal and ask questions that allow the teams the opportunity to realize what went off track and how to avoid it next time.

In order for your operation to be successful, teams must be formed and functioning. Once these groups start you can agree upon the goals and let them carry it to completion. Each organization will have multiple teams and multiple goals going at the same time. An organization with high performance hospitality teams (food and beverage, agronomy, banquets, pool, golf ops) allows your club or course to be successful and provides a challenging dynamic workplace for individuals.

Up to Par Management understands hospitality and its integral part in the club and golf business. We are so passionate about this, we created a whole new company that focuses just on that, Taylor Hospitality > taylorhospitality.com.

As you can see we dive deep into the operations of a club to find out all the answers why a club is not profitable for its owners, whether it be building high performance hospitality teams or marketing plans. If you would like to discuss a 30-min complimentary consultation for your property please drop us an email at info@uptoparmanagement.com