Strategies for fixing staff problems

Strategies for fixing staff problems

Sidona Group’s Anne Blackburn shares strategies for resolving staff problems.

Are you spending too much time, effort and resource in dealing with problem staff? If so, I have some strategies to share for dealing with staff problems.

Do you have staff with poor attitude, who cause conflict with team members and guests, don’t take responsibility for their actions, never meet your service standards and don’t follow instructions?

Hospitality is a people business and a team sport. With guest expectations at an all-time high, you cannot afford to have staff who are not performing consistently well.

This has a negative impact on morale, employee turnover (often losing your best people), your employer brand, productivity and guest satisfaction. Resulting in loss of revenue, profitability and a bad reputation.

So, what can you do to prevent staff problems and create a high performing workforce?

Right Recruitment Techniques

Ensure your recruitment processes identify attitude and personality and get the right fit for your culture and guest profile.

Observe candidates on a taster day, interview in groups and involve your best people to test out the candidates. Can you do more to get the right people into your organisation?

Leadership Development

People join organisations and quit leaders. People will choose their behaviours and language based on how they are treated by their managers.

Staff serve as you lead so ensure leaders are creating a supporting, nurturing and rewarding environment that creates the desire and opportunity to do a great job.

Invest in developing your leaders to have the skills, knowledge and emotional intelligence to maximise the potential of every member of their team.

Ensure they spend at least 50% of their time setting clear expectations and coaching staff on how to do their job better. Are your leaders great role models?

Examine your Processes

Sometimes organisational processes act as a barrier to delivering a great guest experience and frustrate staff as well as guests.

Staff may not want to mention something that has always been a rule, holds them back and could be done better. Ask staff if any of your processes are getting in the way of them doing a great job. Then change what’s not working quickly.

So, now let us turn our attention to strategies for fixing staff problems. Here’s my top five list:

1. Identify the Cause

Why is someone not performing to the necessary standard? Is it poor technical skills or an attitude problem? Technical skills can be trained to solve the problem quickly. Attitude changes require strong leadership skill to influence the necessary change.

2. Gather Evidence

You need specific examples of poor attitude, unacceptable behaviours towards guests and any inappropriate use of language to support your theory. Examining guest feedback and observing the staff in action will give you specific examples to discuss with the under-performing employee.

3. That “Difficult Conversation”

Leaders need to be brave and have the “difficult” conversation with the employee and point out what is not working and what needs to change. We find too many leaders unskilled or never having these types of conversations so the under-performing colleague continues to deliver poor service, is unaware of their impact and carried along by your best staff.

4. Gain Commitment to Change

The outcome of the conversation needs to be a willingness and commitment to change the attitude and behaviours that are not acceptable.

5. Measure Success

Leaders need to provide coaching to influence and sustain the changes.

Recognise in the moment, the positive changes in behaviours to ensure they are repeated.

Don’t allow problem staff to destroy your guest experience.  People can and do change their performance given the right leadership, environment and training.


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