The internal culture shared by your staff is also an extremely influential driving force and is similar to the energy driving the external reputation of your venue. The internal culture of your venue will directly influence the quality of productivity, customer service and therefore profitability in your establishment – so it pays to invest time and effort in promoting positivity (and other values which contribute to a positive culture) amongst your staff. To summarise this statement:
A positive work environment will improve your team’s ability to provide peak customer service, productivity and profitability skills. If your staff feel rewarded, valued and respected, chances are they’ll produce a higher quality output than if they were down-trodden, disrespected and under-rewarded. Create a positive staff culture so that your staff want to work hard for you.
It’s also important not to get morale and staff culture mistaken; morale is more focused and can increase or decrease more frequently amongst a team – staff culture is long standing and not so easily increased or decreased. With this in mind, increasing morale in your venue may increase staff culture, but only after long periods of time. This is a double edged sword: the continual absence of morale in your venue may lead to a long-term decrease in staff culture.
Picture a venue where staff are unmotivated, aren’t passionate about their venue (or the products they create) and work slowly, messily and disrespectfully. Imagine staff who show no respect for objects and other people in the venue, and are constantly late to start their shift (and stand around talking when customers are waiting). This is a worse case scenario – but I have seen it before. Why? The internal culture amongst the ranks of the venue was terrible. The senior staff didn’t care about the venue and the morale of other staff, nor did they care about important issues such as training or career progression. The staff were lazy, and the bar was messy.
This terrible internal culture I have described above was seen from the outside – customers realised that staff didn’t care, so they never returned to the venue. The disappointed customers told their own networks about the poor performance they experienced in the failing venue, which caused a snowball effect.
The poor internal culture of a venue reflects in the external reputation of an establishment. This is the last thing a venue owner wants! A negative internal staff culture will be the catalyst for a negative external reputation.
On the flip side: picture a venue where all staff are respected and treated in high regard, and are offered regular training. Picture respectful management, who offer careful and professional advice and guidance to their staff. Picture staff who work diligently and respectfully, and enjoy themselves behind the bar. They laugh and have a good time, but simultaneously produce a respectable, industry-leading product. This team shares a positive internal culture and are the people who propel a venue into success.
Customers receive ‘positive energy’ from watching and interacting with happy staff. If staff are having a good time, customers are more likely to have a good time in your venue also. This will contribute towards the positive emotional connection held between your customers and your venue (channelled through the positivity of your team).
A team that shares a positive culture share a dedicated respect for their venue. They respect their venue because they understand that they are respected and rewarded in return. They’ll work considerably harder and more efficient with a positive culture driving them. Foster a positive internal culture, and you’ll get so much more from your staff.
It pays to invest in growing and nurturing your internal staff culture. Aim to create a positive emotional connection between each of your staff members and your venue.
The characteristics of the internal culture of a venue also change and adapt very slowly – if they are positive and productive, they’ll probably stay that way for a long time, and will be passed down from senior staff. Alternatively, if the internal culture is negative and unproductive, it’ll stay that way for a considerable period of time also.
You are probably asking yourself: How do you promote a positive culture amongst your staff? It’s important to remember that culture is exposed to a new staff member from the moment they nervously walk in with their resume, so it’s good to be ready to act professionally and respectfully from the moment you make first contact with them. It’s important to realise that positive culture emancipates from the attitude of management and senior staff, so it’s important to start building positive culture from the top of your rank structure (think realistically: imagine the culture in a venue where the owner or general manager is negative, unprofessional and disrespectful).
The following things can be done to promote a positive culture in your venue:
- Regular and consistent training in areas such as product knowledge, customer service and sales techniques
- Recognition of creative talent amongst staff
- Recognition of hard work, or a customer compliment
- Holding regular team meetings, where all staff are encouraged to contribute
- The dissemination of information, whether it be operationally orientated, or product-knowledge based (or industry gossip)
- The equal treatment of all staff, whether they be cleaners or general managers
- The ability for staff to be able to advance financially (i.e. If they learn sufficient skills and acquire new responsibilities, they will earn a higher hourly rate or salary)
- The promotion of a strong but light-hearted work ethic
- Regular social gatherings, and regular scenarios where staff can obviously feel that they are appreciated (this is as simple as verbally voicing this appreciation to your staff)
- Regular affirmation from the highest management tier (owner, group manager, or general manager, whoever this may be) that staff are appreciated
- Regular performance reviews, where staff receive constructive feedback (and have the ability to provide feedback about the venue)
- The adoption of the core fact that we are all in the hospitality industry, and we are all here to be ‘hospitable’!
- The honouring of all management ‘promises’, whether they be for a particular individual or group incentive, or something similar (basically, don’t make promises you can’t keep)
The following things contribute to a negative culture in an establishment:
- The creation of false promises, or false incentives
- The acceptance of inappropriate conduct or procedures
- Management treating junior staff disrespectfully
- Double standards
If you are successful in fostering a positive internal culture amongst your staff, training them to operate at the highest levels of customer service, productivity and profitability will be many times easier. If your staff are emotionally connected to your venue, they’ll work harder and smarter – which ultimately means you’ll make greater profit.