Training should be designed to get new hires excited about the job and the restaurant.
Restaurant owners, managers and other staff often view training as a necessary evil. A more productive approach is to consider it the linchpin to creating — and maintaining — a valued and loyal workforce.
I have been subjected to some truly awful training over the years. I have also been a part of some good training programs that could have been great had they been managed better. Here's what I have learned:
1. Don’t allow orientation or the training process to be a burden. If the managers and trainers act as though training is a hassle, trainees will feel as though they made a poor decision, and may quit before they even start.
2. Do make a big deal about the hiring, onboarding and training process. Aim to get the trainees excited, welcome them into the fold and introduce them around. The more comfortable they feel about their decision and their new environment, the more likely their success.
3. Don’t allow your trainers to dictate the training process and train how they want. This will create a sort of “wing it” attitude where the trainee will be introduced to the old: “This is how you are supposed to do it, but this is how we actually do it.”
4. Do create a training agenda for each day, with class time followed by floor time. This will allow the trainee to learn restaurant specifics in a structured environment, and then utilize that information in a practical situation on the floor.
5. Don’t distance yourself from training activities. If you choose to ignore the trainees this will make them feel uncomfortable in their new surroundings.
6. Do follow through with the trainees each day they are in training. It’s essential to make time to ensure that trainees are comfortable and excited—and learning the skills of their specific jobs.
7. Don’t place the trainee with just anyone on the floor, as this could actually lead to misinformation about the job. Additionally this individual may not have the right attitude or skills to train.
8. Do facilitate “train the trainer” classes to teach your trainers how to train, how to coach, how adults learn and how to influence your new hires in a positive way.
9. Don’t use trainees in place of seasoned employees to save on labor. This will merely frustrate trainees, and they will end up quitting. If you let them fly solo before they are ready they will not have the necessary knowledge, and they will fail.
10. Do post a schedule so the trainee, trainers and managers understand daily expectations. This also allows the trainee and management to anticipate the completion of training.
11. Don’t allow trainees to begin a new position until they are completely done with training and their knowledge and skills have been tested. Scheduling them in their new position too early can be disastrous and affect your other employees, your guests and your business.
12. Do ensure that trainees are 100 percent ready for the position. If they don’t seem ready, but they have reached the end of training, give them some extra time. Have a one-on-one conversation to rule out any internal or external issues affecting their readiness.
Remember that new hires are eager to work for you and be successful; they didn’t sign on to fail. It is up to you to provide the tools necessary to achieve success.
Loren Burns is the training manager for Landry’s Rainforest Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando. He will be receiving a master of human resources degree in May 2016.