do you deal with an unresponsive staff?

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Joined Sep 8, 2018
I find myself frequently frustrated by working with a staff that doesn't seem to care. Specifically, I take it personally when poor product is served or lackluster service is evident, yet nobody takes the outcome seriously. My excuse has always been that I set myself up by elevating expectations. However, I can't imagine that much can be accomplished without 'raising the bar'. Anybody else have this frustration or, more importantly, anybody overcome it?
 
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The key, I find, is to make the staff understand the importance of good work and the reasons we should all strive for excellence.

Once they fully understand, most of them usually respond very well.

Just like with food safety, until they understand why they should always wash their hands, most of them won't do it.
 
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That, plus if the situation is bad enough... set up a formal corrective action plan, closely and objectively monitor and document progress, and take the proper management action. If employees are undermining the business they need to be corrected or terminated.
 
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When I find my expectations are not being met by a team member, I have a 121 with them. I clearly lay out my expectations. I clearly lay out how the mark is being missed by the team member. I ask them why they are missing the mark. We then come up with a collaborative action plan on how they can hit the mark. Part of the plan is a timeline of two weeks at which point we will sit down and review their progress. I make it abundantly clear that the fate of their employment is in their hands and will be determined by their actions during the two week timeline.
 
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Hi Patrickj,

Like cheflayne mentions, I have found it very useful to make sure you have written expectations. Sit down 121 with each person and make sure they understand that the standards apply to all, including myself. Failure could lead to dismissal. Sadly, some are only motivated by potential loss of the job. Lack of clear, written guidance on standards is an open door to operational failure.

Collective tasting before opening is another tool that might apply. Peer pressure type stuff.

Good luck!
 
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I find myself frequently frustrated by working with a staff that doesn't seem to care. Specifically, I take it personally when poor product is served or lackluster service is evident, yet nobody takes the outcome seriously. My excuse has always been that I set myself up by elevating expectations. However, I can't imagine that much can be accomplished without 'raising the bar'. Anybody else have this frustration or, more importantly, anybody overcome it?
What is your position? Are you just an employee who has no real authority over the substandard performance issues? Or are you in charge, at least to some degree?

If you are in charge and the staff is unresponsive, you must first figure out what you have done wrong and correct your own deficiencies. Without doing that, chances are very good that whatever is wrong with your staff will simply keep repeating itself no matter what you do.

Once you have identified your deficiencies and have corrected them, you need to get your staff's attention, so to speak. It is very likely that most of them have placed you on some sort of a "pay no mind" list which means anything you say will likely go in one ear and out the other. The best way to get their attention is to decide who is the weakest link regardless of their position and fire them (of course, making sure that you do not create any legal trouble for yourself). That will get their attention. Storming about in a rage like a dragon with a hemorrhoid is the best way to get your staff to tune you out. They will respond far better to decisive action than open displays of rage and anger. Power perceived is power achieved.

Once you have their attention, you need to have a plan prepared as to how you are going to get them to up their game. That plan needs to be ready before you fire the weak link. Without it, you will not get anywhere. The plan should outline everything that is substandard in both the FOH and BOH, set minimum standards and what will happen when standards are not met.

But, too much stick and not enough carrot is never a good thing. The staff needs to be assured their efforts to improve will be rewarded in some way. How that's done is up to the dynamics of the business. If profits improve, consider financial incentives. Promote those who show the most consistent effort and improvement. Open displays of appreciation and acknowledgement of good work are free and can have a lot of mileage.

Then again, if you are not in a management position, there's really nothing you can do aside from trying to appeal to management. At this point, you should be looking in earnest for another kitchen with better standards.

Good luck. :)
 

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