Top tips for using training to keep your star performers

Whether it be formal or informal, on-the-job or in a classroom, training is often used by pubs to teach staff basic skills. But how can you use training to give your star performers a reason to stay with you?

1 Start on day one

Mark Robson, managing director at Red Mist Leisure, believes staff retention begins on the day people join a company.

“Before they can go behind a bar, into a kitchen or on to one of our floors, all staff have to attend an academy induction,” he says.

As well as key administrative details, staff learn about the “history, culture and values” of the firm and are given a sense of the career path available to them.

“They will know the pay scales and the benefits. They will meet me on day one and know there is no ivory tower.

“We set our stall out early on and I think that helps with retention in the long run.”

2 Realise the value of loyalty

Graham McDonnell, HR director at Be At One, points to the importance of staff learning how to bring customers back time and again.

“Results from our recent Cocktail Insights Report revealed that about 60 per cent of Be At One guests got to know the brand either because a friend took them to one of the bars or a friend recommended it to them,” he says.

“These findings demonstrate just how important it is to focus on training that delivers a unique guest experience and helps build loyalty and footfall.”

3 Think beyond your needs

Robson insists that pub bosses should not limit their training provision to the core skills staff members will use in their current role.

“If you look at the Apprenticeship Levy, and the providers you can use, there is some really cool stuff going on offsite,” he enthuses.

“There will be a lot more we can do to develop chefs, giving them skills they would never get in our kitchens, like butchery for example.”

Robson points to Virgin founder Richard Branson’s ideal of training people well enough so they can leave; treating them well enough so they don’t want to.

“That is a great way of looking at staff. You can’t give people enough credible training,” says Robson. “Use it as an employee benefit.”

4 Invest time and money

McDonnell underlines the retention benefits of committing resources to training.

“Our bartenders are taken through an intensive nine-week training programme, which they need to complete before stepping behind one of our bars for the first time,” he says.

“We invest more than £6,000 in training every bartender, giving them technical and life skills that will remain with them forever.

“Investing significant time and effort into each of our employees has helped build our reputation and is the backbone of our growing business. Plus, it means that we build a loyal and committed workforce - many of our bartenders stay with the company for longer than the industry average.”

5 Give a sense of culture

Robson believes imbedding company culture into recruits from the onset is the way to go.

“We are quite diverse in our training and I think first you have to reference business culture, I think that’s really, really important,” he says.

“We have a very proactive, can-do, forward thinking culture that is very people driven and starts on the day someone joins us.

“We’re opening a new pub soon and we’ve done a lot of social and engagement work with the staff that have TUPE’d across to us so they can touch and feel the business.

“Generally it works well. Giving people a sense of culture gives them pride and a realisation they are not just a cog in a wheel.” ENDS (630 words)

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