Having worked throughout my career in Hospitality and F&B, it breaks my heart to see the effect the pandemic has had on many such businesses, small and large.
As I work with businesses owners, strategising for recovery by maximising opportunity and minimising disruption, I admire the resilience of business owners who – with the right Leadership, Strategy and Team – are putting themselves in a position to recover after this torrid time.
The pandemic has forced tough decisions to be made around People, and affected everyone’s lives. The Hospitality industry is a case in point. We hear now that some such businesses are suffering as they do not have the workforces in place as they reopen to welcome guests. I know we all have 20:20 vision with hindsight, but we must embrace those leadership lessons to build back stronger.
Whilst I understand that the challenge and the causes of such difficulties are not exclusively Covid, the way Hospitality business owners and leaders have treated their teams – on or not on furlough – over the past 18 months will undoubtedly impact how well their business recovers.
The experience of my daughter is teaching me a lesson here. A 19 year old student who has been on furlough from a small locally-owned pub/restaurant for the best part of a year, she is now considering whether to go back to restaurant work as she has managed to secure work in high street retail. In retail she is paid more than the minimum wage for her age, has received full uniform, an exceptionally professional induction, training and onboarding process. She enjoys straight shifts, over and above the legal breaks, and is treated with dignity and respect. Communication and feedback is open and transparent. She knows where she is. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for her experience in Hospitality. Little or no communication whilst she was on furlough, she has returned to an overstretched pressured environment, riddled with the usual stereotypical F&B politics, poor teamwork between kitchen and FOH, no breaks, a lack of training, poor communication and the ‘just suck it up’ mentality which has not changed since I endured it all those years ago.
Is it any wonder she doesn’t want to stay in this environment?
I know that her experience is not typical in all hospitality businesses, and I completely understand the huge financial pressure to survive which businesses have been under recently. HOW you LEAD your team will ultimately impact your business success. USE THE PANDEMIC and the LESSONS LEARNED to take stock of how you are leading your teams:
Our ability as leaders to put yourself in the position of our team:
SHOW COMPASSION – IT’S THEIR LIFE AS WELL AS YOURS
HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU WERE TREATED LIKE THIS..?
JUST BECAUSE THAT’S THE WAY IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN, DOES IT HAVE TO BE?
Straight talking, honest leadership with integrity:
APPROPRIATE and REGULAR
HUMANISE YOUR APPROACH
LISTEN – ASK FOR THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS – FROM EVERYONE
Support and INVOLVE your team and they will support you:
SHARE PROBLEMS – VULNERABILITY IN LEADERSHIP IS NO BAD THING
GIVE PEOPLE THE CONTEXT OF ‘WHY’ DECISIONS ARE MADE
SUPPORT PEOPLE AND TRUST THEM
Mistakes have been made.
Let’s learn these Leadership lessons and build back stronger.