Every day that goes by brings our society closer to the “new normal” of life during a pandemic. As restaurants begin to reopen around the world, operators will be faced with the challenge of training current employees on new policies and recommendations, as well as updating their onboarding programs to most efficiently bring new employees up to speed. Not only will this training need to cover traditional operations like food safety, there will surely be additional training designed to safeguard employee health and improve infection control. Just as an example, the FDA has published new best practices for restaurants and food pickup/delivery.
For many restaurants, the question is how to efficiently update and roll out these new training programs
and to ensure their success.
Training Challenges and Solutions
Even in the best of times, creating effective employee training has been difficult. Organizations are challenged to keep their training programs updated and relevant to today’s society; in fact, only 13% of workers claim to apply their learning from corporate training in their day-to-day work environment. Training has mostly been accomplished in person and on paper; however, with paper checklists and spreadsheets that don’t encourage feedback, it’s difficult to monitor if training has actually resonated with the staff. Adding to these concerns are the difficulties of chains that must roll out training programs at locations across different time zones.
Today, however, you can leverage technology to achieve training goals. A mobile, digital tool streamlines training tasks, shifting the emphasis from memorizing procedures in a training environment to learning and executing them in the work environment. Training moves out onto the floor by putting checklists and inspections in the hands of front-line employees. Utilizing a digital solution also allows organization-wide changes to be made quickly and helps monitor the success of training programs by identifying pressing issues at the store level.
How It Works
Clearly, all employees have to be trained on some of the same compliance and public safety measures. However, beyond those standards, the necessary training for a delivery driver is likely to be different than optimum training for a line cook or host. A digital, mobile solution like MeazureUp provides the opportunity to create customized onboarding programs that directly reflect the duties and responsibilities of each trainee. This is extremely important when trying to train at scale because the same training program implemented under different circumstances often leads to different outcomes in different locations. This is counterproductive to maintaining brand consistency and achieving optimum compliance – and, therefore, counterproductive to the success of your business.
Instead, the key to optimizing your training program is developing online onboarding for each position across your organization, then pinpointing problems at each location and training those employees to handle the problems they’ll see most frequently. You pinpoint these opportunities for improvement with aggregated audit data that trainers can use to update their programs. They can develop refresher courses that emphasize the skills and techniques proven to maximize productivity and get the team back on track. This also better positions your managers to help employees learn to proactively identify and solve problems on site.
So how would you go about implementing this optimized training?
- Develop specific modules that can be assigned as part of the training for each relevant position. For example, everyone has to pass public safety, but only drivers have to upload proof of a clean driving record, and all employees that interact with the public get extra emphasis on brand identity and brand consistency.
- Beyond onboarding, identify your most frequently recurring issues at each store through results of regular audits at each location.
- Group stores that have issues in common.
- Design and run additional training sessions on an infrequent basis to refocus employees on the proper way to handle these issues at their locations.
When set up properly, this scalable process makes training timely for all employees, provides it in the most relevant environment, and empowers them to stay on track. Employees also benefit from knowing their organization is committed to their long-term development.
The Importance of Feedback
As outlined above, it’s important to recognize that training doesn’t end with onboarding; effective training also helps retain good people. When they have the right skills, team members do their jobs better and feel better about their work – which is important to maintaining employee engagement. According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development.
When your managers and their employees are all connected by the same mobile system, managers are able to continue and build upon their support of their employees. Feedback from an employee to their manager provides a different perspective that can often help the superior create positive change. This communicative environment is also important in retaining employees; when the average cost of replacing an experienced restaurant employee is $5,864, it’s crucial that a feedback-friendly culture is in place from day one. Involving workers in efforts to improve productivity will increase their engagement and loyalty to the company, especially if new processes, based on insights from audits, help make their lives easier.
MeazureUp’s digital checklist solution for restaurants can ensure the right actions are being taken on time, every time, and that accountability is established within each location. This is true for all
restaurant operations and all necessary training. MeazureUp makes it easy to provide training and to evaluate the performance of your employees in order to improve and reinforce training; it also provides a real-time, online dashboard to ensure that new protocols are being executed by front-line employees. And participation is as simple as asking your employees to download an app on their phones.
No one can say what the “new normal” is going to be for the restaurant industry. However, implementing MeazureUp throughout your organization means you – and your employees — will be prepared to handle whatever it turns out to be.