Hiring the right people is the obvious way to build a solid team. But how do you maintain that performance standard? Once you have a strong team in place, preserving employees can be a great way to build your restaurant business — and very cost effective. The cost of firing one employee to recruit another will cost you. On average, filling a management position takes 7.5 weeks, while a staff level position takes 5 weeks.

Your business is only successful when the entire team strives for their goals. Employee performance reviews can become an effective tool. Unfortunately, the mention of the words sound like nails on a chalkboard to many business owners. Giving constructive feedback isn’t the easiest task to master on your list of responsibilities.

Read through these tips below to find simple changes you can make in your performance reviews. When you’re done you’ll know how to use constructive feedback as a more productive tool and maintain performance standards in your business.

 

Give employees the chance to go first

Not many people would enjoy talking to a wall — a successful performance review is a conversation, rather than a one-sided affair. Employees usually fear a performance review because many bosses simply list off all flaws and weaknesses. This approach may save time, but doesn’t let the employee express how the job is going for them.

First, establish trust and help them relax. Open the conversation with an open-ended question such as “What’s gone well during the past month?”. This approach gives you a chance to see things from their perspective. Actively listen in here, your employee might surprise you and offer helpful suggestions on improvements.

Always end the performance review by letting employees know that they can approach you at any time with concerns. Open door policies improve motivation and performance.

Pro Tip: Homebase users have access to our messaging app. Employees always have the opportunity to leave feedback after a shift. This feature cuts down on unexpected conversations that come your way, giving you more time to focus on your task at hand.

 

Cite specific examples

Waiting tables, making drinks, leading dinner service — your employees wear many hats throughout any one shift. Say you’re aware of the good work an employee is doing and you’re satisfied with their performance. Come time for their performance review, blanket phrases like “great work” aren’t helpful because they’re out of context. General statements don’t help employees know what behaviors you are satisfied with or would like to see changed.

Before holding a performance evaluation meeting you should create a one-page typed document which highlights that employee’s strengths and weaknesses with specific examples. Homebase can help by documenting attendance, on-time arrivals, and overtime, so that you’ve got concrete data to coach with. If a performance improvement plan is necessary, include some helpful information for your employee:

  • Clear expectations
  • Measurable goals
  • The next review date

This might include reaching and maintaining a monthly sales target, or turning a certain number of tables in an hour. This document also serves to protect you legally with a paper trail should you need to terminate an employee due to unsatisfactory performance.

 

Give informal feedback

Although formal performance reviews are necessary, managers should aim to have casual check-ins about performance too. This can help address negative habits early, and is particularly useful for new employees who need more coaching to learn their roles.

You can provide this feedback when issues arise, or by pulling them aside for 5 minutes just before their shift ends. Just make sure you don’t bring too much emotion into the immediate feedback; even informal performance conversations should be constructive.

 

Tailor performance reviews to meet business standards

Do you need to improve customer service in your restaurant? When choosing performance standards for your employees, you should take into account your business’ goals. It helps to have uniform criteria that all employees are assessed against:

  • Opportunities for growth (weaknesses)
  • Learning and development
  • Employee morale and attitude
  • Health and safety compliance
  • Appearance
  • Customer service
  • Teamwork skills

These are all examples you could incorporate into your performance standards. Choose the criteria that is important to you, then apply with consistency.

 

Conclusion

A performance review should be about more than “checking the boxes”; it is your opportunity to give your team members a chance to be heard. Prepare for the formal performance review by considering your business goals. Arrive with a listening ear and communicate clear expectations to your employee. Make the meeting less stressful – for both of you.

Giving feedback isn’t the easiest part of being a business owner. What are some tips you can share with our local business community that work for you? Tweet @joinhomebase to let us know!

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