So you’ve recruited them… now you have to keep them. Timely advice on the value of training.

Much time, effort and probably money, is spent on recruiting employees. A smooth professional introduction to the club and their role within it, will ensure that money has been well spent. You don’t want to start all over again because the newcomer promptly leaves after getting an appalling reception into the club business.

What to cover
There are a whole host of subjects which need to be covered to effect the smooth induction of an individual into any organisation. Some will have to be carried out immediately on commencement, especially if there is a high security or health and safety risk; others are more suitably dealt with at a later stage.

A properly planned and executed induction programme will ensure a more relaxed and confident employee, comfortable with their new colleagues and their own role within the club. The level of planning needed will of course vary according to the size of the club, but you will certainly need the relevant paperwork in place – national insurance number, P45 (or P46), driving licence where appropriate, bank details, emergency contact, permits to work (if applicable) and so on.

An employee handbook should be issued with their statement of main terms and conditions of employment including supporting policies and rules.

Planning programmes
Although planning the programme (the common skills part) subject, sequence, venue, timing and trainers, is time consuming on the first occasion, it can be used time and time again in the future when little time will be required to update it. Try and mix up ‘listening’ and ‘doing’ sessions, so that people do not spend long periods being talked at or have unfamiliar muscular activity becoming painful and tiring. Clearly, any activity involving risk should be preceded by appropriate health and safety training.

Steps to success
Assuming general physical and mental ability (tested if necessary during the recruitment process), consistent with the requirements of the job, certain basics will improve the ease, proficiency and success of training. First identify the skills required. Break each one down into suitably sized steps. Practice each step until proficient at that step before moving on to the next. Once proficient at each step combine them and, hey presto, learning done. 

It is the trainer’s responsibility to ensure the learner has learned, therefore always test that you have been understood. Quizzes and tests are all ways of checking the learner has understood the training.

Trainees should be provided with their training programme, an understanding of why they are being taught those subjects and the value to them as an individual to learn them.

Clearly someone brand new to the club has to undergo intensive induction and training regarding every aspect of the business; its layout, rules, people, policies etc. As already noted, some of the subjects have to be dealt with immediately on commencement (for example, toilet facilities and critical Health and Safety issues) while others are dealt with at later stages during the programme.

Route to promotion
Changes to an individual’s role, especially where it is to be expanded to include extra responsibilities, or where promotion to a more senior grade is involved poses their own particular problems. Again proper planning for the induction and training to be able to carry out the new duties, duly prioritised and recorded as appropriate, is essential.

It is, however, also essential to consider the selection of the individual who is to have his/her role expanded or who is to be promoted. The fact that someone is a good (or even your best) barman does not mean that he/she would make a good supervisor or manager. Care must be taken in the selection of an individual for promotion to, for example, bar supervisor. Length of service, or the feeling that it is ‘their turn’ is not a reason to promote someone, because what happens to them if it goes wrong?

What do you do with the individual? Sack them? Not only have you then lost your supervisor but you have lost a good employee who was so highly valued to you that you promoted them in the first place! There are also the costs of having to go through the process again, the morale damage to the rest of the work force and knock-on costs because the team is currently leaderless until the appointment and bedding-in of the new supervisor.

Properly planned and executed training for new starters and ongoing changes/promotions, will lead to a higher quality and quantity performance, hence lower costs, less waste, reduced rates of labour turnover, improved recruiting, greater willingness to retrain, and a higher morale amongst the workforce. Enough said?

General statistics show that 50 per cent of all leavers leave within the first three months and a further 25 per cent leave within the second three months. And this is mainly due to poor induction and training. There is a cost associated with each one of these leavers.

So look after your staff and your bottom line atthe same time; it really does pay to make them stay.

Article published in Clubhouse Europe issue 12