Do you have a blind side?

27 Sep 2017

Do you have a blindside?
I suspect we all have to a certain extent,  no more so than when we criticise others for not maintaining a standard we expect or find acceptable. 

This could be anything from the service we get from a Government department, a restaurant or any other service provider. 

Have you ever thought that you may be the cause of a similar reaction in your own sphere of influence and industry?

Let us take a restaurant for example, we may complain the tables have not been wiped or that the waiter was impolite, the food may have been cold or not fully cooked. Maybe you waited an hour before receiving the wrong order or were over charged. 
Where does the blame lie?

Whilst we initially blame the waiter or the chef or even a shortage of staff we really suspect that it comes down to the management of the establishment. 

80% of people leave their manager, not their job.**


 Are we going back there? Probably not, or at least not for a long enough time to see if things have improved. That is providing the eatery is still in business.
The offending management issue will no doubt be the restaurant manager who may even be the owner, which makes things worse as he will almost certainly be in total denial of the fact he is doing anything wrong or that he could be taught how to make himself a big fat profit by doing things differently.
The manager or owner may be a jolly fellow and much liked but not be a natural leader and almost certainly not a good team manager.

Happy customers are more likely to spend more with the business

So why are we being, dare I say somewhat hypocritical for recognizing the short falls in the service we receive? 

Well the chances are that we actually work or have worked in an environment where teamwork was not as good as it could have been.

Most of us spend a lifetime working as a necessity to support our daily life style and keeping the wolf from the door. 

The mere mention of the word profit could stir negativity with some employees and bring smiles of delight amongst others. 
Why? because we can all be guilty of thinking that profit is all about money.

What we should be considering is how we profit from job satisfaction.

Job dissatisfaction statistically is not the main reason people leave their employers or do not function efficiently or in a satisfactory manner.
The reason that this workforce malfunction and ultimate short term of employment occurs, is due to an employee conflict with a manager or the management.

So where do you stand in this? Are you a manager with a fast turnover of apparently unsuitable staff or an employee who finds his or her manager next to impossible to work with?

Businesses with a keen eye on employee engagement outperform all others in metrics such as first contact resolution and client win-back rates

How do we recognise who is at fault and fix it?
If you recognise the scenario where the ‘new boy or girl’ is told to sit next to old Fred over there ‘he'll show you the ropes’ for which the poor management translation is ‘and do my job for me’.  

Or, perhaps recognise a similar situation in which a very busy manager will delegate new employee training to the most experienced, longest serving or best suited employee and commend that tutor for their co-operation and skill in the task requested.

Reading between the lines it is easy to see that more is accomplished with building relationships and earning respect in management and employee situations.

The Basics

Is there a job specification? that’s different of course from a job description (that’s the one that says “and any other reasonable request” at the end of it) 

The job spec for a waiter for instance, could include a table layout: the cutlery, the specific napkin fold, number of glasses, cruets, the menu and wine list and the special of the day and a picture of how the table should look. 

That job spec might also identify the cleaning method, the materials to use and the detergent employed. In short, just one of the defined standards of the restaurant operation.

Mindset of a new staff member

Example 1. A new waiter on their first day, perhaps a little nervous, will be trying to take it all in, they maybe looking at the job as a stepping stone to greater things. Their future will be determined by getting good training and being employed by an enlightened company.

Example 2. The new waiter may view the job as a short term, stopgap or depending on the recruitment process, could just be a poor choice of employee.

Getting To Grips

On the one hand a specification provides a yardstick by which to measure the employees own performance and for them to gain confidence and satisfaction in doing the job to the required standard.

On the other hand it gives management performance indicators.

A new recruit’s contribution to the operation benefits one and all and in the hospitality industry where turnover is very high as a matter of course, the faster they get up to speed the better.

The competence they demonstrate can mean the difference between being accepted into the fold by existing staff at an earlier stage of employment rather than a later one or even not at all. 

If the rest of the tasks involved in the job are mapped out in a similar way then the new applicant can reach a level of performance which is acceptable to management and work colleagues, and the job is being done as required. 

Expectations and Pressure 

In a new job it's difficult trying to get up to speed to familiarise yourself with the operation, so there is a certain amount of pressure. 
With this comes a lower degree of performance.

With standards of operation in place it means the manager can spend less time firefighting and where a shortfall is identified can refer the new member of staff to the specification to rectify it.

Adding Value to an Employee 

It also means that the management can observe the new member of staff doing the job correctly and compliment them. Boosting self esteem and perceived value as a contributing employee. 

55% of employees look to their manager for inspiration**


With clear direction and defined benchmarks to measure progress the employee stress levels are optimal as they grow in confidence.

Employee adding Value

With the reduced stress comes a greater awareness of other activities in the operation and an ability to accept more learning.

As confidence grows, so may competitive spirit, to do a job better than the employee’s peers.

Employee engagement programs help companies enjoy 26% greater annual increase in revenue*

Is this training - in the very basic sense?

The basic tenets or format of task training involve the member being told the task and objective, also timescales and impact on the workplace.

The trainer shows how to do the task in full.

The trainer then splits the task down into stages and as the trainer does each stage the employee repeats it in turn, until the task is complete.

Finally the staff member does the entire task from beginning to end.

This is not just training, this is also a competency test and as a result of the training and assessment of the ability of the trainee, the process sets goals or targets for the trainee to achieve within a given time frame.

When a trainee does not fully understand
Crucially as opposed to a manual or a video, the training session allows the trainee to query issues that are not immediately apparent and get clarification. 

Even more importantly this is a test for the trainer and the competence of the training. 

Then, review the training

In a review of the training one might ask how well or how effective was the training could it have been conducted better ?

A.Was the environment right and the training uninterrupted?

B.Was the training carried out to a previously prepared lesson plan?

C.Was the trainee confused?

D.Did the trainer put the trainee sufficiently at ease to encourage questions.

E.Did the trainer ask questions to check comprehension?

F.Was the outcome of the training communicated back to the manager?

G.Was the skill, task or learning applied and assessed in the workplace subsequently?

H.Did it form part of an established development plan, which then progressed to the next measurable skillset to achieve?

Companies with an employee engagement program enjoy 233% greater customer loyalty

Stating the Obvious

The training of staff to fulfill their key roles is all a bit obvious…perhaps.

But the structure of that initial workplace experience and the preparedness of the establishment for the new starter sows the seeds of the management / staff relationship from which customer satisfaction and all else will follow.

Only 11% of employees believe they were inspired.***


Thus, if you were disappointed with service you have received through lack of training, are the customers in your sector disappointed with your performance?

Which is where we came in; 

Doyou have a blind side?


Drawn from * The Aberdeen Group  **CIPD 2011  ***CBI