How to Get Valuable FeedbackApril 8, 2014 By: George Barton
There are a multitude of methods in which to receive feedback today in our workplace. Too often we do not take the time to receive, nor utilize feedback to improve ourselves or our businesses.
Let’s lay this out in two key dimensions that could deliver key results in hospitality. This feedback and input could be relevant for everyone from quick service to full service brands.
Feedback to improve YOU!
- First and foremost, “Ask for it.” It seems that many leaders simply do not take the time nor have the stomach to ask those who report to them a very key question. “How am I doing leading you” or “can you provide a couple specific areas that you feel I need to address?” You can frame up those questions in a number of ways. Taking the time to seek valuable input from those you supervise and lead can be both constructive and worthwhile. You will walkaway from those conversations engaged!
- Exit Interviews: Taking time to chat with departing team members, while allowing them to give you honest opinions and comments can also provide potential input for self-improvement as well as business improvement.
- 360 Feedback: There are a few models to review and select however I really like the initiative that allows your boss and a key number of peers and colleagues to evaluate your leadership style. Through this initiative, which may be invaluable to hear, your results could be dramatically upgraded.
- Yearly or biannual PA (performance appraisal): Take the time to seek input from your boss / leader on specific areas you need to take action on for improvement. Don’t take the low road, rather push for honest input and feedback on your style and leadership characteristics.
Feedback to improve YOUR BUSINESS!
- Another old fashioned method, Ask Your Guests. A guiding principle to outstanding dining room management is your ability to comfortably talk with your honored guest to insure their expectations are exceeded. Some brands may follow a philosophy to not interfere with the guest however it’s best to find out if you have opportunities and issues to resolve before your guest “leaves the building”. You cannot accomplish this by performing functional duties like running food, cooking, office work, and so on. You have so many distractions yet nothing more critical than insuring your guests’ expectations are exceeded and with an urgent intent to return.
- There are numerous forums and meetings that will support your ability to gain valuable feedback. Here are a few:
o All Store Meetings with a purpose. Allow team members to tell you what it would take to immediately increase $10K in weekly sales in a restaurant doing $40K. That will generate great discussion. Listen and react to what really hits home.
o Focus Groups. This initiative may costs a bit; however you will receive honest input from current and prior guests who have nothing to hide. You may also have the opportunity to view these sessions.
o Weekly manager meetings where candor is accepted without fear of reprisals. Encourage managers to speak openly with an emphasis on improving your business.
o Skip Level Sessions: Where a MUM (multi-unit manager) meets with multiple store managers. The store GM supports this by working the shift, generally a full PM shift. This meeting, done well with purpose will provide unit level managers the opportunity to speak up. Keep the tone positive, update managers with new initiatives and always recognize achievements. Never has a restaurant General Manager taken offense to this style of feedback.
Feedback used as a basis for improvement on your personal development and your desire to improve your business will require that you engage in conversations. While there are certainly more methods and ways in which one can accomplish this these are a few of the basics.