Enforcement of rules, guidelines and policies is an area that many bar owners struggle with. This is especially true if a company is expanding and its rules change as the business grows. All successful bars, restaurants and night clubs have set rules and regulations that employees are expected to follow. However, it is the actual enforcement of those policies that separates the winners from the losers.
Effective enforcement of policy begins with your attitude and behavior. It also requires endless patience on your part, as staff members have multiple personalities. If you can accept those realities and you are committed to building a compliant staff, here are some tips to help you along the way.
Walk the walk –When you set any kind of rule for your people to follow, make sure your conduct is reflective of this rule. As the leader, you are the shining example of how people should strive to conduct themselves while at work. You can’t just talk the talk. You need to walk it and live it.
Catch things when they are small – If someone is new and not following procedure, you have to inform them right away of the breach. If you have a certain process you want someone to follow, you need to communicate it to them early and often. If you let too many things slide early on, negative behavior becomes set like wet concrete eventually does. Once a person is set in their ways it is very hard to correct their bad work habits.
Have escalating consequences – When rules are broken, start with a verbal warning. If they continue to be broken, then follow it up with a written infraction notice. If a person gets two written infraction notices, they should be suspended without pay. Set a number for the amount of write ups it takes to get fired and stick to your guns if you have someone that continually gets written up and needs to be shown the door.
Fire people – If a problem continually persists, even with your warnings and written infraction notices, you must have the courage to step in and fire the person. It’s difficult and bad for business to have managers who are much, much too weak when it comes to firing. If people who consistently break rules are allowed to work without any kind of consequences, it sends a message to the rest of the staff that nothing will come of it if they also break the rules. To keep your house in order, you must fire certain people from time to time.
- Hire smart – You have to ask yourself, was this person a good match for the position? Hire individuals from chain restaurants because they are trained to follow strict rules. Also look for people that are in school, or were involved in organized sports where discipline, team work and structure are requirements. You’ll find higher quality people that can follow instructions when these qualities are looked at during the initial interview.