A mismanaged front- and back-of-house staff can create a chaotic and unorganized workplace which will affect your bakery much more than a bad batch of cookies. The vision you have for your bakery can only become a reality if your staff understands the part they play in the bakery’s success.
While there is no one right way to manage, there are certainly some things you can do that will lay a foundation for your employees to thrive and motivate their desire to improve themselves and your bakery. Here are 7 critical things you can do as an owner or manager to help your bakery employees succeed.
1. Provide Effective Training
Training lays the groundwork for successful employees. On-the-job training starts with familiarizing new hires with your bakery’s policies, safety procedures, cleaning requirements, dress code, and customer relations. It outlines your expectations and, when executed well, instils good habits.
Once your trainee has a good handle on a particular aspect of their job, continue to challenge them so they learn and grow. For example, once they have mastered taking orders, teach them the proper way to answer the phone and handle the requests they will receive.
2. Build Trust
It may be difficult to let go of control and trust your team to carry out their roles correctly, but to accomplish all of your tasks as an owner, you need to create an environment that fosters trust. Once you have trained properly and trust your staff, there is no need to micromanage their every move.
Focusing on results is one way to build trust and combat getting bogged down in the details of a staff member’s tasks. If the front-of-house worker creates clear orders without any mistakes or if your production baker’s cheesecakes are flawless then there is no need to correct their process. When your staff can see that you put your faith in them, then it empowers them to make their own decisions.
3. Communicate Clearly and Effectively
Miscommunications with your team can cause financial and interpersonal problems for your bakery, especially when those miscommunications affects your customers. Whether through email, phone call, or in-person, outline your expectations and your staff’s responsibilities.
Alleviate stress by being direct with your intentions and making sure employees have all the information they need to succeed. Staff shouldn’t have to make assumptions or guess at your meaning. If you communicate clearly, then you can cut down the number of repetitions it takes before you receive the results that you want.
4. Manage Conflict
Even when everyone in your bakery is doing their best, undoubtedly conflict will arise. Whether this is between the front-of-house and back-of-house, or yourself and a team member, manage conflict quickly and decisively. Striking a balance between being personable and remaining firm is essential, but ultimately you need to be consistent and not go back on your word.
When possible, customize your approach to the individual you are speaking to and their communication style. This doesn’t mean you become inconsistent in your message, only that your method should reflect your staff member’s unique strengths and preferences.
5. Realize Accidents Happen
Mistaking baking powder for baking soda. Inaccurately recording a customer’s order. Your reaction to your staff’s errors is something that they will remember. If you fly off the handle over every mistake, then your staff may begin to feel like they can’t approach you when a problem needs to be fixed.
When a significant or more costly mistake needs to be addressed, turn it into a learning opportunity for the person that made the mistake and the rest of the team. Encourage open discussion and ask them to propose a solution that will prevent similar issues from happening in the future.
6. Lead by Example
As a leader, you should be the benchmark for success. Whether they know it or not, your staff will always be looking to you as an example. Your priorities will become their priorities, so make sure that responsibilities like safety, customer service, and cleanliness are always top-of-mind. If your staff sees you slacking on certain tasks, then they will learn to do the same.
Model your bakery’s values in your everyday interactions. Keep your word and follow through with action, leave your workspace clean and organized, and generally treat them how you would like to be treated.
7. Thank Your Staff
Don’t take your staff for granted. An overworked and underappreciated staff is sure to raise your turnover rates, and those that stay may produce work that is less than their best. People want to know they are appreciated so let them know when they have done an exceptional job. Build your staff’s confidence and encourage them to continue to go above and beyond. Positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative consequences.
Managing the different personalities in your bakery’s front- and back-of-house staff can be daunting, but being a good manager is about more than forcing your employees to work as hard as possible. Ideally, you will create an environment where your team is motivated, appreciated, and empowered.
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