AT THE core of every successful business lies a team of dedicated employees who bridge the difference between mediocrity and excellence. For both human resource (HR) managers and management, the effort to bring out the best in every employee is a continuous everyday process.

For an industry as customer-centric as the food and beverage industry, maintaining excellent service standards is a process that goes right down to the details. To provide the best dining experience, employees need to be well-trained.

An interesting “role-modeling” programme at The Halia, a modern European restaurant in the Botanic Gardens, sees both front-of-house and kitchen staff going on monthly dining outings and biannual trips to overseas restaurants.

Meals are paid for by the company and employees are able to experience the dining concepts and service of other restaurants from a customer’s perspective.

This investment in staff training translates into improved customer service standards and a greater level of confidence to represent The Halia’s brand image.

Companies should work towards building a culture that puts people first, starting with its own internal customers — its employees. A happier environment naturally creates happier employees, and happy productive employees positively impact the bottomline.

Here are five winning HR strategies that will help motivate your staff, bring out the best in your team and reinforce the right attitudes to take your business to the next level:

Build a common vision

It is important to ensure that goals are crystal-clear and well communicated to employees. Reinforce the same set of goals and end-points for employees to work towards. Companies can then build a common vision with a common set of guiding principles that direct and empower everyday actions.

Invest resources in staff training

Staff training requires time, money and effort. Make staff training an integral part of the corporate culture by having initiatives and courses that impart new skills or refresh existing ones.

Engage employees in staff training by encouraging them to contribute ideas and by demonstrating that training benefits them in their work and even personal life.

Design creative training programmes such as experiential learning. The Halia organises staff trips such as winery and farm visits to enable learning from the source. An experiential learning journey imparts knowledge as much as it teaches.

Empower for growth

Matching the right person to the right job at the right time helps leverage individual strengths, providing the right platform for an individual to shine at what he does best.

Rather than painfully trying to fix weaknesses or blind spots, companies can maximise synergy by building on the strengths of their employees.

When it comes to career progression, every individual has a different aptitude and growth potential. Be observant and identify staff members who show promise in current capabilities and even for new roles. Groom them by giving them more specific training, empowerment and responsibilities.

Nurture a positive work environment

An environment built upon a culture of open communication that actively seeks to engage staff can help foster a sense of camaraderie and belonging.

Start by nurturing a safe environment where employees can share their opinions openly. On the individual level, you want each member to feel they have something of value to contribute towards continuous improvement.

Be a coach or mentor instead of a boss. Listen and show care regarding employees’ concerns. Personal gestures like birthday greetings and asking about how their holiday went will go a long way in fostering good work relationships and a positive work environment. 

Motivate. Recognise. Reward

Everyone loves to be recognised and complimented on a job well done. This results in a positive reinforcement that will spur staff to continue excelling in their work.

Good performers who are given the opportunity to grow and develop their potential in the company tend to have increased job satisfaction. This can lead to dedication and loyalty, and will help to retain staff.