Mocopan Coffee’s Jared Chapman’s tips on attracting and retaining great staff
As the face of the business, competent and confident staff can make or break a café – Mocopan's National Business Consultant shares his tips on finding and keeping the best employees.
Great staff can certainly be the factor that determines whether or not a café is successful.
Find yourself a friendly, energetic group of people that work effectively together and have a genuine passion for what they do, and you are putting yourself in the best position for success.
On the other hand, if you are always having to cover shifts for people who don’t turn up or are having to follow up on staff because the passion isn’t there, this will not only be reflected in the amount of effort required from you, but will also impact on your customers’ experience.
As a business owner or manager, finding and retaining great staff in your café can be one of the most difficult aspects of running a business, and is an element that can have an enormous impact on your own workload.
The first hurdle to overcome is how to find the right people in a market where demand for baristas outweighs the number of people with the appropriate skills. There are many approaches to take to recruiting including local advertising, social media, recruitment websites such as Seek, or even a sign at the front of your café. There are varying costs associated with each, and each will yield not only different quantities of applicants, but also varying quality.
Once you have decided how you will advertise, the next important step is to be very clear on what skills and attributes you are looking for in a person.
Most large organisations have position descriptions for each role within the business. This can include the scope of responsibilities for a particular job, including tasks, accountabilities, and ultimately what an employee will be measured against. While you may not need something quite as detailed as this, it is a great idea to have some of this information on paper so both you and your applicants are clear on what will be required of them in the job.
Next, think about how much training you are willing or able to provide. If you are happy to train someone with the right work ethic and passion from scratch, this will expand your potential applicant pool.
In my experience, hiring someone without the required skills but with the passion to learn will always give a better outcome than hiring someone very skilled who isn’t excited about their job.
Ongoing training is critical not only for improvement of skills, but also for continued employee satisfaction and engagement (more on this next time).
You should model your advertising based on this information, including which skills and attributes are critical, and which are simply preferable (but can be trained if needed).
Employers need to be clear about details like how many hours per week the job is, what type of position they are offering (casual, part time, or full time), days of work, what type of café it is (specialty, mostly takeaway etc) and how busy it is.
The final step is the interview process. From the employer or management’s end, ensure you are prepared prior to conducting the interview. This includes reading the applicant’s resume and having questions prepared.
If you are looking for an experienced barista you should certainly ask them to demonstrate their skills for you as well, but try to keep it relatively informal and keep in mind this process can make some people a little nervous.
Be sure to take as many notes as you can (let the applicants know that you will be doing so), this way you can refer back to them when it comes time to make your decision.
The last step is simple – decide who is the most passionate and skilful barista (in that order), or select someone in need of additional training but with the right attitude. Either way, give the successful candidate the good news, and give them a go.
This article has been shortened from how it appear in the February edition of BeanScene Magazine. To read it in full pick up your copy here.
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