Train – Build – Inspire

Josh Clifton


One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “how do I find good staff?”

Whether you’re aware of it or not, ‘good staff’ are out there—it’s just a case of whether those staff want to work with you as well.

When we look for work, we base it on our ability to be able to meet our own expectations. If we have high expectations of ourselves, it usually means we expect those expectations to be met in a business. That’s not to say that sometimes we overshoot our ability, but it’s important to know the dynamics of what attracts individuals to certain businesses.

The reality is, great team members are attracted to great businesses. Your business may be an exceptional place to work and provide the equipment and training necessary for staff, but unless you put the right bait on the hook—i.e. your job advertisement, you won’t catch a star player.

Talented team members are attracted to specific details. For example, if you’re a café business, then list how many kilos of coffee you do and what type of menu items you mostly provide. What does it mean to be part of your cafe? What do you stand for? And most importantly, what don’t you stand for? What does it mean in the long term to work for you? Overall it’s about being specific and enticing to ensure you don’t get a flood of resumes with the main quality being ‘great customer service skills.’

Always remember to practice what you preach. If you promise something and share your business values, ensure you back them up in-house. Be transparent with your team and allow them to speak and share their thoughts. Your team is there to get paid, but most individuals in this industry aren’t there for a pay rise, they are there for job satisfaction and fulfilment.

Now, there is the flip side of this story. Despite doing all of the above, staff will come and go—even the good ones. It happens unexpectedly and sometimes during your busiest times. We are simply dealing with a generation that is quick to change their mind. It’s the nature of a saturated industry where the next generation is spoilt for choice.

We can only provide an environment of culture, growth and teamwork.

Sometimes your barista or chef may have learnt all they can at your venue and need more. You may or may not be able to provide this for them, and that’s ok.

This is simply the industry in all its glory. What I would love for you to take away from this article is responsibility. We have a responsibility to put out a job advertisement that’s appealing but specific; we have a responsibility to sit down with new staff members (which is crucial at the beginning of their employment); we have a responsibility to see if they fit into our culture ecosystem; we have a responsibility to ensure they align with our customers; and most importantly with have a responsibility to take action when necessary.

The three main questions you want to ask yourself is:

  • Will they fit with my team?
  • How reliable and trustworthy do I feel they are?
  • Do I trust them with customers?

We all want to be part of something special, whether in life or business, and the hospitality industry takes a special kind of person to facilitate an environment that people want to be part of. So much depends on what you expect from your team and what you are willing to give back. Finding great talent is a never-ending journey, but when done correctly, it can pay dividends and eventually give you some much-needed days off.