Editorial

Staff Development

Staff Development

Over the years I have heard many Chefs moan about losing key employees who they had trained and developed within their clubs. If wages are competitive and the work environment is a good one, it is easy to empathize with the Chef who says: “I’m sick and tired of spending all that time training someone only to have them leave!”

Or, absurd as this sounds, how about the Executive Chef who is fearful of losing his job to a Sous Chef who knows too much. I always felt if I got my employees to this point, congratulations to me, I was destined for greater things and they would make my job better and improve the operation. Consider the alternative: What happens if you didn’t train the members of your staff and they stay? Certainly untrained or poorly trained employees can hardly be expected to perform their tasks in a stellar manner.

A number of years ago a good friend of mine named John, shared a creed with me on development that he posted in his office. He told me the creed served as a daily reminder to him to ensure that staff development was important and constant. The creed goes like this:

I Believe in Development

I believe that:

Every employee can and must grow and develop, and be better next year than they are now.

Development begins with a visible commitment to development at the top.

The primary objective of development is to help employees become more effective on their present jobs; a secondary objective is to help them become better prepared for future responsibilities.

Development takes time and is primarily the result of daily work experiences.

The minimum acceptable level of development is achieved when each and every employee
has become the expert—better than the boss—at his or her own job.

Unless simple development plans are written down and implemented,
meaningful development will not take place.

The basic responsibility for individual development belongs to the individual; however,
an employee’s boss must manage this area as he or she manages all other responsibilities.

A Chef has the responsibility to ensure that at least one successor is developed
for each of the positions that report to him or her.

Properly structured and supervised, staff development can provide significant benefits to everyone. First, the employee is exposed to the culinary profession as a viable career choice. Second, because of
the employee’s experience, you as the mentor will have a greater understanding of your kitchen operation and be able to reach for a higher level of achievement. This knowledge and experience will result in direct improvement to the club’s culinary operation. In addition to the work performed during the training, the employee has influence over other individuals regarding what has been learned in the “real world” kitchen setting. Staff development is infectious! The direct benefits of having energetic and creative individuals on staff benefit everyone. A win-win partnership is created!

Hopefully John’s creed will inspire you as it did me for development is critically important to the success of all operations. It is a feeling of great pride when your protégé attains his first Executive Chef position.

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