How to Conduct 360-Degree Feedback in your Restaurant
As of last year, the United States experienced an approximately 44.3% turnover rate across the board for all industries. That means that about 9 in every 20 people in the U.S. separated from their position, whether that was transitioning to something new or otherwise. In that same year, the restaurant and hospitality industry suffered a 72.9% turnover rate or 64.55% more than the national average. All that turnover is an expensive hit to a restaurateur’s costs. A proven method for enhancing your employee retention efforts, utilizing 360-degree feedback in your restaurant business is an effective strategy for building trust and rapport.
Why Use 360-Degree Feedback?
As a technique, 360-degree feedback is best utilized as a performance management evaluation tool, rather than as a specific measure for employee evaluation. Keep in mind that this process was designed specifically to determine how employees can best grow and develop as part of a team; it’s not always the optimal tool for management-to-employee evaluation, but has proven effective in helping your staff to grow their skills.
While the concept of 360-degree feedback has been around for the better part of a century, the formal name and recognition of the process was coined in 1996. Since then, 360-degree feedback has evolved to enhance the positive aspects of the process. Current techniques involve the use of computers to conduct the interview, which allows participants an additional layer of anonymity to speak freely.
Getting Started With 360 Degree Feedback
During 360 degree feedback, a central administrator like a manager or a third party, has employees from your management team to your line cooks, fill out questionnaires. While a manager-to-employee evaluation is conducted one-on-one, 360-degree feedback gives you a wider, circular view of an employees contributions to the team, and hopefully provides insight as to how that can be built upon.
Before you start your process, consider a few primers to help break the ice. You may employ team-building exercises like True Colors, which you can use to get a better idea of complementary personality types; depending on the size of your team you can use that information to help inform who you may turn to as part of your 360-degree feedback in your restaurant. Time allowing, hold a short pre-shift meeting to let everyone know what you are doing and why, so that they can prepare accordingly. Send out a communication, like an email or a posted bulletin, to let people know that it’s coming. Be sure also to keep an open door policy for anyone on your staff looking to learn more about the process.
Who Administers the Feedback?
In some ways, everyone administers 360-degree feedback since a communal effort is required. Still, it’s ultimately at the discretion of a singular entity like a manager or review committee, to provide quality control on the process to ensure that the answers provided are constructive and thoughtful. In a lot of ways, your survey administrator will serve as a guide to mindful conversation, crafting opportunities through carefully constructed questions that will yield the highest quality responses.
For example, if you are administering the survey, you may ask a different set of questions based on who you’re surveying. Consider the relationships of the people involved beforehand. If two employees have regular disagreements or personality clashes, you may not get the type of honest feedback that you need to help your subject constructively.
In addition, if you find that people have any hostility to one another, you may inadvertently create friction between two different personality types. Focus on finding people with good to neutral working relationships and build out from there. Studies indicate that including 8-10 people is the optimal response rate to utilize the test effectively.
When Does 360-Degree Feedback Occur?
Like any other component of your business, finding the right time for administrative details can be a daunting and time-consuming process. You may already have an idea of which times are the busiest in your restaurant from experience, but you may already have tools in your kitchen that can help you. Even if you don’t have a business intelligence tool, some Kitchen Display Systems (KDS) or front-of-house platforms can give you historical data, like which days of the year are the busiest. A restaurant analytics applications can help you monitor your business in real-time, and also give you a play-by-play if anything gets
What Should You Ask?
Finding the right people to pull in for your 360 degree feedback in your restaurant is only part of the challenge. First, you might consider using pre-made forms that you can streamline for your processes. While that may not solve for every type of question you’d like to ask, it will at least help get you set up for what you want out of the assessment. You should look at qualitative questions whenever possible that look at interpersonal relationships, specifically how an employee impacts the people around them through their work.
Look at your mission statement for pointers on your direction, which should parallel the stated objectives that were laid out from the beginning. Once you’ve done that, questions about leadership, interpersonal skills, problem-solving, motivation, and efficiency are useful concepts to build your questions around, as they provide actionable follow-up.
With that in mind, you will need to consider how you are going to assess the information that you’ve collected once you’ve spoken with your team. Avoiding some common pitfalls can enhance your efforts, so after you’ve parsed your feedback, turn it into action. Remember: your follow-up may not be pleasant, as you may have to report back problem areas to employees. Consider preparing in advance and offering support as part of your delivery.
Where Do You Conduct Your Interviews?
Keeping your information confidential and your questions consistent is the key to getting the most out of your 360-degree feedback in your restaurant. Before you’ve taken the time to ask the right questions to the right people, make sure that you do it in a way that allows for privacy from everyone. It’s possible that in some cases, that feedback may be negative or at least somewhat less than what an employee hopes or believes that they deserve. To make sure that everyone feels free to respond honestly and comfortably, make sure you find a place away from other employees to field your questions.
After Your 360-Degree Feedback
The result of your process is all about curbing employee retention. Keep in mind that 360-degree feedback is one tool at your disposal, although it’s one that around 85% of Fortune 500 companies utilize to develop leadership. Again, vet the content of the feedback that you get, as mean-spirited or personally motivated responses from coworkers can work counter to your goals of enhancing your team efforts. These assessments are a great way to not only retain your employees but to grow their skillsets. Make sure to ask what it is that someone wants going forward, and after their assessment take the appropriate steps to help them develop those skills.
There are positives and negatives involved in this process, so use A/B your methods to see what works best for you. Perhaps this is something that may only work on one area of your restaurant business, whether that’s a management team, or your kitchen staff. Either way, using 360-degree feedback in your restaurant helps create an environment where people can openly communicate employees to grow together as a team for management to gain a better overview of their ambition and cohesion.
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About the Author
Syd is a content marketing specialist, which are fancy words for writing pretty to tell a good story. He likes writing things about food, drinks, and music. He’s a musician himself, a father of two, and loves his wife a whole lot.