Employing and Retaining Happy Staff
For many bed and breakfast establishments the idea of hiring staff is an unheard of luxury, particularly as many B&B's are family run businesses. But if the amount of work starts to get in the way of running the business to the quality standards that your customers demand it could be a false economy. The smarter option might be to consider employing staff to help you keep the quality up.
For most B&B's there's not really any point in hiring a chef or other cooking staff unless you are offering evening meals as well and a menu choice at that. So the employees at a B&B will almost certainly be cleaning staff, chambermaids and the like.
Employing Staff Isn't the First StepDespite what we say in the opening paragraph, if you are just starting up a B&B it's wise not to rush into employing staff. There's obviously a cost saving from doing the work yourself which is important in the early days. You save yourself the extra job of employing and retaining staff and the associated administration overhead too.
Also by doing the job yourself for a while you will learn all about it, what the difference is between a rush job and a proper job, how long it takes, all that sort of thing, which will come in handy when assessing the work that employees do for you.
Retaining Staff is Easier if You Hire the Right PeopleOnce you have got to the point where you are thinking of employing staff, the key to retaining them is employing the right people in the first place. Set this all up properly by doing a job description with detailed hours, detailed tasks, and an hourly rate, then advertise. The advertising should probably be local, as it's likely that you'll be looking for part-time staff initially and no-one's going to travel far for a part-time job.
Choosing staff is a tricky affair but don’t be afraid to ask them about similar work they've done and what they're looking for. Is it just a bit of extra cash or are they after career progression too? Look for good references and check them to make sure they are genuine.
Test Your EmployeesOnce you've chosen some likely candidates, suggest a trial period first, perhaps a couple of weeks or a month, which can be terminated by either party. This gives you the option of retaining people you are pleased with and gives them the option to leave if they don’t fancy it. Retaining staff who genuinely aren’t happy is a waste of time.
You might be tempted to pay cash when employing staff and not keep any records but we have to advise you that this is unlikely to be legal. Consult your accountant to see if they advise on payroll issues too, many of them cover that area as well. Your local tourist associations and business networks may well help you out with some of the nitty-gritty of the employment side of running a business.
Retaining StaffRetaining staff is usually down to good working relationships, so make sure you are clear about the jobs that they should do and how long you think they should take. At the same time, it should be a two way relationship, so make sure you take time out, at least once a week initially, to ask your staff how things are going and if there's anything they need that will make the job easier, things like that.
It's a lot easier retaining staff if they feel that they are valued, so the odd treat and tip might not go amiss, an extra fiver in the busiest weeks of the season, a bottle of wine at Christmas, that kind of thing, will help the relationship.