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Great expectations

I was browsing through the help wanted section of my local paper this morning. As I expected, the majority of the restaurant openings are for entry level employees, especially bussers.I was browsing through the help wanted section of my local paper this morning. As I expected, the majority of the restaurant openings are for entry level employees, especially bussers. I'd like to think that this is a good sign... that these openings are the result of employees being promoted to higher level positions within the company.

This is the goal, right? Hire for all positions from within your operation with the idea of continually advancing the job skills and compensation of all team members. That's why we have clear and defined job descriptions and pay grade scales. But the next step, the objective evaluation that helps team members get to the next level, is where more of the stumbling blocks occur. Evaluations require time, action and follow through, and are therefore usually only used for managers and supervisors.

The right kind of evaluation, though, can work wonders, even with entry-level bussers. I use mine starting in the initial interview with an applicant. I go right down the list to show what we feel are important in a successful team member, including the ability to work as part of a team, attention to detail, interacting positively with guests, dependability, and mastery of specific job functions. In other words, "I'm looking for someone who can do more than dump dirty dishes into a bus tub."

Next, I build the evaluations into a monthly or quarterly schedule, depending on the available openings for other positions within the company. For example, if there's a lot of movement in the ranks, I schedule monthly busser evaluations in order to keep close tabs on who is performing well and consistently, and monitor who might be ready for shifts as a server... a coveted move up the ladder for many bussers.

The evaluation should be short, simple to fill out, and measure the things covered in training. We've attached a downloadable and customizable version . Once completed, take a few minutes to go over it with the employee, point out any areas that need improvement, and ask for feedback about their job or anything else they might wish to discuss.

That's it. It's that simple.

The benefits for you? A quick, simple and objective way to measure job performance, a motivation tool to keep these valuable team members happy, and the removal of a long-held stigma and stereotype about one of the most important positions in your company.

The benefits for your bussers? The knowledge that their job is important, that they're not being ignored, and that with time and dedication they can take their skills and their pay to the next level.

See also:
Spot check evaluations
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