Posts Tagged ‘policies & procedures’

Standards, Policies and Procedures

Monday, October 12th, 2015

The terms “Standards,” “Policies,” and “Procedures” are used in business to describe the what, why, and how’s of a hospitality operation’s organization and work processes.

Standard

  •  Something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis for comparison; an approved model.
  • Anything as a rule or principle that is used as a basis or model for judgment.
  • Morals, ethics, habits, etc., established by authority, custom, or an individual as acceptable.
  • Fulfilling specific requirements as established by an authority, law, rule, custom, etc.

In a manufacturing setting product standards usually include material specifications, manufacturing tolerances, quality measurements, and the functionality of the finished product.  In the hospitality field, however, the establishment of a standard is usually made by management based upon an understanding or expectation of what will satisfy or impress the customer/guest/member.  Often this satisfaction is based upon the manner in which some service or action is performed.  Therefore, the standard is a description of the desired outcome of that service or action and/or the manner in which it is performed, for instance the approved way of presenting and opening a bottle of wine, or the correct way to fill out a form used for documenting personnel actions, the manner in which month-end inventories will be conducted, or the level of professionalism of management and operations.

In the case of hospitality operations, standards are the model for the optimum way of doing things.  They are established by the general manager as the acceptable model of performance by which customers judge proficiency and professionalism.  They apply not only to the daily performance of individual duties, but also to the manner in which you conduct yourself and your business.

Policy (ies)

  • A definite course of action adopted for the sake of expediency, facility, etc.
  • Action or procedure conforming to or considered with reference to prudence or expediency.
  • Prudence, practical wisdom, or expediency.  (expedient:  tending to promote some proposed or desired object; fit or suitable under the circumstances.  Synonyms include advisable, appropriate, desirable.)

Policies and standards are so closely interwoven it is often hard to tell them apart.  Policies most often apply to those areas of the operation where they can be little or no leeway in how you do something, for instance in the area of Human Resources where so much of what you do is dictated by law or by the need for correct action to avoid litigation, or in the area of Accounting where exactness and consistency are necessary to ensure the correctness, accuracy, and transparency of financial reporting and fiduciary responsibilities.

Policies can also apply to operations.  For example you establish policies to ensure the consistent and fair treatment of customers, for instance in how you take tee times or restaurant reservations.  The need for policy here is to ensure that every customer has equal treatment and the same opportunity to enjoy the establishment’s amenities, which as every manager knows is important to keeping customers happy and satisfied.  Nothing will upset a customer faster than believing he or she is not getting a fair shake from the operation.

Procedure (s)

  • An act or a manner of proceeding in any action or process; conduct.
  • A particular course of mode of action.

Procedures are the “how to’s” of the enterprise’s business.  Sometimes they flow from standards and sometimes from policies, but in the end they are the exact instructions of how to do or complete a particular process, act, or event.  Whereas policies are often the big picture of why we do something, procedures are the detail of how it is done.

Standards, Policies, Procedures.  It is essential to develop detailed, written standards, policies, and procedures for every area of operations.  Not only are these the basis for developing training material, but they serve as the foundation for developing a culture that is consistently taught to new hires and reinforced by both management and other employees.  When everyone understands “the way things are done,” there is less opportunity for freelance behavior.  Eliminating freelancing or employee discretion fosters consistency of product and service delivery.  As Harvard Professor Theodore Levitt says in his book, Marketing for Business Growth, “Discretion is the enemy of order, standardization, and quality.”

In fact, employees will be the first to say that they appreciate the time and effort taken to teach them the accepted way of doing things and that management insists upon uniformly high standards.  People naturally take pride in being associated with quality and this is no less true for service employees.

Summary.  Taken together standards, policies, and procedures form the bulk of the material that an employee must master to satisfactorily complete all their job functions, duties, and responsibilities.  Without taking the time to define, explain, and clarify standards, policies, and procedures, how can management realistically know what it is that employees need to learn?  Without well-defined (i.e., written and reviewed) standards, policies, and procedures, any attempt to train will be disorganized and inconsistent.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

 

Two Critical Areas for Standards, Policies and Procedures

Monday, March 24th, 2014

We have spoken repeatedly about the need for written standards, policies, and procedures in hospitality operations.  Beyond the basic need to define standards and efficiently organize operations, they provide the basis for creating consistent training materials for employees.  Common sense asks how can you begin to properly train your staff without defining the manner in which you conduct your business in all its details?  Following this rationale, every department of the organization should codify how all aspects of the operation are conducted by creating written policies and procedures.

But even more important than better organization and training is the need for written standards, policies, and procedures for all personnel and accounting matters as pointed out in The Quest for Remarkable Service.

“While a hospitality operations should avoid becoming overly bureaucratic, there are clearly areas where the repercussions of not following set policies and procedures present a significant risk.  Two of these are Human Resources and Accounting.  In the former, there are federal and state laws that dictate how employment and personnel matters must be handled and, if not scrupulously followed, they can create significant legal and liability exposure for the organization.  In the latter area where exactness is critical to financial reporting and performance, it is crucial that managers understand and meet their responsibilities in an exact and timely manner.”

In regards to accounting policies and procedures, one of the most frequent findings by auditors when performing annual audits is that a organization does not have written accounting policies and procedures – and often this finding appears year after year.  To help address this shortcoming, Hospitality Resources International has written a series of 175 Accounting Standards, Policies, and Procedures (SPPs), along with 47 related forms, which it sells for $495 on a CD.  Each individual file is provided in MS-Word or Excel, allowing for customization by each operation.

HRI also offers a CD with 157 Personnel Standards Policies and Procedures and 45 related forms for $495.  As with the Accounting SPPs, these can be customized by each organization.

For those operations that have neither the time nor expertise to customize the SPPs, HRI offers writing and editing services for $30 per hour.  Most operations using this service find that after purchasing either accounting or personnel CD, they will spend an additional $1,250 to $2,000 for the customization depending upon the extent of the revisions – with the total cost in the range of $1,750 to $2,500 – certainly a small price to pay for professionally written SPPs formalizing your operation’s specific HR or Accounting functions.

Organizations interested in purchasing either CD can view samples of each by following these links:

Sample Accounting Standards, Policies, and Procedures

Sample Personnel Standards, Policies, and Procedures

Contact us at info@hospitalityresourcesinternational.com to find out more about HRI’s writing/editing services.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

Setting Up a Linked Policies Database at Your Club

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Communications among the management staff of a club is critical to keeping everyone informed, on task, and functioning as a team with a common vision.  But other than a weekly staff meeting it is often challenging for managers to get together, given their varying schedules.

The advent of emails and the Internet has made it easier for managers to communicate among themselves, but the power of computers and the club’s intranet can be harnessed to truly improve communication and consistency in operations.  This can be done by setting up a linked intranet of club values, standards, policies, procedures, training material, benchmarks, and other operating and organizational material.

In 1999, as I opened a new club, all department heads were writing standards, policies, procedures, and training material for their departments.  By establishing a basic layout template, we were able to create a great deal of material with a common look and feel.  Much of this material is now available on the Club International Resources website for all clubs to use.

But after creating this material, we took it a step further by creating the linked database on our club’s server.  This meant that as an individual was reading a golf policy and it referenced a particular form, the reader could click on the form number in the text.  The form number was linked to the form so that the reader could automatically see and, if desired, print out the form.

All this was simple to do by using MS-Word and the link button on the toolbar at the top of the Word document.  The link button is the little symbol of the earth with a chain link at the bottom.  You simply underline the word or phrase you want to link, click on the link button, and scroll through your folders and files until you find the file you want to link.  When you finished selecting the file, you will have a hyperlink to that file from the selected (and underlined) word(s) in your document.

The beauty of this linked intranet is that all of your club’s key documents, standards, policies, procedures, and training material are easy-to-find and readily accessible to any manager who may need them.  Further, any changes or upgrades can be made in one place and all managers notified of the change via an email.

Steps to Building an Intranet at your club:

  1. Download any desired material from the CRI.  Modify it to suit the needs of your particular club.  As an alternative, use your own created material.
  2. Set up a Main Index Page in a Word file.  Usually this will be set up by department, so that if someone wants to go to Food & Beverage, they click on Food & Beverage and the link will take them to the F&B Index Page.  Each department’s index page is nothing more than a Word file with the numbered policies and procedures linked to the actual files.
  3. For uniformity sake, the GM should set a standard design template (font type, size, header, footer, and text formatting) so that every file has a common look and feel.
  4. While each department head can set up their own department’s policies and procedures and index page, it is helpful to have someone – usually the club’s admin assistant set up the Main Index Page and create the necessary links from file to file.

While building such an intranet takes time, in the end it provides the club with a cohesive set of operating standards and policies that will make everyone’s job easier.  Having set one up, I can tell you its well worth the time and effort – and ultimately not that difficult.  As with so many other things, it’s really a matter of organization.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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Basic Dining Policies

Monday, May 21st, 2012

It is important to have established food and beverage policies to ensure that members receive consistent and equal treatment when dining at the club.  Likewise, these policies are an essential element of server and bartender training.

The following is a basic, but by no means all-inclusive, list of policies that every club should consider:

Reservations.  How far in advance do you take reservations for dining?  How about for specialty nights and Sunday brunch?  Do you have limitations on how far in advance you’ll take reservations for special occasions such as Mothers’ Day, Thanksgiving, etc.?

Dining Room Seating.  Do you spell out that members with dining reservations have guaranteed seating for up until 30 minutes after their reservation time?  Do you explain that while you will try to meet specific table requests, you cannot guarantee them?  Do you specify that seating is first-come, first-served with reservations having priority and that seating is based on server and kitchen staffing, not apparent table availability?

Separate Checks.  Do you have or need a policy for separate checks?  While it’s important to be as accommodating as possible, large parties asking for separate checks can create a real bottleneck during busy dining periods.

Set or Limited Menu for Large Parties.  Attempting to serve large parties off regular club menus can  create service problems.  Do you have a policy to suggest set or limited menus in an effort to better serve your members?  If so, what are the procedures for making the suggestion?

Special Requests.  Clubs typically attempt to meet members’ special requests, but are there any limitations as to when this can be done, for example, on busy Friday or Saturday nights?

Methods of Payment.  Most clubs only allow member charges, but are there exceptions?  If so, in what situations?

Adjustments for Food & Beverage or Service Complaints.  Who can make an adjustment and what are the guidelines or limitations to such adjustments?

Refusing Service.  Though usually rare in private clubs, who makes the decision in case of an intoxicated member or guest?  How about at a catered event?

Children in the Bar.  Are children allowed in the bar to eat at any time?  If so, under what circumstances?

Exceptions to Policies.  Do you have a policy on when exceptions to all of the above policies can be made and who can waive them?  This is absolutely necessary because staff must always have flexibility to deal with unforeseen situations and meet member needs.

This representative list may or may not apply at any particular club, but the key point is that every food service operation needs to have well-thought out and defined policies for the benefit of both members and staff.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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Creating Standards, Policies, and Procedures

Monday, April 30th, 2012

The terms “Standards,” “Policies,” and “Procedures” are used in business to describe the what, why, and how’s of a club’s organization and work processes.

Definitions.  The following definitions can be found in The Random House College Dictionary.  For convenience sake, we have only included those definitions that apply to our purposes.

Standard

  1. Something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis for comparison; an approved model.
  2. Anything as a rule or principle that is used as a basis or model for judgment.
  3. Morals, ethics, habits, etc., established by authority, custom, or an individual as acceptable.
  4. Fulfilling specific requirements as established by an authority, law, rule, custom, etc.

In a manufacturing setting product standards usually include material specifications, manufacturing tolerances, quality measurements, and the functionality of the finished product.  In the hospitality field, however, the establishment of a standard is usually made by management based upon an understanding or expectation of what will satisfy or impress the customer.  Often this satisfaction is based upon the manner in which some service or action is performed.  Therefore, the standard is a description of the desired outcome of that service or action and/or the manner in which it is performed, for instance the approved way of presenting and opening a bottle of wine, or the correct way to fill a form used for documenting personnel actions, the manner in which month-end inventories will be conducted, or the level of professionalism of our management and operations.

In the case of club standards, standards are the model for the optimum way of doing things.  They are established by the general manager as the acceptable model of performance by which members judge proficiency and professionalism.  They apply not only to the daily performance of individual duties, but also to the manner in which you conduct yourself and your business.

Policy (ies)

  1. A definite course of action adopted for the sake of expediency, facility, etc.
  2. Action or procedure conforming to or considered with reference to prudence or expediency.
  3. Prudence, practical wisdom, or expediency.  (expedient:  tending to promote some proposed or desired object; fit or suitable under the circumstances.  Synonyms include advisable, appropriate, desirable.)

Policies and standards are so closely interwoven it is often hard to tell them apart.  Policies most often apply to those areas of the operation where they can be little or no leeway in how you do something, for instance in the area of Human Resources where so much of what you do is dictated by law or by the need for correct action to avoid litigation, or in the area of Accounting where exactness and consistency are necessary to ensure the correctness, accuracy, and transparency of financial reporting and fiduciary responsibilities.

Policies can also apply to operations.  For example you establish policies to ensure the consistent and fair treatment of members, for instance in how you take tee times or dining room reservations.  The need for policy here is to ensure that every member has equal treatment and the same opportunity to enjoy the club’s amenities, which as every manager knows is important to keeping members happy and satisfied.  Nothing will upset a member faster than believing he or she is not getting a fair shake from the club.

Procedure (s)

  1. An act or a manner of proceeding in any action or process; conduct.
  2. A particular course of mode of action.

Procedures are the “how to’s” of the club’s business.  Sometimes they flow from standards and sometimes from policies, but in the end they are the exact instructions of how to do or complete a particular process, act, or event.  Whereas policies are often the big picture of why we do something, procedures are the detail of how it is done.

Standards, Policies, Procedures. It is essential to develop detailed, written standards, policies, and procedures for every area of club operations.  Not only are these the basis for developing training material, but they serve as the foundation for developing a club culture that is consistently taught to new hires and reinforced by both management and other employees.  When everyone understands “the way things are done,” there is less opportunity for freelance behavior.  Eliminating freelancing or employee discretion fosters consistency of product and service delivery.  As Harvard Professor Theodore Levitt says in his book, Marketing for Business Growth, “Discretion is the enemy of order, standardization, and quality.”

In fact, employees will be the first to say that they appreciate the time and effort taken to teach them the accepted way of doing things and that management insists upon uniformly high standards.  People naturally take pride in being associated with quality and this is no less true for club employees.

Summary. Taken together standards, policies, and procedures form the bulk of the material that an employee must master to satisfactorily complete all their job functions, duties, and responsibilities.  Without taking the time to define, explain, and clarify standards, policies, and procedures, how can management realistically know what it is that employees need to learn?  Without well-defined (i.e., written and reviewed) standards, policies, and procedures, any attempt to train will be disorganized and inconsistent.

While department heads and junior managers are typically responsible for developing the operating standards, policies, and procedures for their departments, the general manager is still responsible for ensuring the overall quality of the operation and must therefore review all operating standards, policies, and procedures.  But how can this be done if they are not in writing and available for the GM’s review?

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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The Hospitality Challenge

Monday, September 6th, 2010

I’ve learned a lot about the hospitality business since my first position as General Manager of an historic hotel in the late 70s.  In a variety of positions in hotels, resorts, and private clubs – in startups, turnarounds, and repositionings, I’ve learned a number of key lessons from my efforts to deliver high levels of service.  Here they are:

The customer is King.  The only perception of quality, service, and value is the customer’s.  Hospitality managers must learn as much as possible about their customers in order to meet their needs and wants – where they come from, why they come to your establishment, what are their expectations, what do they like or dislike about your property, what are their complaints, what would they like improved?

The hospitality business is detail and people-intensive.  It takes a lot of people doing all the right things everyday to deliver consistent, quality service.  Therefore:

  • Written standards, policies, and procedures ensure every employee knows what to do and how to do it; help develop specific training materials; and ensure consistency and continuity in the operation.
  • Formal training is a necessity.  Operational processes cannot be left to oral history or chance.
  • Continuous process improvement is a must.  We can never rest on yesterday’s accomplishments.
  • Thorough benchmarking of all areas of the operation ensures that we know what is going on and what our customers are telling us by their spending habits.

“The soft stuff is always harder than the hard stuff.”

  • Consistent, property-wide leadership is a must.  Disparate and competing leadership styles confound the staff and sow divisions in the team.
  • Values and behaviors must be spelled out in detail and reinforced continually.
  • Excessive employee turnover is damaging to an organization in continuity, lost time, and cost.  Except in extreme cases our first impulse (especially in difficult labor markets) is not to fire, but to examine causes; improve processes, organization, disciplines, and training; and instruct, counsel, and coach employees.
  • Employees must be empowered to think and act in alignment with organization values, the property’s mission and vision, and carefully defined management guidelines.  “Without empowerment an organization will never be a service leader.”  Why?  Because there is far more to do and monitor on a daily basis than any management team can possible handle.  Authority for service and service delivery must be pushed down to the lowest levels of the organization – where it takes place.

Work planning and ongoing performance review are essential to holding managers accountable for their performance and the performance of their departments or work teams.  Without accountability only the General Manager is accountable and he or she will fail or burnout trying to succeed.

Leadership is key at all levels of the organization:

  • To set an unimpeachable example for employees.
  • To uncover, analyze, and solve problems.
  • To thoroughly communicate standards, policies, procedures, information, and training.
  • To engage customers and staff continuously.

All of the foregoing requirements must be institutionalized so that the operation continues undisturbed in the face of any turnover and 80% of the operation functions routinely – allowing management to focus on strategic issues, planning, execution, problem-solving, and customer interface.

These lessons learned have led me to formulate a plan to create and deliver high levels of service.  This plan can be found in a white paper I’ve written entitled The Quest for Remarkable Service.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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Operating Standards

Monday, October 12th, 2009

As anyone who has ever read my writings knows, I am a firm believer in written standards, policies, and procedures as the basis for a well-organized hospitality operation.  Here are some of the reasons why:

Written standards (or the expected outcome of our “moments of truth”) for our products and services must be detailed in written policies and procedures.

We cannot begin in any meaningful way to train our employees until we have defined for them the standards which we wish to achieve.  These must be in writing to allow the General Manager and owners to evaluate and concur with the standards we contemplate.  When written they allow us to consistently pass on the standards to succeeding generations of employees.

Policies and procedures are the “what and how” of the way we do things.  Employees should not be allowed to freelance.  “Discretion [on the part of employees] is the enemy of quality.”  Again, policies and procedures must be written for consistency sake.  Taken together they form the basis for most training material.

Standards, policies, and procedures must be continually reviewed and updated as necessary.  Continual process improvement is the discipline that will not permit us to rest on our laurels, but instead be constantly working to make all aspects of the operation better.

What are some of the reasons that managers do not prepare written standards, policies, and procedures?

  • It takes too much time (so they don’t mind wasting immense amounts of time dealing with untrained staff and a disorganized operation)
  • No one told them to do it (in other words, they don’t have any initiative; they’re not, as Jim Collins described in Good to Great,  “disciplined people taking disciplined action”)
  • Their writing skills are not up to it (so they’ve given up instead of looking for creative ways to make it happen)
  • They don’t know what standards, policies, or procedures to prepare (then why are they a manager? – somewhere in their heads must be an idea of how they want to organize and run their operation)
  • They don’t know what format to use (could copying Club Resources International’s already designed format be any easier?)
  • They have no excuse.  Which is exactly right!

Having faced these issues in job after job in both hotels and clubs, I have over the years prepared an immense amount of written standards, policies, and procedures which are available on the Club Resources International website.  You can join the site for free and begin downloading these resources and customizing them for use at your club.  So honestly, there is no longer any excuse!

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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