As though we needed reminding, it’s been a topsy-turvy year to say the least. Public nervousness and covid restrictions are bringing a stale atmosphere to the hospitality sector.
If the crisis weren’t enough, pubs, restaurants and cafes continue to face an untreated inner pandemic of a different kind—the ‘Robin Hood impulse’ and employee theft.
Here we stick a hot fork into the problem and get the flavour of how our most-loved restaurants, pubs and eateries can reduce it down, without the kitchen tantrums.
In Times of Crisis We Revert to Type
It’s well known in psychology that in times of crisis our natural tendencies come out. The good-natured want to do good deeds, and those prone to mischief become prone to, well... mischief.
For a hospitality industry aware of the legacy issue of staff theft, it’s no revelation to say this translates as losses. Though it might come as a surprise to know that those losses weigh in at around 75% of employees having stolen from their employer at least once, with almost 40% of those making it a regular thing.
The Robin Hood Impulse
The problem for hospitality is this.
Those with a self-interest and nifty fingers have likely been pinching things from their employer since the dawn of employment.
Now, with everyone feeling the pinch of the covid crisis, even well-meaning folks prone to wanting to help others are adding to the losses.
For example, how many of us can relate to anecdotes like this?
The pub doors open—that first post-lockdown drink beckons. The taps are flowing, the regulars back at the bar, and your teams back amongst the action. It’s ‘bottoms up’ and smiles all round. One drink turns into three and the fourth is on the house.
Even the chefs get a cold one in the kitchen. And courtesy of who? Your over-friendly bar person who’s lost sight of the business needs amidst the heady atmosphere of celebration.
This is the kind of mindset your hospitality teams are slipping into, and it’s not hard to see just how easy the pandemic crisis makes it for them to think ‘it’s ok’.
Why are the good folks in society turning to employee theft? Because a crisis context brings…
- Greater financial pressure that can’t be shared
- A perceived opening to commit theft
- A tendency for backward-rationalisation and false justification.
It’s not a great situation for anyone, and people *are* struggling—food banks are thriving. Though there’s no good reason why hospitality should turn a blind eye.
Hospitality employers can and are helping teams in other ways, though ,ultimately, biting the hand that feeds you risks closures—and then there’s no hand left to feed anyone.
What Can Hospitality Do About Well-Meaning Theft without Having to Get Heavy-Handed?
Adapt. Build resilience. Empower teams.
A few phrases from retail’s apocalypse, now worthy of a place at the hospitality table. This is absolutely the kind of thinking that will bring the smart innovations able to carry hospitality to better times.
Surveillance, a culture of accusation and overbearing management aren’t an option. You’ll only push your best people away and cause a crisis of recruitment and labour turnover.
The answers lie in creating accountability, team empowerment, job satisfaction and fostering a culture of deserved gratification and mutual respect between colleagues and employer.
3 Useful Approaches Hospitality Should Be Taking
1. Be Open with Staff & Show to Understanding
Remind them of the importance of growing revenue and keeping costs down. Let them know they don’t have to be a bandit but can be an advocate for your company and ,ultimately, your customers.
2. Keep the Team United and Involved
Share with employees current company’s strategy for helping the community; remind them about rewards, loyalty programs, and other ways they can help customers, so they don’t resort to unethical acts.
3. Invest In Cashier Training
Monitor employee activities (voids, discounts) and invest in a good inventory management software to help you identify issues. Without thorough cashier training, new and returning employees are bound to make more cashier errors.
If you’re determined to bring folks back toward the light, then use the force and get started with growyze.
More Ways of Keeping The Robin Hood Impulse At Bay
growyze’s cloud platform empowers hospitality management with real-time visibility to what’s happening on the floor, while providing analytics data to influence culture and behavior when it matters most.
Increase Team Accountability: by promoting solidarity, trust, and a greater sense of responsibility and duty that wards off perceived opportunity for theft.
Provide Effortless Tools For Back Of Office Functions: to help staff work smart, not hard, and perform multiple tasks more effectively, while enjoying greater job enrichment, satisfaction and enjoyment.
Reduce Task Overload: and give teams every opportunity and reason to maintain focus on supporting customers.
Treat your teams right, and they’ll reciprocate. In case you missed it, if you are one of those hospitality businesses looking for smarter approaches to tackling employee theft, without having to turn into Big Brother, get started with growyze. Stay hospitable.