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Until the fat lady sings

Jodi Goldman discusses effective meetings...

Last weekend my friends and I hit Soho’s fantastic “Karaoke Box”.

Unlike regular karaoke, which offers the prospect of ritual humiliation in front of hundreds of

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Customer service at all levels

Ben Buet discusses customer service.

My partner and I recently decided to buy a house together. From initial property searches to finally exchanging contracts last week, this has been one of the most stressful yet exciting experiences

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Transform your organisation. Skills for chefs

Transform_Your_Organisationlearnpurple was set up in 2001 to tackle skills shortages and other key people issues within the hospitality industry. A key focus has been on chefs. Our work centres on employee engagement, learning and development and the retention of talent. We are therefore delighted to be linked with the "Skills for Chefs" initiative and to be working in partnership with The Spread: Recipe & Directory book for Catering Professionals. Over the years we have worked with many chefs and our trainers and associates are always thoroughly inspired by working with such talented, creative and driven individuals. We've seen some exceptional leadership skills and discipline and we're very enthusiastic about helping to promote best practice within this sector of the industry.

Our Training Director, Mary Jane Flanagan, who has recently trained chef teams at "Fifteen" and "The Fat Duck" restaurants, commented: "Chefs are a joy to train. They have an innate desire to learn, to do better and (hurrah!) possess the drive to pass on this learning and expertise to others. This makes them some of the best leaders of any industry. From our beginnings within hospitality, we now work with organisations in all sectors and I can tell you that anyone from a banker to a retailer could learn from our head chefs. The teams I've trained exuded passion for the product, for the job, for their colleagues and for the companies they work for."

It's great to see so many organisations and individuals involved with this initiative and showing an excitement and enthusiasm for developing these talented professionals.

If you would like further information about how learnpurple could assist you in developing, engaging and retaining your talented chefs (and perhaps other team members too) then please contact sally@learnpurple.com

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Putting women 1st – not just for women!

Sally Brand shares lessons learnt from Tracey Rogers, Managing Director for Unilever Food Solutions UK.

I am a member of the sector skills council People 1st who work to transform people and skills in the hospitality, leisure and touris

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The big easy – service made simple

MJ Flanagan shares a recent experience of fantastic standards and service.

Last Saturday I found myself sitting in a pub on Kings Road that has become an institution in its own right. I was there with my family watching Chelsea win an

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Ask the experts: what’s the best way to train staff on a budget?

This article is taken from BigHospitality (19th April 2010). Click here to read this artcile in full.

BigHospitality puts one reader's question about staff training to Jane Sunley, chief executive of learnpurple.

Problem: I own a mid-market restaurant, which is popular for the simple but well prepared meals, the relaxed atmosphere and the low prices. We can’t afford to pay the higher salaries for well-trained front-of-house staff, so we train our employees – many of whom are foreigners – ourselves, and also send them on regular training courses. But all the courses we’ve tried have taught them nothing new – they simply hand out certificates for what our staff already know. How can I choose the best courses to know that my investment is worthwhile, and that the staff will learn things that will improve the service we offer and benefit our business?

Solution: There is evidence that today’s worker considers learning and development to be a key motivator so it’s important to make sure this is in place and working well for both the business and the individual. Progression through development is an important contributor to employee engagement and retention. It also goes a long way in ensuring that your customers receive consistently good service.

Here are my top 10 tips for engaging, developing and retaining talented people on a budget:

  • Don’t automatically rely on training courses. You need a range of solutions to draw on such as: Work shadowing, job swaps and on-job training; Projects, reading and self study; Mentoring, buddying and coaching; E-learning (especially for statutory requirements such as food hygiene training) and supplier led sessions and experiences.
  • Recruit for attitude and not necessarily for skill, identifying at interview stage where the skills gaps are and how you’ll be able to fill them.
  • Take the time to design a really comprehensive induction for new people to get them up to standard on ‘how things are done around here’. Involve the team; you’ll find team members will enjoy helping to develop their new colleagues and will develop themselves from being tasked to come up with up with creative and workable solutions. Ask new people to share their knowledge with others.
  • People have different skill and experience levels so play to their strengths. Treat them as individuals when it comes to learning rather than ‘sheep dipping’ them onto standard courses. This way you will receive maximum benefit from your investment.
  • Make sure you have regular reviews in place to manage performance, track progress, manage aspirations and consult with your people.
  • There will be times when it’s necessary to supplement your in-house development culture with outside help. Look for short, sharp value-for- money sessions, rather than taking people out of the business for long periods.
  • Make sure managers are properly trained. Leadership development is one area really worth investing in. Talk to a provider about the return on investment you’re likely to achieve. They the emphasis should be on practical solutions that will benefit your business immediately, backed up with appropriate amounts of theory.
  • Make sure that the trainer is pre-briefed and agrees on what the desired outcomes are for individual and business. Then de-brief to make sure it happened and agree what happens next.
  • Celebrate successes and achievements to encourage a culture of continuous improvement and learning.
  • Overall, keep it simple and practical and plan and manage it well. All of the above takes time but you’ll find it is well worth the effort. Good luck!
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Having your say…

Jo Harley comments on election fever (or not)...

In less than a month we’ll be deciding who is going to run our country for us, a pretty big decision and one that impacts on the way that we all live our lives. So why is it that in

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Share and share alike

Sam Felton discusses how we benefit from knowledge sharing in Business.

Passing on the leanings of our ancestors is a huge part of human nature and probably a strong argument for how we have evolved so quickly and become the most advanc

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Employee engagement, more than just a buzzword

Jon Reed shares some latest interesting insights into employee engagement from the public sector.

A couple weeks ago, I was lucky to attend a conference focused on people engagement. There were a number of high profile speakers all with

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