Though fall tends to be high season for budgeting for the coming year in the hospitality biz, soliciting ideas for improving the business and boosting revenue should be something you tackle all year. Make it even more productive by getting your team involved. Tap into your staff’s ideas, and foster a community of collaboration by having them help you set new goals, come up with new service ideas, and create a plan for your operation. The traditional “Suggestion Box” with an anonymous slip of paper dropped in a wooden box is no longer acceptable. New generations want inclusion. Create a plan that takes employee suggestions into account throughout the year. A structured plan allows employees to take ownership of the process and avoid the negative feeling that comes with making a suggestion that goes unaddressed. Here’s a system for tapping into staff suggestions and input:
- Have an electronic form that includes the employee’s name, the suggestion, ideas for how it will be marketed, and the potential financial impact, including basic costs, equipment needed, and a suggested price. This allows the employee to see that managing every idea is time consuming. It also begins the process of ownership of a project, and should the idea come to fruition, you have a supportive employee for years to come. Good outcome or not, you’ve also taught your team member new skills in business.
- Following the submittal of the electronic form, if you are certain the idea will not work, provide the employee with an explanation that is well thought out and accurate. The reason can no longer be “it’s not in the budget,” because this process is setting the business direction with new ideas before the budget process begins.
- Allow time during the year to demo the suggestion. This allows staff members and the manager to see if the idea works or if it fails. And remember, failures don’t mean a project is rejected. It could simply mean refining the idea to something better.
- During budget season, present ideas that have been submitted and successfully tested, and stand behind the ideas. The formal idea process will ensure that you have proof of the idea’s potential success. Financial managers will love and appreciate you for this. Business leaders who have a plan for revenue growth and new services often receive capital funding over those who don’t.
- Ultimately, managers then need to bring the results back to the staff and relay where money is being allocated. Now, the answer of “it’s not in the budget” is as disheartening to them as it is to you. Employees won’t look at you as the reason their ideas weren't implemented and will often mention it themselves over the coming year to company leaders or owners.
While the sunset of another fiscal year is upon us, remember that budget season can be the perfect time to plant the seeds of spring for your coming year of growth. Tap into the valuable asset of your team, and watch your business bloom!
Michael G. Tompkins is an executive recruiter with Hutchinson Consulting. To contact him, call (520) 425-6387 or email [email protected].