Hospitality Skills Toolkit

Smaller hospitality businesses often see staff progression as a luxury that only larger companies can afford. Wage bills are normally the largest business cost. The savings made by reducing staff turnover and therefore reducing the cost of training new starters through motivating staff to generate increased revenues for the business can pay dividends in the long term if done correctly. And it does not necessarily require a huge amount of investment.

Businesses can offer staff more scope for job satisfaction and commitment by looking at ways in which jobs can be altered. For example to provide different opportunities in their own or other departments or by encouraging autonomy to make decisions within the scope of their job or empowering staff to exercise their own judgement.

It is also important to understand that it is not always possible to offer progression opportunities to everyone. To mitigate this it is good practice to work with other friendly businesses to create progression pathway opportunities between organisations or even other sectors e.g. event management, leisure facilities, care and domestic services.

“Save your company money by empowering staff to generate better revenue for the business.”

The key benefits of providing progression opportunities for staff are:

That you’ll be able to meet future staffing needs – creates conditions for growth

Demonstrates to staff they have real career development opportunities and access to training

Raises ambitions in your team of what they can do and where they can go when they focus on performance

Empower individuals to be responsible for their own continued professional development (CPD)

Case Studies

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How could you apply it to your business?

Progression is neither a fixed process nor does one size fits all. It requires both the business and the individual to take action. It is a combination of ideas and techniques some of which are listed below.

Review and redesign job roles to see how they can be combined to enhance existing job scope, ensuring you identify additional training and/or qualifications that  are needed support the changes.

Draw up progression pathways for your business to show career opportunities for both vertical and horizontal progression linking if possible to formal qualifications. It can be used for recruitment and personal development planning

  • Career Map  & Horizontal Progression.

Manage expectations on career aspirations and possibilities within or outside your business through Performance Management.

Link Performance Appraisal to pay to provide incentives to improve future performance and progression.


Job Design: the way in which tasks are combined to form enhanced/complete jobs.

Progression Pathway: a pathway for individuals to move forward in their career within your business, however small. It is a map of job roles and opportunities within a business aligned with training and development opportunities.

Continued Professional Development (CPD): focused firmly on staff managing their own learning and growth using basic processes as a guide and are not one size fits all.

Performance Management: a year round system of monitoring staff performance to identify general progress, where extra support /training is required, to give constructive feedback and to discuss further opportunities for progression. Effective performance management encourages people. It emphasises improvement on learning and development in order to achieve the business goals and to create a high performance workforce

Appraisals and Pay: appraisal is the formal assessment of staff over a particular period. This may be bi-annually or annually and is linked to pay. It is usual for new personal objectives to be agreed at this time .It is part of a performance management system

Performance Measures: are business and role specific and make clear connections between the expectations managers have of staff and your overall business goals in ways that every member of staff can understand.

Personal Development Plan (PDP): is the process of creating an action plan based on awareness, values, reflection, goal-setting and planning for personal development within the context of a career, education, relationship or for self-improvement.

One to One’s (1-2-1): fixed regular short meetings to give feedback and to discuss an individual’s progress and any other relevant information. An important part of the performance management system.

Job Chats: Informal chats as above but can be used to check on other subjects e.g. staff welfare. These can take place either on or off the premises.

Empowerment: the ability to make decisions based on your own judgement of a situation.

Vertical Progression: progression upwards usually to a role with increased responsibilities e.g. supervisor, manager, chief technician. Usually indicating a role involving the management of people but can also include becoming a technical expert in chosen field.

Horizontal Progression: sideways progression to enable a move to a role in a different section/department at the same level e.g. move from food service to wine and beverage service. It gives breadth and depth to staff skills sets.

Non Work Skills: skills that staff have from outside work but that are transferrable. E.g. coaching, IT, languages, knowledge of different cultures, design, theatre skills, training skills.

Tasks: is a function the job holder to perform – it is an action designed to contribute a specified end result.

Mind Mapping: A mind map is a diagram used to visually organise information. A mind map is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the centre of a blank landscape page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added

Brain Storming: Process for generating creative ideas and solutions through intensive and freewheeling group discussion.