At all times and even more now that the world economies are mixed or struggling retaining trained hotel employees at all levels is essential because of the obvious need to exceed the expectations of our guests. Let us assume those expectations are known.
The cost to the owner, the disruption to consistency of service staff delivery cannot be under estimated. One could add to that a list of associated costs to a management company.
To inspire and retain that motivation each employee brought to the work place on his or her first day it is not all about how much compensation and benefits one pays ( although this is certainly a major issue in poorer countries like Malawi where day-to-day survival comes first in most people’s minds), it is about creating and retaining an atmosphere where each person feels appreciated, retaining the team spirit and that requires capable and caring business practices and strong leadership skills.
Some points with questions for leaders to answer.
What ever culture, or to put it another way, what ever the way of life a company operates should be developed from within over time to reflect the goals and particular characteristics of the long-term needs of a company. Questions to ask are is your culture clear? No doubt it is service orientated, but do new prospects understand it and will they buy into that culture, do they fit, are they service oriented? Being a right fit results in a happy and hopefully appreciated person. Message, during the hiring process expose your culture and hire right.
Is the total compensation fair? Is it truly competitive for the skills that individual brings to the company in that location? Try to create a balanced (and incentivized where ever possible) package, and that means other aspects such as retirement plans as suit your location. Does it incorporate bonuses geared to clear performance goals which can be very clearly determined as having been achieved or not during the annual employee performance review? Is this process clearly defined and discussed during the hiring process? As an employer do you dictate the goals to be achieved or is this a two-way discussion so the content can be fine tuned and improved on? Performance-based plans should be designed very carefully to make certain that everyone is motivated to strengthen the business as appropriate to their contributions.
Common sense prevails that ensuring everyone is appreciated for their contribution should be top of the list once the hiring process is completed.
Are all your employees at what ever level encouraged to make suggestions to their immediate superior. Is that idea just brushed off? Is that idea used when suitable? Are you still operating in the dark ages where the culture is very much top down and the employees feel they are being dictated to and bossed around.
Does your organization dictate corporate policy from the board room, are you like one UK hotel management company that insists on incentive plans being approved annually during the annual business plan process?
What employee recognition programs do you have? To the General Manager and then down. As an owner how does your organization thank people, and how often do you thank someone for a job well done? Hand written notes, hotel wide recognition, hotel group recognition, is it done consistently? You don’t have to lavish prizes and small gifts all time, a simple note of appreciation works wonders.
How as a leader do you express pride and appreciation in the numerous ways ones employees exceed your expectations? Do you use employees bios within trade web sites, face book, twitter and the like? Lets say it again and again, people who feel appreciated and valued are more loyal yet how many leaders actually go out of their way to utilize this simple human touch on a regular basis?
No excuse on this one, costs can be controlled, but each employee should have a professional development program including inter department training exposure geared to their career aspirations. A win for long-term staff retention.
There are many others, one being an owners responsibility to invest in adequate equipment for each person to do their job. That means from cooking utensils to lap tops. A sensible and ongoing capital reinvestment plan, part of a hotel asset management plan.
As experienced operators we can see within an HR audit where opportunities to unlock value exists, it a part of the whole hotel management business plan and the asset management plan.