Signature Practices From My Favorite GMs Around the World
By Joyce Gioia CEO, Employer of Choice International, Inc. | July 12, 2010
In mid-February, I began a six-week trip, visiting nine countries around the world. On past trips documented in my passport, I already had traveled to seventeen countries. Every time I visit another country, I make it a habit to meet the GM of my hotel and ask about his/her people practices.
This article details some of the best signature practices I have gathered from my favorite GMs. First, let's look at what they have in common. While all endure pressure from their owners (and/or the corporate office) to maximize profits, they still put their people first. All of these ideas are clearly employee-centric, cost little or nothing to implement, and result in higher levels of engagement and performance. My challenge to you, dear reader, is to think about how you might apply these practices to your property.
Use a "campaign" to change behaviors.
Fintan Odoherty, the GM at the Windsor Plaza Hotel in Ho Chi Min City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam, noticed that his people were not smiling very much and that made his guests feel uncomfortable. It seems that in Vietnam, people who smile are considered to be ignorant or foolish; thus it is a cultural norm not to smile. To respond to the situation, he launched a "Smile Campaign", with smiling face buttons and forms that allow fellow employees and guests to acknowledge team members' smiles. The person with the most acknowledgements would win a prize. It must have worked, because I saw a lot of smiles on my visit.
Encourage your staff to stay fit.
Weng Aow, GM of the Angkor Palace Resort and Spa in Siem Reap, Cambodia, wanted to encourage his people to be fit. He noticed that after climbing a flight of steps or hurrying to get to the other side of the property, they were winded. A dedicated fitness aficionado who, himself, is in great shape, he began offering his people the opportunity to run with him two mornings a week.