What Hotels Can Learn From Award-winning Hospitals

By Joyce Gioia CEO, Employer of Choice International, Inc. | April 10, 2011

There are many types of recognition for employers to strive to achieve. Among the most difficult to earn is The Employer of Choice® Award. This challenging designation is awarded to public, private, or nonprofit employers that demonstrate effective implementation of best practices in attracting, developing, and retaining outstanding people. This distinction places employers in an elite group of only 29 organizations total from across the country that have ever earned the distinction.

Create a "safe place" for open discussion

One of the leading healthcare organizations in Illinois, Memorial Health System of Springfield (MHS) is a community-based, not-for-profit, operating three hospitals, out-patient facilities, and dozens of physician practices in the area.

To accomplish its goal of reforming their culture, MHS developed “The Great Place to Work Shop”, a weekly forum for leaders. The purpose was to provide a structured opportunity for them to examine survey results, interact and strategize, and receive training focused on best practices in leadership. They focused on and discussed different topics each week. Professionals from the "people division" were always available to meet one-on-one with leaders to further explore specific issues and challenges facing their departments.

The reasons for success of The Great Place to Work Shop are twofold: MHS created the workshops as “safe zones”. Whatever people discussed in the work shop stayed in the workshop; leaders felt safe talking about their challenges and sharing ideas, insights, and suggestions with each other.

Second, while leaders were taught how to use the survey results to make changes, they were encouraged not to own the process. Since the survey results unveiled each department’s view of employee engagement, they wanted each and every employee in that department to own their results. Moreover, MHS wanted the front-line employees to share their voice on what could/should be done to improve the situation. Working together, department leaders and their staffs embraced the need to develop and implement their own departmental plans to improve employee engagement.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.