Inspiring and Engaging Your Team: Five methods to getting the most from your employees

By Caroline Cooper President, Zeal Coaching | December 11, 2011

People are often referred to as a business’s most valued asset and in the hotel industry more than any your team can make or break the customers’ experience. They are certainly also one of your biggest overheads. Are you unwittingly de-motivating them by treating them as just another disposable asset?

Keeping your team inspired and engaged can be challenging. But a demotivated team can lead to poor performance, poor customer service, poor attendance and ultimately to losing not only your best people, but also losing your valued guests.

Here are five ways to get the most from your employees.

1. Set your expectations

People need to know what is expected of them and how this will be measured, so they can keep track of their own performance and know how they are doing, and not be left in any doubt if they are pulling their weight. A lack of direction can be confusing and leads to uncertainty. Lead by example, so there are no mixed messages.
Setting standards and having systems and processes in place gives a framework for consistency. This includes ensuring the same rules apply to everyone and that the rest of your management team are consistent with their expectations.

Focus on telling people what you want to achieve i.e. the end result, rather than dictating how to do it. This gives people flexibility to adopt their own style (you'll be surprised how often they end up improving the process) rather than living in fear of not being able to comply with strict processes. And once you've set your expectations make it possible for your team to reach these by providing the appropriate tools, resources and training to do the job effectively.

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Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.